The level of complaints and problems has been rising at a rapid rate; far more than normal. Not consumer complaints about floor coverings or their installation, it’s those hurled by one segment of the industry against the others. The battle cry seems to be, “_____ are the ones causing the problems.”

Just fill in the blank with installer, retailer, contractor, distributor, manufacturer, salespeople, inspectors, cleaner, or associations and you’ve got the picture. For example, the retailer says, “Installers and manufacturers cause the problems.”

Enough already. This industry has successfully met a mountain-high pile of challenges during the past couple of years, not least of which was navigating that bumpy economic road that put pressure on all of us until the corner was turned. We have been in an era during which people at all levels have been breaking their backs to make the industry better for all concerned. We have increased the emphasis on education. We are making a strong effort to bring in new people, and to raise the level of respect among current prospective industry members. We are striving to make the consumer even more aware of who we are, and we are redoubling our efforts to make them happy with what we are delivering.

We have created innovations in products, marketing/sales, installation, cleaning, training, certification, education — and the list goes on. We are increasing our attention to recruiting people and making sure they master the tools that make and keep them professional.

These are things we all need to bend our efforts toward achieving. What we don’t need to do is pit one group against the other(s). What we do need is for all of us to knock off searching for someone to blame when something goes wrong. All of us need to keep our eyes on developing positive approaches to making the industry more viable, more productive, more satisfying, and more profitable for everyone.

If those who spend their time looking for others to blame ever dominate the thinking and direction of our industry, we will be in real trouble. We will achieve nothing.

Face it, we are all dependent upon each other. It’s a cliché, I admit, but a chain is no stronger than its weakest link. And to have strong links requires that each segment face the reality that it is dependent on all of the others for success.

The true goal is defined by this word: Professionalism. When things go wrong, or when they feel things need changing, the true professionals don’t look for someone to blame. He or she looks in the mirror and asks, “What can I do to improve this?”