March 7th, 2013
Fostering Camaraderie and Cooperation
I recently attended the meeting of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) in Tucson and I then traveled to Houston to serve as a guest speaker for the Earthwise Group at the Showcase Windows facility. I was struck by a number of similarities between these two groups that have meaningful implications for door and window industry participants. At both organizations, best practices and achieving high standards are given intensive focus. Both provide a great venue for sharing ideas, learning about what others are seeing out in the market and hearing from experts on a variety of helpful topics.
Another similarity is that they are both attended by would-be competitors who exhibit cooperative behavior and the camaraderie from years of being in the trenches together. Having attended both meetings in such a relatively short period, I was struck by the warmth and the friendliness that pervaded both. This is something that I’ve witnessed in all of the industry groups I’ve had the pleasure to address over the years.
Another unique opportunity that arises at these meetings is the chance to learn about the culture in place at other companies. During a panel discussion at the AAMA meeting, PGT CEO Rod Hershberger shared a great story that says a lot about the culture being fostered at PGT. Just before a recent hurricane made landfall in Florida, a PGT driver was delivering a truckload of windows well out of the storm zone. He called back to PGT to see if he should buy a truckload of plywood to distribute among employees that might need to barricade their windows and doors before the storm. Not being able to reach his supervisor to get permission to make a meaningful purchase like that, he did the logical thing. The logical thing at PGT, anyway, as he went ahead and bought the plywood. On returning to Florida, he learned that the company already had plenty of plywood for this purpose. Gulp, right? Wrong. He was commended for taking the initiative and PGT distributed the plywood to neighboring companies for their employees. If I trafficked in clichés, I’d call that a win-win. The employee was sent the right message and PGT got to be a good neighbor.
I think everyone that heard that story took some of that spirit back to their own companies, to augment their own positive culture. Importantly, they wouldn’t have heard the story without investing the time to attend the meeting. Every company in the industry should be a dedicated participant in one or more industry groups. It would pay dividends for the industry as a whole, as well as for any companies that are not currently active in industry groups at all.