One of my favorite events of the year is the annual Snow & Ice Industry Awards, part of the SIMA Snow & Ice Symposium. This event is much more than your basic awards banquet. It is a celebration of achievement in our industry, as award winners are carefully selected to recognize those who have excelled in their areas of responsibility.
These well-deserving industry leaders have made a commitment to learn new things, attend educational conferences, read articles, watch webinars, ask questions, expand their professional networks and more. They took what they learned and applied it. They were hungry, and as they acquired more knowledge, skills and contacts, their value to their companies and to our industry increased continually.
Hearing their stories challenges me to be better. It inspires me to think bigger. And it motivates me to get moving. I walk away from this event each year ready to attack the world. This year was no different. One story in particular stood out this year.
The 2019 CEO of the Year is Pat Kane of Evercor Facility Management. I met Pat in 2003 through SIMA. He had already built a successful company in his hometown. Actually, his company was a conglomerate of several companies, each with its own niche. He and his team had a vision and they were slowly executing it. The company was relatively small but it was obvious that Pat and his team could succeed at running a much larger company.
One of the things I noticed about Pat right away was his thirst for knowledge. He knew a lot about business — more than most people his age, for sure — but he recognized that to grow his business even bigger and more successfully, he needed to learn more. Every time we met, he had a list of questions for me. He researched everything he was contemplating extensively. His mind was always working, dreaming, learning and planning his next move.
Pat heard about the Certified Snow Professional (CSP) certification and was so motivated to take the exam, he purchased the study materials and arranged to have me proctor the exam for him at his office so he didn’t have to wait until the next time Symposium rolled around (that was the way it worked back then … we’ve come a long way, baby!).
The award winners, like Pat, have something in common: they recognize the value of professional development. While others sit on the sidelines, they have jumped in with both feet. They have made the investment, taken the time and finished strong. Their success is not based on luck but on determination. These award winners were not superstars when they began their careers, but they became superstars over a period of time by continuing to develop themselves. They have challenged us, inspired us and motivated us.
What about you? How are you investing in professional development for yourself and for your people? What are your immediate professional development goals? Have you set aside funding in your budget to support these goals? What about for your management team, crew leaders and crew members? How are you developing them?
According to Gallup, the No. 1 reason people leave a job is the lack of professional development opportunities. What would happen if your people were challenged, inspired, motivated and had ample opportunity to develop themselves? For most organizations, this would be a game changer.