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Distributors’ perspective: Who are you going to call?

by Fred Reitz

One of the core pillars for the North American Association of Floor Covering Distributors (NAFCD) is leadership. Fulfilling a leadership position with our industry’s trade association is not a task to place on a to-do list. It is an opportunity that requires everyone to step forward and contribute time, energy and intellect to the betterment of the organization and the industry.

NAFCD plans to expand on each of its pillars in the coming 18 months: Leadership, networking, education and trends. NAFCD recently spent time interviewing past officers and members of its board of directors and the association is gathering leadership stories to encourage that next generation of leaders and invite them to participate.

Every organization faces the challenge of recruiting and developing future leaders. Regardless of downsized budgets, time constrictions and limited resources, the question remains: How do you identify potential leaders and assist them in developing executive characteristics? This must be answered before new leaders can emerge to take the helm for the future. Volunteering for the NAFCD board of directors provides a wealth of resources in leadership training and an environment to challenge a future leader.

For the past 40 years, floor covering industry leaders have found our advanced leadership development in service to be very valuable, both personally and professionally. Exposure to elite, talented peers who serve NAFCD offers examples not found in graduate school management textbooks. The growth experienced by NAFCD leaders is rarely attainable within the four walls of a privately held business.

It is difficult to locate and evaluate training programs for executives and up-and-coming leaders; it’s even more difficult to find programs that are industry-specific. NAFCD offers both advanced training for board and executive board members that is highly relevant to the floor covering industry. All this is available essentially for the cost of time and travel to two board meetings each year.

Many who become involved in NAFCD leadership are company owners who make all the decisions and call all the shots. Volunteering for leadership service may develop something in company owners that they need—how to work with other leaders and influence people. Those individuals gain accountability and measurable results for their lives and careers. Our association offers education for developing leaders through our partnership with SmithBucklin. General business subjects like finance, governance, etc., are available to assist NAFCD officers as they advance through chairs.

An ideal candidate for the NAFCD board of director positions might be:

  • The top executive in your company. This individual can contribute years of industry experience while developing his own skills in human resource management and diplomacy.
  • The mid-level management rising star. Reward and develop your company’s up-and-coming leader with a recommendation to the NAFCD board of directors. It provides on-the-job training and an opportunity to see the inner workings of the industry.
  • Other top executives in the company. CFOs, CEOs or other executives can benefit from in- depth education and leadership experiences in the floor covering industry.

It should not be difficult to identify personnel within your organization who can experience the benefits of leadership in NAFCD. Who will you recommend from within your company to benefit from this unique type of experience?