The Value Of Necessity
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The Value Of Necessity

ASCA Executive Director Kevin Gilbride advocates driving the same spirit of innovation and out-of-the-box thinking when necessity is no longer so great.


It’s week four of sheltering and working at home. My kids -- 14, 12 and 9 years old -- are keeping up with their schoolwork and, as a family, we’re cooking more meals than we have in a long time. Each day’s goal, many of you will appreciate, is to keep everyone from driving each other up the wall.

In doing so, we are allowing my two sons and daughter to do things we likely would not have during normal times. In addition to being stuck at home, the weather has not been cooperative. A couple of nice days surrounded by rainy and/or cold days. We’ve even received some really late-season snow. The other night, my 9-year-old was getting ready for bed and we happened to have her bathing suits in the same drawer as her pajamas. We sent her to get ready for bed and she came down in her bathing suit and told us she had a good idea. She went down in the basement, grabbed her gymnastics mats and started setting them up in the family room. She found her 12-year-old brother and they came back with a spray bottle and some towels. I stood by watching, not interfering, and just let them go. They built an indoor slip-and-slide!

Check out the video below...


I sent a video to some friends and coworkers. Many of them wondered if there was really water on the mats. Yes, I let the kids build an indoor slip-and-slide on my carpeted family room. They were very responsible and had enough towels down so nearly no water got on the carpet. They had a blast and created something to do out of a necessity!

As I peruse social media and watch our industry in most states operate as essential businesses, I get excited to see what the creative minds have done out of necessity. I have seen portable sinks created out of 5-gallon buckets for crews to maintain sanitary conditions in the field, homemade hand sanitizers with essential oils created for field use, companies transitioning to working from home nearly seamlessly. I talked with a one of our industry leaders who said they were productive enough that they were considering letting the team work from home through the entire second quarter. Everyone is using new platforms to communicate such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom. Employees are just running with it and self-educating themselves on these new platforms.

All of this begs the question: Why do we have to wait for necessity to drive innovation?

I am reminded of a conversation with a snow industry leader who said one of his lieutenants asked: “When are we going to leave things the same for a while and stop tweaking things all of the time?” His response: “I hope never.”

I love hearing how you drive your companies forward on a daily basis. So, when we look back on these days, I hope you remember what you did and what your team was able to accomplish. Collectively, what lessons did you learn? Will you look back and say, look what we did seamlessly in no time … and we did it effectively.

Most likely you gave your team the freedom to create and they came back with some pretty solid ideas that not only them to adapt and perform under pandemic conditions, but also changed your business for the better. More importantly, will you continue to drive the same spirit of innovation and allow out-of-the-box thinking when necessity is no longer so great?

Kevin Gilbride is the Executive Director of the Accredited Snow Contractors Association (ASCA).