Winning the plumbing battle (part two)

14 Jan 2016 12:54 PM | Anonymous

From the executive director

The Institute of Plumbing South Africa (IOPSA)’s executive director, Gary Macnamara, walks you through winning the plumbing battle

It all starts with you!

We often complain about how difficult the plumbing industry is and how much better it would be doing something else. The saying that the ‘grass is greener on the other side’ is unfortunately not our exclusive right. The fact is that all industries and countries have their own difficulties and challenges, especially in the current political, economic and social turmoil we find ourselves in.

So how do you decide on which battles to fight in your business? How are you getting yourself fit for the future?

How much of your personal mindset creates stumbling blocks in solving challenges? Are you supporting and stimulating yourself with options? Exploring all possible opportunities to implement solutions to your business challenges or are you stuck and a little overwhelmed at this point?

When last did you step back, reflect and brainstorm your options alone, with other entrepreneurs or with a mentor? How hungry are you to surround yourself with solution-seekers rather than people who will agree with how hard business is?

Take the plunge; treat yourself to the gift of stepping back and looking at where you are and where you want to go.

There is a simple concept referred to a ‘learned helplessness’ – where we are prevented from avoiding some repeatedly negative stimuli. We eventually reach a state in which it we become passive and depressed because we believe there is no action we can take to avoid the aversive stimulus. Essentially, we give up trying.

Whilst this sounds extreme, even a little of this at a personal level can play with our motivation… So how about building on the gift to yourself? Shift from ‘give up’ exercises to ‘I’m building solutions that make sense’, especially if you choose to give yourself a fighting opportunity to be fit for the future.

If you can shift your thinking even a little bit, you can shift from blaming yourself and others to learning from your past decisions. That old saying – ‘We can’t change our outcome if we keep doing the same thing’ – may start to make sense.

Let’s go into a little more detail and, by way of example, show you that everyone has the opportunity to be successful:

Round 1 – SIMPLE


Focus on what you do best, think simple. It’s that simple; don’t complicate your business for the sake of things. Controls, processes, products and services must make a difference to your vision for the business and client experience, otherwise why have them? You’re looking for excellence without unnecessary stress, effective use of your resources, management of your overheads and delivering a quality service.


Fighters keep their plans simple, so they can deliver – trying to implement many different techniques and moves can be tiring and often ineffective. A fighter knows his/her strengths and focusses on those to deliver the knockout blows.

  • TEAM

Your team is part of your business, they need to understand what you expect and how you measure service and client satisfaction.


Get the basics right and build from there. Your unique offering must be a living experience for clients. Don’t focus on what people don’t use or want – ‘Focus on what you do best, think simple.’

Remember – ‘No-one wins a world title fight by throwing the same punches... Each fighter plays to their unique strengths to deliver the unexpected and to gain victory when their opponent least expects it.’

Coming soon to upcoming issues of Plumbing Africa:

  • Round 2: UNIQUE
  • Round 3: COMPETITIVE
  • Round 4: CONSISTENT

What is the secret of success? ‘RIGHT DECISIONS’

How do you make the right decisions? ‘EXPERIENCE’

How do you get experience? ‘WRONG DECISIONS

  • Article contributors: Steve Brown, IOPSA operations manager; Debbie Donaldson, You are Worth It motivational speaker; Gary Macnamara, IOPSA executive director.



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