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Are we? This is a much gentler title than “You Stupid Bastard”… which was our first choice.

I got in front of 35 independent satellite dealers and tweaks in Twin Falls ID. It was an under-air conditioned & tired Holiday Inn ballroom - the year was 1987. Walk Like an Egyptian by The Bangles hit number 1.

Was pitching the concept of multi-room AV, and our ChannelPlus offerings that complemented the agenda, admittedly very self-serving. It was the same snake-oil and science sermon that had been preached 3 times that week and countless that year. The thing that was memorable about this one was the sudden realization that technology contractors:

  • Have more opportunity than time.
  • Have to prioritize on administrative and tech projects that they know well.
  • Hiring, success & stability with employees is hard to achieve.
  • Scored most projects by rumor (word of mouth recommendations).
  • Growth & change is problematic and hard.
  • Idaho is populated with a bunch of white guys.

Since that time the Weld partners have been in front of well over 50,000 contractors, from every conceivable slice and corner of the industry. High-end? Ultra-High-End? Low-balling cable guys? Independent low power UHF broadcaster? Production Builders? Left handed drummers that are Crestron Certified?

Yup. Yup. And check, check, check. Seen it all.

Been in home theaters built in basements, tree houses, pool decks on the beach and a duck blind in Iowa. Ships, boats, planes, and trains. RVs, rock-star tour buses and a submarine – even a bomb shelter for a wealthy whacked-out survivalist in the tundra of MT. You (our collogues) are a really unique breed of freaks, you get impossible crap done, and your suppliers finance and accommodate your meth-laced dreams.

Think this is abusive? Check it out - see what we are doing to ourselves:

Working 50, 60 or more each week. We will not correct the above problems and increase our lifestyle by working more hours. Looked it up, working more hours ain’t in the fun book.

Pay attention. We’ve done around 20+ speaking gigs and about 15 trade shows and events in 2017, and that list is still accurate 3 decades later. Through 3 recessions, through war, prosperity, democrats, republicans, the dot-com bubble & bust and that lame fad of “Crocs” footwear. We still struggle with that same mess we did 30 years ago. It seems that more than 60% of us are lone practitioners or one of only 2 or 3 only employees at the firm.

And you are slammed. Are you EFFING kidding me? Are we fixable?

Don’t know, but let’s try.

  • First is to understand and use your existing cash flow, to finance your first and subsequent hires.
    • That money has to come from somewhere, most likely it will be your wallet. Do you have enough discipline to make this work?
  • How to measure their contributions and to tune them into enthusiastic thunder-lizard, driven seal team elite contributors that evangelize your cause at the top of every mountaintop and hill they climb.
  • Understand that smart employees can act stupidly, and what has to be done to eliminate negative behavior, and set them on a journey of continuous improvement.
  • Realize that no one will do things or think just like you.
  • Have a roadmap on what you do on the first and successive days, weeks and months with your new hire. Plan it out first.
  • Learn to emotionally let go of every stinking detail, you controlling freak. Embrace the different diverse thinking that comes with having others do your work. Face it – they will not do it like you (and so what?).
    • We suggest thinking about outcome-based management and letting the new hires figure things out, sure train them but use the outcome expectations to manage.
    • An example could be – the house is to be wired in 2 days, you have everything you need to beat that deadline?

Our observation is this: If your rep or distributor has and seen so many come off the rails - use this experience to maximize your profitability.

We have seen and heard so many horror stories where you continue to go through the same meltdown with new talent… Many times the problem is you.

Many, including me, offer coaching services that can get you over the hump, quickly, and for a whole lot less than continuing to fail with this growth thing,

The thing about attending the CEDIA Business Exchange, you could corner one of the Weld partners at a show or event for a few quick pointe or two or just call me or Barry for a confidential, different perspective….

Doing what you have always done and expecting different outcomes is not logical. The point is, that you are not going to change your future unless you disrupt the present.

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