February 8, 2021
Dave WrightAs I write this, the launch of Congress Connect 2021 is winding down. It was a great few days of seminars and I actually got to see most of them this year. Most years, I get caught up in the trade show and miss that one seminar I wanted to see. Last spring, we were working so hard to get everyone back to work safely that we gave barely a thought to Congress — the association's biggest revenue generator. In the end, we succeeded with both: Heather MacRae's team at home office pulled out all the stops and did an amazing job of re-imagining our signature event.

The best part of Congress Connect is that it is available all year. I can go back and revisit the good parts, over and over. (I know I need to hear things a few times before it sinks in). I’m excited to see how Congress Connect evolves, especially if we run it as part of a live Congress one day. Don’t get me wrong, I do miss Congress! I’ve only missed a couple since 2003, when I moved back to Ontario to take over the family business. I was even at a few of the ‘90s events at Copps Coliseum when the precursor to the Awards of Excellence took place in the movie theatre next door. A lot has changed. They even removed the beer soaked carpet at Harry’s Bar. It will always be Harry’s to me…

As we ease into our second lockdown, we know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We know we are able to work and we will deal with getting the retail side of the industry up and running at the appropriate time. The same uncertainty about the economy is there, but now we have the precautions in place so we can avoid the virus. What is missing is the fear. Looking back at the beginning of the pandemic, fear of the unknown was rampant. Now we’re more annoyed by the necessary inconvenience of it all. We’re still in a serious situation, and we need to look back at what we did last time and make sure we don’t repeat  mistakes. We also need to keep pushing forward, keep looking for the opportunities, and keep learning.

Over the next couple of weeks, I will be meeting with my management team and crew leaders to discuss our plans for the year ahead. We are going to delve into the numbers and the specific targets everyone needs to keep their eyes on. If you get a chance to read Jack Stack’s “The Great Game of Business,” give it a whirl. It’s a good story as well as an amazing introduction to open book management. I have learned the more I share my vision and talk about where our company is going, the more everyone pulls in that direction. Just remember that running a business is a journey — we all hit bumps in the road and make wrong turns along the way. Some of us have a destination in mind while others are just out for a country drive in a cool truck. Whatever your reason for being in business, keep moving forward.

In closing, I challenge you to share more with your team and reap the rewards… and remember, "Don’t Let Your Guard Down!"
Dave Wright
LO President