Rethinking the Purpose of the Government and Our Industry Associations
There are a lot of great minds out there, both inside and outside our industry. It’s one thing to come up with great ideas, but it’s even better to connect the dots between great ideas. Something I discovered early in my remodeling career was what I have come to know as group genius. People working separately can do wonderful things, but people working together on collective efforts can often come up with new ideas and solutions that likely never would have come to be otherwise.
I think the process of coming up new ideas and solutions is similar to growing corn. One stalk left on its own will produce corn, but a whole field of corn can produce a much better yield per plant, and the ears will also be of much better quality and value. The process of cross-pollination makes the difference. Ultimately, like the sharing of ideas, the give and take between individual plants benefits all plants. I’d like to thank those of you who have shared in and contributed to my efforts in addressing the challenges and opportunities of the remodeling industry. Although some have commented that they see such banter and discourse as negative, many more of you have embraced this back and forth and contributed to the discussions. The cross-pollination of thoughts, ideas, suggestions, and real contributions continue to make a difference to our collective efforts.
Perhaps it’s time the Federal government and the industries it regulates change the way they interact with each other. Much like the partisan politics we witness these days, if industries and the government continue their interactions with an Us vs. Them strategy, we will never reap the potential benefits we could enjoy if we all really worked together in a healthy environment where a real cross-pollination of ideas for the purpose of mutual benefit could occur.
In a recent blog post on his Web site, Newt Gingrich called for replacing, not reforming, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with an entity called the Environmental Solutions Agency (ESA) with a new and improved charter and mission. In his blog Gingrich said, "The new EAS will focus on developing actual solutions to environmental challenges rather than simply trying to litigate them into existence. The ESA will work with industry instead of dictating to industry and incentivize the use of newer technologies instead of punishing current businesses."
Such a new way of working together could certainly help the remodeling industry and our country in a whole variety of ways. I think we can agree that collectively, using the power of group genius, the remodeling industry and a new ESA could create mutually beneficial solutions that would be more likely to solve environmental problems and challenges, while at the same time advance technology, create more jobs, and promote a growing as well as a sustainable economy. Thinking and working in such a way could definitely help us green our environment and at the same time reduce energy consumption and our dependence on foreign oil. Through technological innovations and education we could improve the environment within homes and at the same time create a higher skilled and better paid workforce. Simply shifting from reacting to government regulations to participating in their design and enforcement would create a spirit of cooperation that could lead our country into a much brighter future.
While I was working on this blog I discussed these ideas with a few people who stressed that our leaders in Washington, entrenched in their current mindset, would not likely even consider such a dramatic shift. I don’t disagree. The same could be said of our industry.
However, if we stick with the status quo the future will not be what it could. Our current path will likely only lead to more reasons to complain about government regulations and their short-sighted effects on businesses, the economy, and the creation of good jobs. Our lawmakers and even the remodeling industry need to do something different. We know that.
Perhaps it’s time for remodelers, manufacturers, and our trade associations to rethink their purpose and, using the power of group genius, work together in a way that helps make America what it should be, rather than what it is. We can either set up what we want to happen or we can settle for what we get.