When I was getting into this industry, the best advice I received was: Don’t just do your job and go home, get involved in your local industry, in training, or in SMACNA.
Not only was that the best advice I ever received, it turned out to be most rewarding for me personally and it’s been very good for the success of our company, too.
It is one thing to be in a trade and there is another thing to push your industry forward. To move the ball down the field…to pay it back. We all have day jobs. Some of us fabricate, others install, some draw, some sell, and some manage, but we also have second jobs in this industry. Second jobs that are more important, quite frankly, than the main one. It is called mentorship.
In Indiana, our chapter executive started something we called Contractor School. We invited all local apprentices in for two days of life skills classes—time management, personal finance, and even their own personal elevator speech. The part I liked best was the open discussion they had with us contractors. We talked about why we were in the industry and what we look for in employees. They told us things we didn’t know and a few things we maybe didn’t want to hear.
Contractor school was win-win for everyone involved—the apprentices learned how to advance career-wise and we got some insight into who our future company leaders might be.
Educating your team is a mentor’s responsibility and SMACNA offers some of the best educational opportunities around. Go to the Events & Education tab at www.smacna.org and select National Education for details on:
Business Management University – Feb. 26 - March 2, 2017 (Tempe, Ariz.)
Supervisor Training Academy - March 20-22, 2017 (St. Louis, Mo.)
Project Managers Institute - April 23-26, 2017 (Raleigh, N.C.)
Financial Boot Camp - May 21-24, 2017 (Tempe, Ariz.)
Our programs promise to send your employees home with a new understanding and appreciation for your business, and they do, because the coursework is tailored to the specific needs of the sheet metal and HVAC business.
One of my responsibilities as SMACNA President is to share what I’ve learned over the years at the Business Management University this coming February. Please consider sending someone to this dynamic course of leadership lessons. I look forward to meeting them and having yet another opportunity to be a mentor.
It is our responsibility to make today’s apprentices tomorrow’s leaders – the survival of our businesses depends upon it. So, take your second job very seriously. Please be a mentor. Get involved.