As a child of the 80’s I grew up a WWF now the WWE fan, every time I hear about the latest moving and shaking in the Audiovisual Industry, the Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase’s theme music and catchphrase goes through my head Money Money Money. Everybody has a price. From the mergers to acquisition in consolidations to the long-term AV professional reinventing themselves at there long-term rivals. Don’t get me wrong this is the audiovisual business and I recognize that there are a number of factors that cause people to make necessary changes however I have noticed a couple of recurring themes in our industry
First I see a lot of inappropriate competition. Competition by itself is great in most cases it helps get the best out of us however when there are opportunities to partner or collaborate and grow to help the industry and our customers too often there is a level of competition to destroy other players. This us against them. Winner /loser mentality. Or plainly stated the Ricky Bobby mentality of if you’re not first you’re last. This will be the death of our industry if it’s not put in check.
Secondly lack of diversity. A lot of the recent mergers and acquisition appear on the surface to be an acquisition of talent and services as a way of buying market share or illuminating a competitor with little to no consideration of what that means to our industry or the end-user. However, if we continue on this one size fits all the biggest is the best option we are losing the diversity of ideas which causes a lack of diversity in our workforce. Even with a number of diverse groups being invited to the ceremonial table, the real opportunity will come when those diverse groups can create and maintain their own “table” and create options for industry professionals and our customers.
Thirdly I believe we as an industry give lip service to professional development or we develop people to do functional tasks within our industry opposed to developing people that can strengthen our industry. AVIXA does it’s best to educate and forward discussions in our industry, however, the majority of individuals that would benefit most from their programming are too busy doing the work then being developed. We have manufacturers doing what’s best for themselves to certify technicians on their equipment, however too often it doesn’t translate to improving the state of our industry.
So how do these areas show up in the Ted DiBiase song? Let’s bottom line this because really that’s my point. Most decisions that are made in our industry and in our lives for that matter are based on the bottom-line and if an organization isn’t meeting their bottom line or an individual isn’t meeting their bottom line, there is a cost. Because no one starts a business to fail and no person wants to go through their career as a failure. There is a price to relieve the suffering or to gain a competitive advantage. What is the cost to our industry when people and service offerings are mainly seen as helping or hurting our bottom line? We continue to see stories like massive layoffs and favorite trusted Audiovisual sales professional now telling us everything they told us about the last company they were with wasn’t actually the truth but now you can trust me because this new company is “really “ something special.
There has been a lot of talk about not being seen as a commodity. Most of us were thinking this was only referring to the equipment. It is starting to feel like this commodity mindset is deep within our workforce. And I think we all know that’s not a good idea. I will just leave that there.
One of Maya Angelou’s famous quotes
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
The Audiovisual industry feels like it is For Sale, however that doesn’t have to be the truth. Right?
William “Bill” Brown