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Planning for 2021

There is still much uncertainty facing the industry, but here are ideas that can be implemented internally to help your company reach its goals.

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As 2020 comes to a close, we’re all looking back on the year that was through different lenses. For some of us, 2020 was the worst year of our lives. For others, it’s never been better. In a year full of so much paradox, how can we expect to understand what 2021 will be like? To a great extent, we can’t, and that’s okay. We can, however, anticipate that the first half of the New Year will closely resemble what we’ve been enduring since March and try our best to forecast the back half.

We’ve chosen to identify three key areas for our company that are focused at helping our people grow. These strategic anchors are intentionally focused internally to tune out the noise of the outside world. They’re going to work no matter what the economic environment looks like, and will hopefully result in a happier, better trained workforce. Here they are:

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Leverage the knowledge of our installation experts to influence the products and services we offer.

We looked in the mirror and realized a few important things. If we have issues in the field, they’re communicated anecdotally back to our designer, not systematically. We’re going to change that by having a better feedback loop for product issues and also implement monthly conversations across installation, sales, and design to surface areas where we should make product changes. By making this tweak, we’re also serving to “level out” the sales and installation departments and eliminate the superior/subordinate dynamic that can exist between reps and installers. We’re going to double down on the message that sales and installation are co-equal and drive success together. We’ll measure our efforts by reducing re-work, which feeds into a self-funded incentive program already in place through our Ownership Thinking program.

Empower our installation and service teams to deliver exceptional customer experience through project ownership.

Our salespeople feel like they’re stuck involved in projects after close, inhibiting their ability to sell more. Our installers often complain that jobs haven’t been properly scoped or express issues with missing/broken functionality. We’re going to start leveraging our system design resources more efficiently to bridge this communication gap so that, ideally, we end up in a place where the installation teams have the documentation and information they need to be successful and our salespeople can walk away from the job after handoff to project management, increasing their ability to sell more. We’ll also be arming our installation teams with the authority to make it right for the customer if needed without having to seek manager approval. We’ll measure success here by monitoring the percentage of projects completed on-time and under budget.

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Focus on employee growth through personalized training and advancement opportunities.

We’re very fortunate to have an amazing training program at Livewire, which inspired the creation of ProSource University through our sister company, IntegrateU. Our planning session this year leveraged our participation in this program by doubling down on making sure our employees are armed with the tools they need to be successful. Our “Training Day” held last month will now make a return appearance each quarter in 2021. This activity-filled day shuts the company down and everyone participates in sessions running the gamut from sales training to how a speaker is made. It’s great fun and widely considered one of our most successful initiatives. We’ll also be making sure training is communicated company-wide as an ongoing effort vs. a destination in a bid to instill a love of learning within our employees. We’ve been challenged with a cultural bias towards vocational training within the installation department, so this new effort in 2021 will make sure that sales, system design, project management, accounting, and management are all journeying together on their own personalized training paths.

What does 2021 look like for your company?

Stay frosty, and see you in the field.