As a the leader of an HVACR company, do you ever wake up in the morning and feel a knot in your stomach as you think about the day ahead? Chances are, you have.

Leading an HVACR company, whether you’re the owner or a director or a manager (or even an informal leader), means stress!

Projects don’t always go the way you want, employees don’t always make the right decisions, prospects don’t always have the same timeline or vision for what needs to be done as you do, customers have different priorities, suppliers don’t always deliver when needed, technology breaks down when we need it most, and outcomes don’t always turn out the way we need or want … the list of potential stresses goes on and on.

As a leader, you probably spend your work time dealing with problems and your downtime dreading them. But there’s another way to look at problems (and it can actually be a benefit to you).



It sounds crazy to say it, but problems are good things to have.

You might not agree with that statement at 3 a.m., when you can’t fall asleep because all the problems at work are keeping you up. However, keep reading, because you might find that you change your mind.

Here’s why I think business problems are good things: Problems reveal what needs to change in order to experience growth.

Your body works in a similar way — it wants to maintain a certain equilibrium of health. It knows the range of healthfulness that it needs to exist in.

When you experience pain, it’s your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong, but it’s also your body’s way of working on getting back to that equilibrium.

That’s why broken bones will fuse back together, infections will turn red and swell but eventually get back to normal, and even sore muscles will grow bigger.

Your business has pain too — that’s the problems that you feel stress about. These problems are the broken bones and pushed-past-capacity muscles of your business. Unfortunately, unlike your body, many HVACR business leaders don’t address the pain in their businesses the way their brains address pain in their bodies.

Though your body works automatically to address pain and get back to health, many HVACR leaders simply stress about the pain and don’t do anything about it. As a result, bad employees stay with the company instead of being let go, money continues to be tight, customers continue to push your buttons and ask for more than you can give, trucks keep breaking down, return on marketing investments continues to decline, and on and on and on.

But I say problems are a good thing, because if we treat them the way our bodies treat pain, it’s a signal to us to fix it.

If you want to grow your HVACR company (or the department you lead), start with the pain points … start with the problems. Here’s what to do:

List your problems. Instead of wondering “How do I grow the business?” ask yourself “What problems are stressing me out right now?” List them all, even if they seem related, even if some seem catastrophic and others are minor, even if listing them causes additional pain!

Put them in order. Don’t put them in order of what is the biggest pain versus the smallest pain; put them in order of what is the fastest and simplest to solve. Some will be quick and easy; others will be more challenging.

Rip the bandage off. If procrastination is a problem for you, especially when it comes to dealing with problems, then mark your calendar and make the next 30 days all about solving problems. Push yourself to solve as many of the problems on your list as possible.

Solve the problems. Some of the simplest problems may just need to be addressed quickly, once, and that’s the end of it. But persistent problems may need to be addressed with systems (for procedural problems) or training (or people problems).

Learn how to solve your problems. Some of the problems you face, especially the more complicated problems or the ones you don’t know how to address, can be solved with training. Find a mentor or coach who has mastered that challenge and learn from them, then apply.



It might be easy to think of your problems as major stressors holding you back. But they really aren’t like that at all. Instead, the problems you face in your HVACR business are actually the friction points where growth is happening.

By looking forward to your problems and eagerly tackling them, you can actually help your business to grow.

Problems. Maybe they’re not so bad after all!

Publication date: 11/12/2018

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