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Skill Experience 608af925819e8

Fulfill Your Role as a Specialist in Your Company

April 29, 2021
Being a trusted specialist is a leadership role that belongs to you. Your career fulfillment may depend on your specialties. Read what company owners value in their specialists.

Specialists are professionals who are highly skilled in a specific segment of their field. I recently visited with several HVAC company leaders in the Western United States. In our discussions, they told me how each of them depends on people with specific skill sets to assure their companies' daily success. Let's continue this thought and see how you can identify your roles as a specialist at your company.

What Makes You a Specialist?
Specialists aren't born; they evolve. In every case, each person we discussed grew into a trusted specialist because they consistently developed their skills over time. Eventually, they became the specialists to whom others turn.

Take a minute and consider what areas of your job others look to you for, when they need the expertise of a specialist. What roles do others come to you for when they need help?

Each person we discussed grew into a trusted specialist because they consistently developed their skills over time.

No, really. Before you continue reading, stop. Think about and write down what others depend on you to do before they call anyone else. Why are you their first choice?

Being a trusted specialist is a leadership role that belongs to you. Your career fulfillment may depend on your specialties. You may be satisfied with what you discover or motivated to improve your contribution to those with whom you work. It's up to you.

Here's what several company leaders had to say about specialists they rely on and how their companies wouldn't be the same without them. I've summarized some of the comments below: 

Tony and Tight Spots
"When we have an install with limited access, we couldn't do the job unless we had Tony. He can get in and out of any space and get the duct, line set, equipment, or wire where it needs to go. He takes great satisfaction in doing things others cannot."

Tony earns the trust and preference of his company when a tight access champion is needed.

While I assumed Tony was a small fellow, I admired how much appreciation his boss had for Tony's energy and commitment to this critical part of his job. It became clear others hated what Tony did so well. Could other installers do the job? Maybe, but Tony earns the trust and preference of his company when a tight access champion is needed.

Hopefully, your list of specialties includes several low-key abilities you offer. They are genuinely appreciated and valued by most.    

Only Send Steve
A phone call came in during a conversation with one high-energy manager from the office. An equipment replacement job was destined to fail unless they could increase duct system capacity. 

Steve specializes in going the extra mile. He takes the time to care for the whole system. He isn't interested in quick equipment replacement.

"This sales lead has to go to Steve. Sean or Julio won't take the time to get in the attic and figure out how to get the information needed so the installers can increase duct capacity. Call our customer and have them wait till tomorrow. Only send Steve."

Obviously, Steve specializes in going the extra mile. He takes the time to care for the whole system. He isn't interested in quick equipment replacement. Do others go the extra mile? Maybe, but Steve carries his leaders' trust and is the first choice when the whole system needs an upgrade.    

Manuel, Mr. Sheetmetal
One specialist, a company owner, talked about was a true craftsman. The company is one of the few that still operates a complete sheet metal fabrication shop.

The owner spoke of gifted sheet metal fabricators as a dying breed. "We have several good fabricators, but when it comes to building tough fittings and transitions, the solution is always Manuel. I don't know how an HVAC company can do excellent work without a fellow like Manuel to depend on." 

'We have several good fabricators, but when it comes to building tough fittings and transitions, the solution is always Manuel.'

He spoke of Manuel's talent to take a few measurements, envision a transition, scribe it on a piece of sheet metal, and bend it up by hand. 

His appreciation was measurable, as evidenced by Manuel's 30+ year history with the company as his single HVAC employer. 

Mariela and Customer Relationships
Another company owner with more than 100 employees spoke of the trusted skills of a service technician. She has extraordinary talents for calming stressed and unhappy customers. Could this be a talent you could bring to others? 

Something he mentioned later brought more clarity to Mariela's specialty - she was the only sister to seven brothers.   

"There are times we pull her off a project and send her straight to another job site with a customer in distress. I'm not sure how she does it, but she has a gift that makes everything all right when she shows up. Perhaps it's her technical competence or her imposing 5'2" frame." 

Something he mentioned later brought more clarity to Mariela's specialty - she was the only sister to seven brothers.   

So how effectively do your technicians handle upset customers? 

Randy, the Inventory Manager 
"Without Randy, service and install jobs can't happen. He keeps inventory current and stages the parts, equipment, and materials ahead of time for each service tech and each of the install crews." 

The conversation continued about how Randy excels at his job and uses his abilities to perceive issues ahead of time and solve problems in advance. He supports the guys in the field and the salespeople, the accounting department, and dispatch.    

Isn't this a capability that would benefit your co-workers and your company? How would you instill this sense of internal/external customer support?

Maor the Balancer
An air and water balancer named Maor stopped by the NCI Southern California Training Center. His specialty was acquiring and sharing knowledge with those he works with. He couldn't hide it, and I grinned the whole time I was with him because of his curiosity and enthusiasm.

I could tell how he spoke and related his experiences from the field that he is eager to learn and use what information we could give him. 

Maor's specialty is in acquiring and sharing knowledge with those he works with.

The constant redistribution of his experience and well-developed skills was infectious. His name Maor means light or luminary in Hebrew, and he was filled with it. I am still thrilled as I imagine his contribution to our industry and customers throughout his career. 

So, how enthusiastic are your young team members? Are they contributing to others in the company? 

Grow Your Specialist Roles 
I hope you see how each of these specialists fulfills a unique role that contributes to the overall success of their companies. As the owner or manager, perhaps you can see where you can help your team become successful specialists in their own right. 

Perhaps your techs are young and early in their careers. So their list of specialties may be short. Encourage them to evaluate their talents and interests.

Perhaps your techs are young and early in their careers. So their list of specialties may be short. Encourage them to evaluate their talents and interests. Ask how they want to contribute to customers and co-workers in a way that helps them stand out. That is how you encourage them to become specialists in your company and the industry. 

For your team whose careers extend over a decade or more, consider how they can leverage their experience and talents for the benefit of others. Ask them how they think they can expand their influence and career satisfaction? Success takes study, effort, and practice. I encourage you to encourage your team to develop their knowledge and skills. Eventually, they'll be recognized for their contributions to others. 

Rob "Doc" Falke serves the industry as president of National Comfort Institute, Inc., an HVAC-based training company and membership organization. You can contact Doc at ncilink.com/ContactMe or call him at 800-633-7058. Go to NCI's website  at nationalcomfortinstitute.com for free information, articles, downloads, and current training opportunities

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About the Author

Rob 'Doc' Falke | President

Rob “Doc” Falke serves the industry as president of National Comfort Institute an HVAC-based training company and membership organization. If you're an HVAC contractor or technician  interested in a building pressure measurement procedure, contact Doc at [email protected]  or call him at 800-633-7058. Go to NCI’s website at NationalComfortInstitute.com for free information, articles and downloads.