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So, We’re in a Crisis. Will it Bring You Danger or Opportunity?

March 20, 2020
Important character traits include integrity, courtesy and understanding, as exemplified in my business partner, Dominick Guarino.

The Chinese use symbols to express words. The word crisis is written by combining two symbols – danger and opportunity. During this season of the COVID 19 crisis, let’s take a look at how your thoughts, words, and actions will either draw you into a season of danger or elevate you to a season of opportunity.

One Great Example
They say a person’s true character is revealed during a crisis. I’ve capitalized on this season we’re immersed in, by carefully observing actions and reactions of those around me.

Without his permission, (I may pay dearly for this when he finds out I used him for an example) I’d like to share what I’ve learned from Dominick Guarino, my business partner of 25+ years. I know Dom better than my brothers. Today, I know him even better because of his example over the last few weeks as we have worked harder together to help our company, National Comfort Institute, to find new opportunities and steer clear of obvious dangers.

Of course, none of us are perfect and neither is Dom, but we’ll use his excellent and consistent example to guide us through this uncertain season we’re entering.

Integrity
Integrity is remaining true to your principles despite changing immediate circumstances. Integrity has been consistently revealed as Dom has embraced many recent obstacles. He controls the immediate fight and flight impulse we all have, and consistently remains focused on valuable relationships and mutually beneficial solutions, serving the needs of both parties.

I’ve watched Dom (continue to hold to his unchanging principles throughout the uncertain times. As we wrapped up many long days this past week, we paused to express gratitude for the unexpected calm and peace we felt about the day and the obstacles we met. This can only happen as we live true to the right principles and exercise integrity.

Genuine Kindness

Courtesy and understanding of others is recognized and acknowledged by all people. Genuine kindness, especially when it is not expected, is a magnet for opportunity. Real opportunity serves both parties equally. Everyone around Dom is attracted to his genuine kindness and almost always responds positively to it.

One caution, if you decide to further develop this characteristic, be aware that genuine kindness can’t be faked for long. Its source is your honest and good intent towards others as you seek mutual benefit for all. People can feel it when genuine kindness is present and is repelled when it’s not.

Should your kindness fail to bring the opportunity you desire, consider if you intended to provide equal opportunity for both of you. Sometimes we may use false kindness to manipulate others to the outcome we desire without providing what others want and need. Each of us knows how we respond to insincerity.

Creativity
Dom consistently and creatively finds ways to turn today’s problems into new opportunities. Opportunity is not found by applying yesterday’s thinking to today’s circumstances.

Carefully seeking to understand today’s conditions helps you plug into tomorrow’s opportunities. Creativity is needed to see beyond yesterday’s opportunities into the newborn needs of your customers and those around you. The opportunity comes from understanding and fulfilling new needs.

Leadership
During uncertain times, people are looking to follow someone confidently moving in a positive and faith-inspiring direction. Our natural tendency is to look towards and follow leaders moving in a direction we can support.  

So many of those automated daily activities we engaged in last month are gone for a season. By thinking about what were permanent conveniences that are now inaccessible, you’ll better understand changes in the reasoning and needs of those around you.

The loss of old opportunities creates a vacuum that needs to be filled. We search for new things and people to follow to fill the void.

Each of us can contribute to the needs of those around us by offering whatever degree of leadership we possess. Like all virtues, your ability to lead will increase as you exercise it. Today there are boundless opportunities to lead that never existed before.  Some are great; however, the best ones may be small.

Dom has always been a leader in the HVAC industry. He earned that ‘title’ by consistently showing us ways to improve our industry and careers. He also showed leadership by building an organization to channel those opportunities into our careers.

Some Dangers and Opportunities on the Horizon
We’re immersed in a new season of uncertainty. This season may pass in a month or become the new normal we will learn to live with long into the future. To bury our heads in the sand and pretend as though dangers do not exist leaves us flailing in ongoing panic and living in a state of depression and failure.

Economic failure is happening all around us. The primary driver for this is people blaming others for the crisis yet continuing to do the same things they’ve always done. They are wishing things would get back to the old normal.

While much is outside of our control, new opportunities will become evident only to those who stretch and are willing to identify and adapt to what customers want and need today. Then they will deliver it.

We will all experience many of the dangers to our industry, our careers, and our lives. Few will be unaffected. Businesses will fail, jobs will be lost, regulations and restrictions will be out of control and the ramifications will be real and challenging.

You may choose to gaze into the rear-view mirror. You may opt to be devoured by all the bad news spewing from the media, and you may feel hopeless and succumb to all the noise.

But there is another way. Be more like Dom. Meet each obstacle head-on and do your best turn each into an opportunity or neutralize its effect. For you and the entire HVAC Industry, finding opportunities will require us all to swim upstream and exert a strong effort to create a new, better tomorrow.

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 [email protected] or call him at 800-633-7058. Go to NCI’s website at nationalcomfortinstitute.com for free information, articles, and downloads.