The daily business of HARDI members, as well as the business of HARDI itself, is far more complicated today than when I first came to HARDI in 2006. The stakes for our members and their association also seem to be significantly higher as opportunities generate greater rewards while mistakes come at steeper costs. Clearly the one ubiquitous lesson learned by HARDI members – and the association – after the great recession of 2009 was how to do more with less. Monthly Sales TRENDS, Distributor Performance Dashboards, and Bi-Annual Compensation Reports all show more efficient member companies compared to pre-recession periods and, accordingly, HARDI’s services and products have grown considerably with minimal increases in headcount. To keep these positive, profitable trends going we must find even more ways to do more with less, and I want you to consider HARDI’s new Committee and Council structure to be a core strategy for HARDI members to do just that.
Previously HARDI’s Committees and Councils relied on a sense of repayment to the industry or in some cases pure altruism from HARDI members to provide volunteers to work on association initiatives. Many great things have come from this model: today’s statistical and benchmarking programs, the Supply Chain Scorecard, great content and resources that guided policy from both HVAC and Refrigeration Councils, the Liaison Committee model from the Controls Council, the Proven Vendor Program, Operation HVAC with Homes For Our Troops – and these are just some of the more recent accomplishments. That being said, these achievements fell on a small number of shoulders within the membership, they weren’t always as efficient as they should have been, and too often they were driven more top-down than bottom-up.
Perhaps most importantly, HARDI has not been good at capitalizing on the talents of new members seeking opportunities to get more involved, and the Committees and Councils haven’t been as connected to the everyday business and challenges of our member companies. As a result, we are frequently reacting late to member needs we should have identified earlier, or we’re too aspirational and producing outputs that members aren’t ready to use. In short, we needed to find a better way to tie more closely into our members to identify more specifically how to help companies do more with less.
Several Committees have been realigned or restructured to better match how our members are structured, and an intense process of producing detailed “job descriptions” for Committee and Council leadership positions is underway. We are also developing a model in which individuals from member companies can be part of a Committee or Council community (or communities) that are germane to their current and future job responsibilities. This will provide exponentially more opportunities for subject matter experts within our membership to share their challenges and obstacles, collaborate with counterparts, and assist leadership and staff in the development of new solutions. Essentially, we’re striving to create an environment in which member companies struggling with a challenge or wanting to explore a potential opportunity can be immediately integrated into the appropriate Committee or Council community and start making immediate progress.
The early successes of our Marketing and HR Committees built on this premise and tailored to very specific “skills and needs” parameters fueled our confidence to overhaul the entire Committee and Council structure. I’m confident any member of those respective Committees would attest to the professional benefit those new Committees have provided.
You will see early in the new year our first application process for open Committee and Council leadership positions followed shortly thereafter with our first call for roster members for each Committee and Council. This is the time for each member company to be assessing their respective challenges and opportunities and identifying the professionals responsible and how they should best be integrated into this new Committee and Council structure. Spend some time on www.HARDInet.org and the Committee and Council pages to see the new alignment, focus, and structure of these communities. They are built to be extensions of your organization and professional networks so your team can remain lean and focused while having the full force of hundreds of distribution professionals to increase their power, knowledge, and capabilities many times over. This is how we’ll all do more with less.