Howard Olansky
Libraries, bookstores, the Internet, and countless other sources of information contain tons and tons and miles and miles of advice given by valid as well as self-proclaimed experts on how to succeed in business without really trying. But what about those among us who appear to be hell bent on not succeeding in business without really trying? The time has come to look at these apparently forgotten souls.

Have you ever wondered why so many in our industry do well while others swim upstream? My research shows that those who succeed and those who don't are found in all parts of the industry -- retail, contract, distribution, manufacturing, inspectors, installation, and floor care. They are salespeople, owners, managers, installers, technicians, office personnel -- the whole laundry list of job titles.

What separates the achievers from the failures? It's not luck -- well, good luck helps to a small degree, but it isn't high on the list of reasons for achievement. The achievers have many things in common, not least of which is the wholehearted, ongoing dedication to increasing their knowledge of the industry and their place in it. The achievers recognize the dramatic changes that have taken and are continuing to take place in how people buy and with whom they do business. Most of all, they recognize the folly of falling prey to the belief that you can succeed in business without really trying.

The non-achievers' philosophy is the direct opposite. They really believe that you can succeed in the industry without really trying. So, what happens is they turn their backs on the huge number of sources of knowledge, of learning how to be better at what they do. Their position is: "Who needs it? It's a waste of my time."

All of this comes at a time when the number, variety and locations of knowledge-building programs dwarf those of the past. They are designed for all parts of the industry, and all job titles. Some go an extra step further by including meaningful, marketable certification for those who successfully complete the programs. None come easy. They require time and sometimes a fee. It is an investment that can pay off many fold.

What kills others and me is that while many take advantage of one or more of these programs, too many still avoid them like the plague. They don't even realize that their goal is how not to succeed in floor coverings without really trying. And by golly, you can bet that the majority will achieve that goal.

So how do we decrease the ranks of those who ignore the opportunity to increase their knowledge, hone their skills and achieve professionalism? I would love to get your thoughts on the subject.