Make Accountability Your New Year’s Resolution

As 2002 nears an end, it’s the time of year when most people ease back from the hustle and bustle of work to focus on family and friends. Personally, I reflect on my own life and determine how I can make it better during the upcoming year, not just for myself but for others as well. Perhaps this is a good time for you to take stock as well.

Looking at the electronic security industry, I believe all of its problems and successes can be summed up by one thing—personal accountability. If each one of us made a New Year’s resolution to truly do the best we could, we would minimize or eliminate many of the problems facing this industry.

Face facts. There is no magic bullet. There is no committee that’s going to solve these issues. It all boils down to people being personally accountable. On a daily basis, the power is within each individual to make decisions, whether to cut corners or take the time to make his or her work a masterpiece. That is the approach we take with this magazine.

For example, this past year, there were some trade association officials who expressed concern when we covered controversial topics such as false alarms and verification. Some of these folks said they feared people “outside” the security industry would pick up the magazine and use it against our industry.

I don’t see it that way. The law enforcement community has much more serious (and sometimes embarrassing) problems to deal with than we’ll ever see in our industry!

We need to face our issues by accepting them, and by working hand-in-hand with law enforcement. Both factions have the same outcome in mind – protecting and saving lives. Every time I hear about us blaming them and them blaming us, I want to scream!

The security industry as well as law enforcement must come to grips with the fact that there is a small percentage of individuals who either have no ethics or don’t care.

Our association and law enforcement need to work jointly to target these people and make them personally accountable for their actions (or lack thereof).

When it comes to false alarms, I believe a large part of the solution lies in revamping how installing companies train customers on how to use their systems.

Most false alarms are end-user error, right? Who in your company trains the customer to use your system? If you answered, “the installer,” then, whether you choose to accept it or not, you’re part of the problem!

Every company should have a trained “quality control” representative. This person should be on the premises when a system is activated to ensure the customer’s satisfaction and to provide in-depth training that includes false-alarm prevention techniques.

Our association members volunteer their valuable time and demonstrate time and time again that they truly care about the overall health and reputation of the industry. And, they communicate this message well to their members.

But what about the majority of installing dealers/integrators who don’t belong to an association? How are they going to find out about significant issues that may affect or harm their businesses? They certainly are not going to get it from other “politically correct” media in our industry.

Being accountable requires knowledge. If readers receive balanced information, they can weigh the pros and cons of an issue and plan accordingly. SSI is helping be part of the solution by being the true voice of the electronic security industry – helping the little guy as well as the big corporations.

As I mentioned at the outset, take some time to reflect back on 2002 and do some soul-searching. Ask yourself, what more can you do to help your company be more successful for the betterment of the industry as a whole?

Maybe the answer is to slow down and treat each customer like a jewel, that each installation is for a loved one. Then, I am sure you would make darn sure everything was done properly.

All of us at Security Sales & Integration wish you and yours a happy and safe holiday season.

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