Do your homework
Lisa, corporate finance director for a commercial heating and air conditioning service contractor, told Session 4 of Turbo’s Leadership Development Lab (LDL):
“We are an HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) service provider, and are part of an international network of LINC Service Franchises. As the Franchisor, LINC provides its contractors with the tools and software systems needed to run a successful service franchise.
“Back in mid 1997, my boss and I decided it was time to take our company out of the ‘dark ages’ (the dark ages being an IBM Main Frame system) and into a more modern era of technology, by converting over to the latest version of Software that LINC provided.
“LINC urged its contractors who were converting their software to go ‘cold turkey’ – basically shut off the old and start up the new. Following this recommendation, we had just watched our sister construction company go several thousand dollars over budget on their software conversion. So many lessons had been learned that we knew we did not want to follow in their footsteps. We decided that we should run dual systems for one month. Then, if all went well, we would go ahead and pull the plug on the old system.
“Once that decision was made, I spent the next several months pushing LINC hard for information: What went well during prior conversions they had run? What didn’t go well? What data was going to convert automatically? What data wasn’t going to convert, and would therefore require further action after the installation was completed? Based on what I learned, I formulated time lines and action plans for everyone that would be involved in the conversion of our data.
“We had made the decision that we did not want to manage our business off of two different sets of financials for the 12 months following the conversion. Since December is our fiscal year end, that was the month we ran our conversion. Once we had run the conversion, I brought in temporary workers to assist us with hand keying in all the job cost history data for all of our client contracts. Then I, along with my staff of one, commenced entering all of the
Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, and general ledger journal entries into both systems.
“It took me 2 months to close December, but when I did, I had matching year-end financials in both systems. But, best of all, I knew how our new system operated from the inside out.
“In March of 1998 during our annual Continuing Education Conference, in front of several hundred of my network peers, LINC thanked me for helping them improve upon their conversion process. They recognized me as their 1997 Business Systems Manager of the year, across the entire national contractor network!
“The lesson I learned from this experience is that there truly are no shortcuts to excellence.
“The action I call you to take is don’t take shortcuts. Plan ahead and give your job everything you’ve got.
“The benefit you will gain is the recognition and rewards for a job well done.”
What are our plans for ensuring that as 2012 ends, your team is prepared for an extraordinary New Year?
We have already scheduled three year-end meetings for major west coast contractors. If you’d like to ensure your team ends the year on a high and is excited about the promise of the new year, give us a call. Tell us about the unique characteristics of your team. We will tailor a program just for you that will guarantee your year ends on a high note and you’re ready to run with high octane fuel into 2013.
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