One of my favorite hobbies is photography. I’ve always had an interest in taking good photographs, but in the past two years my pursuit of taking great photos has risen to a new level of importance. That’s when I joined a local photo club, the Leconte Photographic Society. It’s a great group of dedicated folks who are just like me and want to learn how to capture the moment in a photograph.
Each meeting, we have competitions and judge one another’s photos. We submit our photos in divisions that include beginner, advanced and star. They are displayed on a large screen, but no one knows whose photo is being presented until the end of that particular competition. Judges for the month are members who did not submit a photo for that meeting.
At the end of judging for each division, first-, second- and third-place awards are given. So are critiques from the judges to suggest improvements of one’s image or to confirm the quality of the image. Members also may request a critique after the judges’ scores are tabulated, even on the photos that did not make the cut.
The entire process has been eye-opening for me. I have learned so much from the critiques on what I did wrong, and how I could have made the photo I submitted better.
What does all this have to do with running a pest management business? Well, after each industry conference or meeting I attend, I try to critique myself about what I am learning from others as they share their experience in the business. We all are eager to gain new information on how to make our organizations the very best they can be. But what will we learn if we have our heads in the sand and don’t attend local, state or national conferences? Basically, we’re only learning from our own mistakes. Sound familiar?
Now, back to photography, and using a single focus point. Many times I have come back from an industry meeting with a ton of ideas. There’s a lot of excitement about getting the new concepts I’ve learned to work for me as fast as possible. The problem, however, is that there are too many new ideas. We, as owners, get overwhelmed and either try to do too many at one time, or we just get frustrated and don’t do anything at all.
This is where we need to use a single focus point. I think it’s fine to sometimes divide up these new ideas among our different teams and assign a team a specific project, but we must ensure that progress is getting done. Personally, I think it’s better if I only focus on one game-changing project at a time. I know that it will have a better outcome, and I won’t stress out our entire team by changing too much, too fast.
You can reach Ray Johnson, a past president of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), president of Sevierville, Tenn.-based Johnson Pest Control, and founder of ACES for Business at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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