InfoComm: Don’t Go It Alone


By Betsy Jaffe
InfoComm International

Running and growing a successful AV business is not meant to be a solitary pursuit. After all, the core of our very business is connecting people, facilitating collaboration, aiding in decision making, entertaining and delighting a crowd. To achieve this, we need to form a bridge between various stakeholders — the customer, the technology lead — and forge an understanding of what’s desired so we can let them know the range of possibilities and meet or exceed their expectations.

Yet sometimes, when we’re looking at charting our business strategy, we try to go at it alone. We’ve all heard the excuses: “I’m too busy with jobs to focus on planning.” “I don’t have time to include others.” “What if the competition finds out my strategy?” “I don’t want employees to lose focus on getting the jobs done.”

There’s another reality, too — it’s lonely at the top. The higher you rise in your career, the less likely you are to have a mentor, or even someone to toss around ideas with. According to a recent Harvard Business Review article, CEOs benefit most when they can obtain “timely, context-specific counsel drawn from experience; wisdom; and networks that are highly relevant to the problems to be solved.”

Often, that’s easier said than done. Of course, there’s always the option of being an army of one. Barricaded in your office, surrounded by balance sheets, P&L statements, and the like, you try to think about the big issues and what’s next for your company and the industry.

I want to offer an alternative: Get out of the office for a few days and come to InfoComm’s AV Executive Conference at the Ritz Carlton Amelia Island, Florida, November 18-20. Talk to other leaders in the industry and make the connections you need to make your business more successful. We’re expecting a veritable “who’s who” of the AV industry. There’s plenty of informal networking time built into receptions, dinners, and even the optional golf tournament. But we also have structured small group discussions. Homework Express is a popular feature at our events because it allows participants to discuss and apply what’s been learned in a more intimate study group. These are also your accountability partners – encouraging you to implement the lessons learned once you return to the office.

You will also have access to top-flight speakers:

Leo Hopf is the author of Rethink, Reinvent, Reposition: 12 Strategies to Renew Your Business and Boost Your Bottom Line, which was named the book of the month by the Institute for Management Studies. He has led hundreds of strategy sessions with CEOs, leadership teams, and boards of directors, and designed the decision making and strategic planning processes for five of Fortune 100’s largest companies.

B. Joseph Pine II is an internationally acclaimed author, speaker, and management advisor to Fortune 500 companies and entrepreneurial start-ups alike. He is the cofounder of Strategic Horizons LLP, a thinking studio dedicated to helping businesses conceive and design new ways of adding value to their economic offerings. In 1999 Pine and his partner James H. Gilmore wrote the best-selling book The Experience Economy: Work Is Theatre & Every Business a Stage, which demonstrates how goods and services are no longer enough; what companies must offer today are experiences — memorable events that engage each customer in an inherently personal way. It is his work that has inspired InfoComm’s Exceptional Experience program for the AV industry. These business advisers will be more than talking at you — they will be facilitating discussions that you will be part of.

Finally, you’ll brush with greatness as Hall of Fame football star-turned thriving entrepreneur Joe Theismann shares his strategies for succeeding under pressure and what to do when the game suddenly changes. The memory will become a touchstone you can return to when times get tough in your own business.

Let’s learn from each other to support a stronger industry. Early bird discounts are still available, and there is reduced-price admission when you bring additional company representatives.

We can all get better by being part of something bigger. I hope to see you in a few weeks.

This blog was reprinted with permission from InfoComm International and originally appeared here.