There is a great book by Lee Colan titled Sticking to It: The Art of Adherence. It says that the key to organizational success lies in having the discipline to adhere to and execute your plans. “The greatest challenge for today's leaders,” writes Colan, “is not the lack of well-thought-out strategies, but the lack of disciplined execution of those strategies. The game is won not by creating new strategies, but by sticking to your current strategy—it is called adherence.”
As I prepare to conclude my year as chairman of your National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA), I would like to suggest that following this advice and “Sticking to it” is the key to our industry association's future success.
For the past several years, NLBMDA has been working toward and sticking to a few simple themes. First, we have succeeded in making the association accessible to every lumber dealer in this country by creating a variety of paths to membership. Second, we have encouraged every dealer to get more involved by expanding the board of directors, the committee structure, and the opportunities to give financial support. Finally, we have increased focus on our core missions of government affairs, regulatory affairs, and industry research while ceasing any activity that is not core to that mission.
At the heart of these efforts is a vision of an association of the dealers, for the dealers, and by the dealers that invites and engages every LBM supplier in our industry to belong and participate. We all can be proud of the progress our association has made. In just the past 12 months we have accomplished the following objectives:
- Increased dealer membership in the organization.
- Increased MSC membership in the organization.
- Introduced our own bill to Congress (H.R. 5500).
- Raised a record $120,000 for LuDPAC.
- Created the industry's first national foundation, the Lumber and Building Materials Institute (LBMI).
- Hosted a “Conference with Congress” that sent hundreds of dealers to Capitol Hill in unison to lobby for the successful introduction of H.R. 5500.
- Hosted our first BOD retreat in recent history.
- Will host a dynamic Industry Summit in Arizona this month.
- Will introduce a great new leadership team in chairman Steve Kelly, chair-elect Harold Baalmann, and vice chair Paul Hylbert.
The accomplishments of 2006 were very much a result of the efforts of association president Shawn Conrad and of past chairmen Rick Baumgarten, Bill Stewart, and Sam Dunn. For four years, NLBMDA has been sticking to a vision of the future. In 2006, we have begun to see the rewards of our work and the great potential the future holds.
For me personally, this year has been a wonderful opportunity for which I am very appreciative. I have been blessed with the experience of meeting and working with lumber dealers from across America. Big and small dealers, rural and urban dealers, longstanding participants and newcomers. The diversity of our industry is inspiring. In all that diversity, however, common themes clearly surface that characterize the DNA of the people of our industry. The lumber dealers of this country are honest, sincere, caring, capable, hard working, fun loving, community minded, competitive, committed, and compassionate. It has been a great honor to represent each of you. Thank you for your trust and friendship.
Finally, I would like to give a special thanks to the regional association executive directors and their boards for their hospitality, talent, and commitment to our industry. NLBMDA could not be successful without you.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your chairman. It has been one of the very best experiences of my life. Let's “Stick to it!” —Kevin Hancock is president of Hancock Lumber in Casco, Maine, and is outgoing chairman of NLBMDA.