This is a year like no other. Contractors must weather a year with the coronavirus pandemic, the nationwide lockdown, 40 million unemployed, widespread protesting, a presidential election, and who knows what else. To emerge victorious from 2020, contractors must exhibit the following seven traits.


1. They Must Focus

Never has the ability to compartmentalize and focus been more important. Distractions are everywhere. While it is important to interact with customers and prospects on social media, contractors must stay focused on positive messages and ways the industry can serve the community and customer base.

The focus must be on the contracting business — not the virus, not the news, and not the rest of the local business community. Catch up on the world in the evening. During the day, stay focused on work. Keep the team focused. You are here to improve the indoor environments where people live and work. Make people comfortable. Clean the air.


2. They Must Be Flexible

Never has it been more important to be able to pivot. Contractors have had to learn how to make sales calls using video calls. They have learned how to service equipment without coming into contact with the customer. They have learned how to conduct service meetings by video. They have been forced to become more paperless. They are going to face unique comfort challenges as Plexiglass dividers interfere with air distribution. More pivots will be needed going forward, though no one knows what they will be.


3. They Must Be Visionary

It is important to have a shared vision for any business in any time. In 2020, the shared vision must be adjusted for the short term. What is the vision for this year? What will the company look like going forward, this year? Describe it. Share what the business will look like as the year progresses, even though the final outcome may be foggy. Give the team something to latch onto. Give them a vision to strive towards, to work together to achieve.


4. They Must Communicate Often and Well

Obviously, the vision must be communicated and sold to the team. That’s just the start of the communication. Effort must be made to bring people together by video, if no other way, on a regular basis. Expectations of the team need to be shared. Expectations for customers need to be set. Everyone needs to understand that this is how we are doing business. This is how we are safeguarding our team and safeguarding our customers.


5. They Must Motivate Every Day

Negativity is assaulting everyone, every day, from every direction. The media is filled with death, despair, destruction, and outrage. That beats people down. For this reason, business leaders must be able to shake off the drumbeat of pessimism and share a message of hope and optimism on a daily basis. For the HVAC industry, there is a lot to be optimistic about. In a recent survey of expectations, 77.5 percent of Service Nation Alliance members expect to finish 2020 with sales equal to or better than 2019!


6. They Must Serve

In 2020, leaders must be servant leaders. They must lead by serving others in their companies and in the public. It is a truth that your team will not treat your customers better than you treat your team. Serve them so that they will serve the customers.

Servant leadership will not work unless you approach it with a servant’s heart. Start every day thinking how you can be of service to others, how you can make someone’s job easier, how you can help other people to succeed.


7. They Must Be Determined

Of all of the traits, this is the most important. The key difference between the companies that prosper in 2020 and those that struggle is that the business leaders of the prosperous companies will make a decision to succeed and accept nothing less.


It really is that simple. Decide to win. Be determined to win. Will yourself and your team to win. Find a way to win, and you will win.