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Change Can Open Up Opportunities

There are very few of us who like things to change. We get comfortable and don’t want any disruptions in life. Change, however, creates opportunities to grow through new experiences and learning. Now, we can all agree that growing can be difficult, overwhelming and stressful. That’s why it is called “growing pains,” not “growing pleasures.”


Oftentimes change is forced upon us. These situations can be stressful and irritating because they remind us that we are not in control of all parts of our life. Think about that as you change conditions for those who work in your area of influence. How are your actions either making it easier or more difficult for your people to adapt?


If you are a leader, implementing change within your team takes action: time to communicate, align resources, set expectations and remove uncertainty. People want to know what is in it for them. Why they should care. Why they should advocate instead of resisting the changes you propose. Remember, they are either going to do one or the other, so how do we persuade them that change is positive for them?


To sum up, change creates fear, leadership creates engagement, and engagement overcomes fear. Remember, the team’s attitude is because of the leader and his/her ability to engage others. I certainly have experiences where I have succeeded in implementing change and other examples where I did not. Most of the time, as I reflect, I can identify what behaviors or actions caused us to either succeed or fail. Do you have these same encounters?


AWCI has gone through significant changes in recent years. Michael Stark has assumed the role of CEO, and we as an organization have navigated the ever-challenging world of COVID-19. We are hyper-focused on initiatives that we believe add value to our membership today. If the needs change, we will continue to adapt and pivot to the next set of challenges.


As noted above, change creates opportunities for development, involvement and engagement on a variety of issues. Education, awareness, training programs, technical support and marketing are just a few ways AWCI comes beside its members. The association continues to strive to be the gathering place for industry ideas and forums, and we are excited to fill this role.


This is my last column as president. It has been an honor to serve and work hard for our industry. I feel that I have “left it all on the field,” as they say. I can tell you the time seems to have gone by fast, but I am excited to hand the keys over to Travis Vap who will do an exceptional job. To the executive committee team and the entire AWCI staff, thank you. I appreciate you all greatly.

Shawn Burnum is the 2021–2022 president of the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry and vice president of operations at Performance Contracting, Inc. in Lenexa, Kan.

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