News & Press: President's Letter

May 2020 President's Letter

Tuesday, April 21, 2020  
Posted by: Trish Moss
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The top of your game

What motivates your desire to keep learning? Are you the type of person that wants to be at the top of your game? Do you seek new products, skills and training for you and others around you? Do you consider yourself an expert? 

If the answer to any of these questions is NO, you are a hack! If you are not one now, you probably started as one. We all did. No one starts as an expert at anything! 

How did you turn the corner? If you are looking through TileLetter, it’s likely you are engaged in learning and training and you place high value in staying up to date with new products and information. A side benefit of doing it through social media or associations is that you have the opportunity to learn and grow with like-minded people who have similar challenges and experiences. 

We start as hacks then find that moment of realization. You experience the “I didn’t know what I didn’t know” moment. Why would you know? You needed information and decided to go look for it. Some of us had the good fortune to have a skilled mentor or teacher train us. Either way, you had to be honest enough to admit that you “didn’t know” and sought opportunities to improve – making a conscious effort to prepare yourself to find a win-win in every situation. Some learn that lesson earlier than others, but only if they have the willingness and ability (two very different, often competing skills) to accept constructive input. 

Highly-motivated, self-reliant people rarely go it alone. Most things are harder without the help of others. Patrick Lencioni from The Ideal Team Player recommends surrounding yourself with people who are “humble, hungry and smart.” According to Lencioni, those are the key personal traits essential to successful collaborations. The optimal outcome is to have people around you who share those assets, with same vision, who you also happen to like. I am blessed to work in a company that places extremely high value on challenging individuals to continually evaluate and elevate their contribution to the team. We keep finding ways to learn, train and get better. Sure, obstacles are always present. Some we create ourselves, but trusting each other helps us get past all of that.

Lately my kids have been streaming “Kitchen Nightmares” with Gordon Ramsay. Many of the episodes are like watching a train wreck. You can’t look away. They are edited to that purpose, but a recurring theme revolves around owners who are usually well intentioned but often unaware of their missing skills. They don’t have the information they need to manage their business successfully. They reach out to Gordon Ramsay because they recognize there are underlying issues. In their minds, they should be killing it, but poor practices and a toxic culture create an environment where good people and ideas are not encouraged. No one wants to share information if they are not invested in success or feel their input will not be valued. When the owners have their “aha” moment, the turnaround starts with getting everyone to buy into the vision of success in addition to whatever important structural changes are required. NOTE: I have needed a kitchen make-over or two myself. To be honest, I continue to be under development. It is a never-ending process. 

Getting better is an intentional endeavor. Most successful people I have met stay motivated out of a sense of wanting to be BETTER. Count yourself as someone who is participating in success because you are looking for it. For tile, the NTCA is a good place to start. I would like to encourage you to share that with someone you think might benefit from it. Get to a workshop, drop back and acquaint yourself with new products and information that could help you in your business. Help us find a few folks who will appreciate what your association offers for someone invested in finding it. Thank you for the opportunity to help you stay at the top of your game!

Chris Walker
NTCA President
Vice President, David Allen Company
Chairman, ANSI A-108
Chairman, US TAG ISO TC-189
Board of Directors ABC-VA
Voting Member TCNA Handbook
Voting Member NTCA Reference Manual
chriswalker@davidallen.com