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Smile and say Cheese . . .

An annual snapshot of the structured cabling industry could reveal much about its subjects.


February 1, 2001  


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For many of us in the business world, the end of one year and the beginning of another demands that we take stock — capture a snapshot, if you will, of the state of things at a given moment in time. This image very likely includes a number of financial objectives (usually in the foreground) and an array of market, business and human resource development (unfortunately, often relegated to the background). The picture, by nature, can never fully tell the story, but a well-constructed portrait can reveal vast amounts of information and provide significant insight.

Imagine that a ‘structured cabling industry’ group photo was snapped every year. Such a photograph would reveal much about us. As with any extended family portrait, many distinct things would be glaringly evident. Perhaps George put on a few pounds. Maybe Jane’s hair has more grey in it. Such observations are quite common to any family shot. Brothers, sisters and cousins grow up each year, some family members pass away, and new ones are born.

The very same thing can be said about our industry. The previous year produced a myriad of changes within the Canadian marketplace. A number of us grew in stature and presence, some grew in girth (complacency) and some struggled. Sadly, others are now missing and gone forever. However, on the whole, the Canadian cabling family continued to grow and prosper. The family continued to gain deserved recognition from customers who are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of structured cabling. While many changes were evident — some even significant to the point of altering the landscape — the family is still healthy and continues to expand.

THE YEAR AHEAD

In addition to the year-end review and photo, most of us must now look forward to defining and establishing our corporate and personal objectives for the coming year. Always a daunting task, it is one of the most important exercises for any healthy company or individual.

Companies, like individuals, approach planning differently and each of us must find appropriate responses, regardless of whether planning is top down or bottom up. Good planning stems from drawing out and building upon the collective knowledge of those we work with. Companies with strong futures exhibit the kind of environment that encourages such dialogue and team participation in planning.

Furthermore, effective planning must reach beyond the simple desired outcomes; how something is achieved is as important as the achievement itself. A number of our industry members have suffered at the hands of short-term achievements that did not account for how they were secured. Successful companies that have stood the test of time demonstrate a balanced planning approach that mitigates the excesses of short-term share gain.

GETTING PERSONAL

Short-term gain can also be a failing in many of our personal plans. In fact, how many of us have committed time to developing an even humble personal plan — one inclusive of spouse and family objectives, personal development or community involvement? I dare say that a small number of us have a defined personal financial plan in hand, but what of the things that we say we hold dear?

Family snapshots quickly become priceless as the seasons of time march on. One message that these photographs send is that we cannot go back to effect change. Change’s potential only exists in the present.

Will next year’s picture find you smiling because of the insights gained and the choices made? I hope it will.CS


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