Creating Synergy: Goals versus Process
One year ago, we pulled two of our biggest councils together to form one consolidated group, the “Electrical Council” (EC).
The two councils were quite unique. The Supply & Distribution Council (S&D) was built on a strong executive committee, with a three year strategy driven from the top. On the other hand, EEMAC, the manufacturers group, had strong independent sections. EEMAC struggled to find a “common” cause that would unite all sections, while at S&D it was easy to find industry wide programs like e-commerce and research. It made sense to have industry-wide programs that engage the manufacturers, the distributors and the reps.; it also made sense to consult industry section experts when faced with issues regarding lighting, switches or transformers.
The challenge in forming one council has been to effectively build a relationship between the new EC National Steering Committee and the industry sections. S&D was involved in e-commerce, industry best practices, customer research, education, business relationships, regional activity and networking; EEMAC was much more focussed on codes and standards, harmonization, regulations, product safety, anti-counterfeiting, product standards, government relations, and product market share analysis.
I once heard an Afghan-War veteran talking on CBC about returning to work in Canada, for the government. He said the problem was the unique cultural differences between the army and the government – In the army he was trained to be goal-oriented, while in the government they are conditioned to be process-oriented.
S&D is a goal-oriented operation, with conferences, seminars and other projects all running on deadline dates. EEMAC, on the other hand, is all about process; product standards, government regulations, safety, and product reliability, which are all about getting it right. At first glance, they seem at odds, but process and goals are two sides of the same coin. The better we make them work together, the better our industry will perform. The truth is you will never accomplish your goals without a strong process in operation, and without a goal you really have no direction or purpose for your process.
The first step was to share knowledge:
- We have started encouraging industry sections to meet at the EC conference – at last count we had 6 sections set to meet this year in Whistler.
- Last fall we established the e-Tech Marketing Forum, and plans are underway for the second forum on November 14 of this year.
- We are introducing the first Industry Profile and Forecast book at the Whistler conference.
Key issues relating to our industry will be passed through the EC National Steering Committee and the industry sections – from these existing programs, and through all future EC initiatives, we will continue to build synergy and develop key platforms for our industry.