Hindsight is always 20/20

Hindsight is always 20/20

What is it you wish you would have known when you first got into the snow and ice management business?

October 28, 2016
Director's Column Operations Professional Development
If you've read Snow Magazine's October cover story, then those phrases may be ringing in your head. Snow Magazine contributing editor Rob Thomas shares advice from veteran snow fighters on things you should know, that they didn’t... in his story “Why didn’t someone tell me?”

This month’s cover story may get you thinking back to “the good old days.” Perhaps you may recollect those business or management mistakes you made and wonder how you ever made it through some of those decisions. The road behind is always easy to see. It’s the road ahead that is difficult to conceive, fraught with what military tacticians like to call “The fog of war” – confusion or chaos in the heat of battle. In your case, that battle is growing a successful business while combating the worst conditions winter has to offer.

As you reflect back on your time in the snow and ice management industry, put yourself back in those shoes you wore years ago. Think about how you might handle that same situation today. Would it be the same? Would you do things differently? What have been the lessons you’ve learned from that experience?

Business leaders – regardless of the industry – look to the past to shape their future. They constantly challenge themselves and their teams to take things to the next level, to maintain the momentum of growth and improvement.
In fact, I recall a conversation with one such business owner. The company was in a continual growth mode. As it grew the owner challenged his team to continue to improve, as well. Once a business system was perfected, or they became comfortable in a way of doing things, this business owner would push the team to strive for the next level. Each time, they fought to retool and get to the next plateau. At one point, one of the top guys said, “When can we get the systems in place and just coast on them?” The owner’s answer: “Hopefully never!”

Those who are really committed to growing their company continually look at it and see where they can improve. Tweak one system here, another one there. In the end, they are setting themselves up to grow and journey to that next plateau. There are countless books theories and practices out there that we’re all familiar with…Six Sigma, Lean Manufacturing, even ISO9001 Certification. These are all ways to improve your company while setting yourself up to push through to that next plateau.

Take a few moments and treat yourself to a nostalgic look back at some the things you didn’t see when you got into this business while you also look ahead and set yourself up to break through to that next plateau. Let me know (kgilbride@gie.net) what some of those things may have been and we'll share them with readers in a future enewsletter.