NECA TransmissionsNotes from the front lines of the electrical contracting industry

Best Laid Plans

Posted on Mar 17, 2009 by John M Grau

Each year I write a memo to the NECA Executive Committee recapping accomplishments from the previous year and outlining my priorities for the year ahead. When I discussed my objectives with the committee at our January meeting, I commented that no matter how well we plan, something inevitably happens that changes what we thought we would be doing.

While I was expecting the unexpected, I didn’t expect it to happen so quickly. 

I had planned for a bad economy. I had planned for a drop in revenue from member dues, meeting attendance and magazine advertising. I had planned for an increase in government relations activities. I knew this would be an active year for the National Electrical Code panels.

What I didn’t expect was for NECA and ELECTRI International to become the victim of a financial scandal — in this case, the SEC takeover of the Stanford Financial Group. The past four weeks have been a constant stream of conference calls with boards, meetings with attorneys, and recasting and reformulating budgets and programs.

However, it’s probably not all that different from what many NECA members are going through right now as they see their backlog shrink and their prospects for new work evaporate. We are forced to look at the fundamentals of our business and decide what to trim, what to strengthen and what to eliminate entirely.

Rex Ferry has addressed these issues in his recent “From the President’s Desk” columns in ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR magazine. He casts it as an opportunity to step back and prepare your business for the next period of growth. It’s also a test of management skill and resourcefulness to be able to react to the unexpected and change course in business as conditions warrant.

So my best laid plans from a couple months ago need some reworking. On the other hand, constantly revising our plans may be the best plan of all. Tell me — what changes are you making in your business these days? Use the link below to send me your stories of what you're doing to get by.

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NECA Transmissions is a collaborative effort from CEO John Grau and NECA staff to provide insight and feedback on key issues from the front lines of the electrical contracting industry.

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