How to Be Successfully Selfish In the Alarm Industry
By Ron Davis, Davis Group
That’s right, selfishness is in! However, as you may expect, I’m referring to something that really goes to the core of being truly selfish and that is getting back as much, or more, than you give. What does that mean?
Simply, as Roger Babson, founder of Babson College
in Massachusetts and well-known entrepreneur in the first half of the twentieth century, said about service and giving back, “If things are not going well with you, begin your effort at correcting the situation by carefully examining the service you are rendering and especially the spirit in which you are rendering it.”
Wow! What a thought! If things are not going well, we can correct them. If things are going extraordinarily well, we can make them even better. So how do we do this? Simply by providing even more service.
Let’s take this thought out of the ethereal world and apply it to the people we work with and the work we’re doing. Sitting on my desk is a list of NBFAA executives and members who have consented to be interviewed, no holds barred, for a series that has been published on the NBFAA website, Security Industry Insights. If you haven’t seen it, you need to check it out. If you have, you’ll know exactly what I mean when I say that all of the participants in the interviews seemed to have something in common: they all are active in either state, regional or national alarm industry associations or organizations. They are leaders in the work that they’re doing, they’re all admired and they all volunteered to be interviewed for this video series. Those interviewed represent a cross section of the alarm industry – young, old, male, female, Hispanic – and in this cross section of the industry, each person was giving back to the industry some of what they felt they had received. They openly shared their business models and philosophies and if you watch some of the videos, you will see successful people talking about what they do best – in most cases, running a security business extremely well.
The operable word here is “volunteered”. These are the types of people who, if asked, would have stayed an extra couple of days to help clean up after ESX. You could call any one of them to ask any question on the operation of your business. You can stop by their offices with little or no advanced warning, just to sit down and chat with them. That’s right, no matter how busy they are, they will always take time to help others in the industry. They know what being “selfish” really means!
One of the greatest examples of this was Stan Lott. Industry newcomers may not recognize the name but there is an industry award given to worthy recipients in his name. Stan and I shared ideas and together, dreamed of an industry that focused on professionalism, education, training and standards at a time when there was very little of that. Stan was taken from us much too early with a sudden heart attack, but he was someone who freely gave his time and talent to the industry, working to promote the success of the independent business person in the alarm industry. Stan, somehow or other is looking down now, observing the growth of the industry, and in my mind's eye, he just gave me a wink as if to say, “sometimes dreams do come true!”
Another expression that seems to have legs in our industry is “our rewards in life are always determined by the service we render and the contributions we give.” I first heard that from Earl Nightingale (yes, I will probably mention him in each of my columns). Earl was considered the dean of personal motivation back in the 60's and 70's and this idea of rewards equaling the service we render had a huge impact on me.
Now, what does this have to do with you, the work that you’re doing, the economy that we live in, the pressures we face and the failures we see all around us? It simply means that you cannot grow in an industry unless you give something back. And that is how you become successfully selfish!
More and more I see that the giving back is a reflection of the success we’ve achieved in the industry. I look at the busiest people in the industry, our president, Mike Miller, for one, who is someone have known for probably 30 years. I have watched him grow into the man he is today. Throughout his career, the bursts of growth he has exhibited have always seemed to occur at about the same time he was leading some group or organization. Oh, by the way, you should see how his business has grown. Coincidence? I think not! Volunteer leadership roles have helped Mike become a confident, successful, well presented leader, knowledgeable about the subject of which he speaks.
Look at the leaders of the top 25 companies in the SDM 100. Every one of them has given back, in some way, to the industry. So how do you start giving back? Well, maybe just give Mike or Merlin Guilbeau a call or drop them an e-mail. Let them know you would like to contribute something to the industry through volunteering in the association. I’ll bet they can guide you.
Look to your state associations – what can you do to help them grow? And finally, look to the industry in which you are earning a living. What could you do to make the industry more professional? Here’s a clue: take a look at the pictures of the people who volunteered to go to Washington, DC several months ago to support legislation in favor of the alarm industry.
Albert Schweitzer said it best when he said, “I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.” And as he was wont to do, Einstein summed it up in few words: “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.”
Try giving back some of the success and enjoyment and camaraderie you have received in this industry, and as the old Doublemint Gum commercials said, you surely will double your pleasure, maybe even more!
Ron Davis is the founder of Davis Group. Through its broad-reaching contacts in and around the security services industry, Davis Group can add legal, financial, operational and executive search capabilities to its core competencies of sales and marketing. In addition, Davis and his associates are knowledgeable and accomplished public speakers, having spoken in front of thousands of dealers, manufacturers and industry executives. To contact Ron Davis, call (847) 955-2345.