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Adapt and Overcome

Originally published
Originally published: 1/8/2021

It’s a brand-new year and I, for one, couldn’t be happier to say goodbye to 2020. Last year was certainly a tumultuous one and there are many aspects of it which almost no one would like to see carried into this year.

There is one thing, though, that I should like to see continue in 2021 and beyond, and that is our uncanny ability to adapt and overcome.

As I reflect back on 2020, I can’t help but be impressed with just how much this industry was able to adapt to the unprecedented circumstances and overcome the many challenges thrown at us.

So many contractors I’ve spoken with over the past year have told me fascinating tales of how their businesses not only survived but thrived during a pandemic. The same cannot be said, sadly, for many business sectors. Fortunately, this essential industry was able to adapt and overcome.

In putting together this issue, I was amazed at how “adapt and overcome” unintentionally became an underlying theme to so much of our editorial. When we put together our editorial calendar each year and assign article topics to contributors, there is a vision for each issue.

I give our contributors — contractors like you, industry consultants and business management experts — the freedom to craft their message after giving them only a loose outline of what we’d like to cover.

Given the variety of business management topics we cover in a given month, it’s rare to find so similar a theme … which tells me I’m not the only one who believes it’s a good idea for this industry to continue to adapt and overcome.

In our cover story, “9 Responsibilities Owners Should Never Delegate," Angie Snow describes a situation so many of you have either already experienced or are experiencing now. As an owner, you’re used to doing everything yourself. But, as you grow, that becomes more and more difficult. It’s important to let go of some tasks and delegate, but also to keep certain responsibilities to yourself. To grow as a leader, you need to adapt and overcome.

Erica Leonor’s feature reminds you that your leadership and culture directly affect your ability to leverage the talent of your employees and how we are all born with different natural gifts and talents. In other words, we must adapt and overcome to be the best we can be at our jobs.

Speaking of culture, it is — as Eric Knaak so eloquently puts it — the “heart and soul of any organization.” His feature describes why it is important to define your company culture, and then implement and use that culture for the betterment of your business. To change something as ingrained as culture, you definitely need to be able to adapt and overcome.

This theme can also be applied on the technical side of the business too. The industry continually has to adapt and overcome with each new regulation — the most recent example being the transition to low global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants. This month, we feature part four of our four-part series on what you need to know about this transition in an Executive Roundtable.

In addition, Marty Indursky, the founder of Encon Mechanical, provides a nice feature on retro-commissioning. As he says, buildings evolve over time and using retro-commissioning is a great way for you to help that building adapt and overcome any issues that arise.

And finally, in what I would consider the greatest example of “adapt and overcome,” I spoke with Dan Foley, owner and president of Foley Mechanical. Last April, after business nearly came to a halt because of the uncertainties surrounding the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Foley himself suffered a major setback.

He contracted COVID-19 and was hospitalized for seven days. Even after he was discharged, it was weeks before he was even as much as 80 percent back to normal. In two months, his business suffered greatly in his absence. As best he could, he rallied his team and slowly started to get his strength back. Because of the uncertainty surrounding everything, he told everyone to stay home for two weeks while they figured out what to do.

Then, Foley Mechanical bounced back with the best June, July and August ever, more than making up for the lost revenue in April and May. This trend continued into September and Foley realized the business was too reliant on him to succeed. He is currently changing procedures and ensuring nothing like what happened last spring ever happens again.

Adapt and overcome. Let it be your mantra this year. Let it be a rallying cry as a business owner. No matter what is thrown at you, you will adapt and overcome. Because, let’s be honest, if you can survive 2020, you can survive anything.


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