We are currently being treated to a sporting event that in many ways epitomizes the human spirit. For a period of close to two weeks, top athletes from around the world gather in one area to vie in various sports in the attempt to distinguish themselves as the very best. It is done in front of millions of viewers and the pressure to succeed is not only personal but also involves national pride. There is something intangible that we in the auto glass replacement industry should take note of as we watch and cheer those of interest on.
I am not going to compare the act of setting a windshield to running a race, (sadly, I admit, some value speed too much) diving off a platform or trying to complete a routine on a 6-inch-wide balance beam. However, what we should take note of is the focus and determination that these competitors exude to be the best. The question and challenge I would put forth is: why can’t we do the same? Our industry would be much better served if all of us would perform at our very best and took pride in our performance. Having the inferior and substandard weeded out is also a wishful concept that we in AGR somehow need to embrace as well.
When you view these Olympic competitions, do the hours of practices and the amount of failures ever come to mind? Ask yourself, if getting up on a 10-meter platform takes a wee bit of courage, what about the number of times a diver hits the water wrong while practicing? The mental discipline and need for endurance that these competitors possess is astounding and is a lesson for all to learn. What we do every day is not easy on ourselves; can and do we endure those negative aspects and still perform at a high level?
There are two traits that I highly value in a person: a sense of duty and a commitment to excellence. The word “duty” may be a small one but large in practice. It means you feel a moral or physical obligation to act in a certain way. How many times is an installer put in a quandary over a duty to a customer and his duty to his employer? Doing your best should be the basic desire of everyday life. However, being imbued with that aspiration may not prevent you from failure as well. I have had far too many days in 32 years of installation when I have left a customer with the attitude that either the materials or workmanship was not up to my personal standards. The day I no longer feel that emotion will be the day I need to leave the trade.
Our industry’s greatest setback is its inability to control quality. From parts manufacturing to installation, our industry has developed a sense of complacency. In a perfect world, we would produce and repair windshields as if they were going on our own cars. My fear is that we have lost sight of this need for quality in a world consumed by quantity. If our industry can learn anything from Olympic athletes, it’s to strive to be the best every time; it isn’t enough to just be seen as competitive.