The Spring 2016 Success Group International's biannual expo took place Wednesday, March 30 to Friday, April 1 at the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans. There were 386 companies in attendance (996 people). Out of that, 112 companies were plumbing contractors (285 people). There were also 51 vendors in attendance at the vendor showcase.

Before the event, attendees were asked to take a DiSC assessment. This prepared the way for the first day’s events. Attendees sat at assigned tables in order to get a mix of behavior types together. After introductions and a training session on DiSC personality profiles, each table went out to explore New Orleans on a scavenger hunt. Throughout the activities, the team members were aware of the different behavior types and how each worked together.

When everyone returned, they learned how to reverse this and assign a behavior type by assessing a person’s behavior. Knowing a person’s behavior type allows a manager or owner to know a person’s needs, tendencies and desires in a work environment, and how they can be the most effective employee.

Thursday began at 7 a.m. for those who wanted to get to one of the six vendor breakouts. Otherwise the day began at 8:30 with guest speaker John Stahl-Wert. He spoke on the “serving leader” movement — challenging attendees to look at their organizations and see how they could better serve in order to better lead.

“Be in business to make a difference,” he said. “Raise the bar. People don’t bring their best to work if they don’t believe in their leader.”

Following Stahl-Wert, were Rebecca Cassel, president of SGI, Gus Antos, owner of Milestone Electric & Air and part-owner of SGI, and Jimmie Dale, owner of Baker Brothers Plumbing & Air and part-owner of SGI, with 2016 SGI updates.

Both men talked extensively about the changes they see in the residential contracting industry and what SGI members can do to prepare for them. They revealed a new frontend software/app that SGI is developing called Service Line. Service Line is still in its infancy, but it will allow members to better track their key performance numbers on every single service call — and it will be user friendly for the technician.

Attendees also heard from motivational speaker Krish Dhanham and Google account manager Jim Armstrong.

“Most people aim low and hit,” said Dhanham. “I would rather you aim high and miss. I encourage you to have great expectations of self, others, your mission and your dreams.”

The afternoon and evening breakout sessions were in three parts and many were moderated/hosted by contractors. In the first group participants could attend one of five options: Goal Setting and Communicating Performance Expectations, Profits Before Growth, Building a Pricing Strategy, Overcoming Objections, and Introducing Comfort Guard and Guardian Alliance (AirTime only).

The second group included four options: Build Your Marketing Strategy, Personal Finance, Leadership Development, and Comfort Guard for Existing Customers (AirTime only). The third and final group was based on which group attendees were a part of. The PSI breakout was about operational excellence.

The night ended with a vendor showcase.

Friday also began at 7 a.m. for those who wanted to get to one of the six vendor breakouts. Otherwise attendees went straight to the morning breakout of their choice. The first set of options included: Understanding Behavior Types Using DiSC Assessments, Online Reputation Management, Faith Based Organization, and Branding Strategies. The second set was again based on which group attendees were a member of. The PSI breakout was about plumbing industry trends.

The afternoon sessions, which all of SGI was together for, included: Implementing Community Involvement Initiatives by Tim Boulden, president of Boulden Brothers Plumbing, Heating and Air; When Work Becomes Play by Joel Zeff, guest speaker, author and improvisational humorist; and It’s All About the Attitude by Sam Glenn, guest speaker, author and performance artist.

“Change is going to happen,” said Zeff. “However, you can be prepared if you understand and accept that and ‘stay in the game’ — control how you react, be open and flexible, and be present and in the moment.”

Zeff’s improve sketches with members of the audience demonstrated just how important being open, flexible and in the moment are to success — had anyone not done any of those the sketches would not have succeeded. 

The night wrapped with the SGI’s first Awards Gala and Show emceed by Zeff. During this celebration, Success Group International recognized the top sales producers throughout the entire SGI family. “We’ve always had some type of recognition for these high achievers at our spring Expo, but we’ve never delivered something like this — an event,” says Paul Riddle, vice president of operation, and investor/owner of SGI. “We had live entertainment throughout the night to accompany an elaborate dinner. It included a traditional New Orleans jazz band marching throughout the crowd, as well. It truly made our members’ top employees feel honored for their hard work. Plus, by being at the show, these plumbers, technicians, and salespeople had an opportunity to network and ‘pick the brains’ of other top performers.”