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    HVACR Distribution: Three Skills for Leadership Development

    June 27, 2023
    These skills require effort by both distributors and their leaders to obtain and maintain over the long run.

    HVACR distributorships fill a crucial and difficult position in the marketplace by occupying the space between original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and the end user responsible for installing the equipment. Leaders in this space must possess several skills:

    • A wide range of technical knowledge to be a resource for world-class solutions to their customers.
    • Excellent profit and loss (P&L) statement understanding to make intelligent financial decisions impacting the bottom line.
    • Exceptional customer service skills to build long-lasting, effective relationships with customers, suppliers and employees.

    These skills require effort by both distributors and their leaders to obtain and maintain over the long run, as change is a constant. Those who do not improve their skills fall behind those who do and can negatively impact the business and their success in the workplace.

    Fortunately, honing the skills of HVACR leaders is manageable and can be broken down into several easy options.

    Technical skills

    First, technical skills are ever-changing as each new generation of equipment is developed to meet increasing federal regulations. Each generation of equipment is more technically sophisticated than the last, requiring leaders to keep up or be
    left behind. Fortunately, most manufacturers provide technical training to keep their distributor partners ahead of the curve on changing technology. They are a cost-effective way to keep your leaders sharp on the latest technology trends as well as an excellent opportunity to have them scout good talent from other distributors to fill any open positions. Community colleges and technical schools also provide training tailored to the needs of specific employers. Most two-year institutions are very employer-friendly and will collaborate with you to develop curriculums to meet the needs of your leaders.

    Community colleges and technical schools also provide training tailored to the needs of specific employers.

    Financial skills

    Financial skills are frequently overlooked in leader development due to incorrectly assuming that because leaders are often compensated based on their P&L performance, they must understand how the P&L works. While anyone can attain a basic understanding of a financial statement, they still need to understand the impact of decisions such as depreciation, expense versus capitalization costs, or amortization. These skills can easily be enhanced within your organization by creating a mentoring relationship between your existing finance team and your field leaders. The best part about mentoring is that everyone benefits. The field leader gains additional understanding of the financial statements, and the finance team gains additional understanding of what the field faces, making both sides more effective in their positions.

    Soft skills

    Lastly, soft skills can easily be enhanced with off-the-shelf training from various learning organizations such as Skillsoft or Simplilearn. Since soft skills are universal, any training provider should be able to give you a selection of courses that will cost-effectively meet the needs of your leaders.

    Since soft skills are universal, any training provider should be able to give you a selection of courses that will cost-effectively meet the needs of your leaders.

    The important thing to remember is to stay on top of developing your employees. It is easier, less expensive, and more beneficial to build and keep the leaders you have rather than find new ones.

    Billy Hamilton  isSenior Vice President of Human Resources for Motion. He has over 30 years of experience in human resources with companies such as Overhead Door Corporation and Lockheed Martin. He is passionate about talent management and data analytics.

    www.motion.com