“Choice, not circumstances, determines your success.” — Anonymous
My lead installer is out after surgery, so this week I sent two of my “greener” techs to a job site to install a new rack at a restaurant. The restaurant owner installed the original system more than a decade ago. The mission for Phase One was to take out the old equipment and shelving, install a Middle Atlantic rack, and reconnect the old music system while getting a half dozen TVs live.
This system will eventually consist of 48 new LEDs with a six-zone audio system. It will be completed in phases due to the construction of the space, which is happening one room at a time without closing. This schedule creates an interesting install environment even for a seasoned integrator.
Two hours into the install, a distressed phone call came back to home base. The team ran into a mess when they took out the shelving.
These are the moments that make or break us. This team had never yet run into component wiring, especially where it was this snarled. How we deal with issues like these are the moments that define us as leaders and as a company. Here are a five tips to help you see the forest through the trees, when dealing with an every-day “crisis.”
1) Call for Help. Let your installers know a call for help is not a fail. You have to put your ego down to ask for help, and this might be the most important step that one can take. There is no shame in asking for guidance. There are eight employees at our company — each one important with a different set of specialties. By reaching out, you utilize that knowledge instead of wasting it.
2) Run Through the Worst Case. Luckily lives are not at stake, and the challenging situations that we face are rarely as bad as they seem at the moment. I have found that if you run through the worst case, then you can usually work back from there (and every step you take away from that worst case is a step in the right direction.)
Upon digging into the system deeper, it was discovered that the power would need to be moved by an electrician before the rack could go in. This is a sports bar and restaurant, so TV and music are crucial. Therefore, the team smartly asked the manager what AV was necessary to survive overnight, as our electrician was dealing with a power outage in another town until then.
3) Be Proactive. Once you have your plan in place, let the client know. Tell them what you encountered and how you plan to solve it. As I have said in my articles before, technology is not a perfect science. How we approach the issue can make or break how the customer will react.
4) See It Through. After major traffic jams had slowed their arrival the next day, power was relocated, and the new rack was installed, the team found that they were not going to finish until evening. Instead of trying to reschedule the third day in this less-than-perfect scenario, they stayed on the job through that night until the system was back up and running.
5) Remember to Honor the Past and Learn from It. When hiring a new team, we tend to train for what exists today and speak to the future. It is important to understand where we came from: composite, S-Video, component, DVI for the briefest moment, and now HDMI. I hope not to repeat this mistake.
Issues will arise in this industry, especially as you begin to grow and branch out into new territories. How you deal with these issues will decide the future of your company. Will clients call you back? Would they recommend you to a friend? Will your employees show up for work the next day? Although this was not the perfect install, we were able to overcome the obstacles and continue to learn from it. And that, I believe, qualifies as success.