Arrive At Greatness By Embracing Adversity

It can be both gut wrenching and heartwarming.

Nobody likes the down times. It’s human nature. But if I asked you to share your life story—to talk about what has defined you and your career—I bet your story wouldn’t be all sunshine and rainbows. In fact, what likely makes your story great is founded in a struggle or how you tackled adversity.

Although many of us don’t like adversity, part of becoming great, or even becoming who we are, is rooted in how we deal with life’s challenging moments.

The same can be said about our business’ life stories, as well. Business and life aren’t that different. In the integration space, there are so many highs and lows. The highs come with making great hires or winning large projects. The lows come with losing talented people, missing deadlines or seeing profits lower than you hoped.

This isn’t true just in our industry; there are parallels in every business. Some of the most triumphant stories I hear from integrators come from the companies that were the most desperate. I’ve spoken to more than a few integration firms that were only days away from shutting their doors, but they eventually figured out a way to make payroll, worked out a new deal with their bank or won a critical piece of business to come back from the dead…or almost dead.

The stories these owners tell are both gut wrenching and heartwarming because I know how this type of business strain feels. There’s nothing I like to see more than a happy ending.

Although many of us don’t like adversity, part of becoming great, or even becoming who we are, is rooted in how we deal with life’s challenging moments.

We kept these stories in mind as we carefully chose the speakers, keynotes and session topics for our upcoming Business & Leadership Conference set for February 25-27, 2016, in Dallas.

Our keynote and theme are wrapped around the idea of being “Great by Choice.” Our keynote speaker wrote a book with this same title, and it also became this year’s theme. And, we hope, it will be a theme that will be embraced by our entire industry.

To be great by choice means more than just making a conscious decision to run a great organization that achieves profits and growth every year. To us, deciding to be a great organization is all about having the will and fight that a modern business requires in order to deal with the ups and downs that come with a tough industry like ours.

Some time has passed since the Great Recession, but the difficult years that came from 2007 until recently serve as a great example and reminder of how difficult the integration business can be.

Not only do we deal with rapid transformation of products and technology, but we also deal with being heavily influenced by external conditions, such as construction, education funding, government policy and an array of other outside influences.

Now that nearly a decade has passed since the downturn caused great strain on many of the businesses in our industry, I’m proud to see so many integration firms still in this business, still clawing their way toward growth and, in some cases, achieving miraculous results.

If you have a great story like this to share, or if you need a little inspiration and you want to hear real stories about how integration firms of all sizes and types have weathered tough times and come out better, faster and stronger, then plan to attend our 18th-annual Business & Leadership Conference.

Not only will our presenters inspire greatness within you—and how to pass that greatness along to others—but you’ll also learn straight from the source. The winners of our Excellence in Business Awards will be there to talk about the changes they made to their firms to improve employee engagement and business performance, capitalize on talent development, rework the customer experience or separate themselves from the competition.

Sometimes, the best businesses are truly built from the most difficult of circumstances. It’s when things get difficult that the toughest companies rise up to accomplish something great. This isn’t an accident, but a choice that great companies and leaders make.

The challenges our industry will face in the future offer a time for you to decide: Will you choose to be great? Every company has to be on its toes to meet the complexities our customers expect us to help them overcome.

I’m confident that, as an industry, we will continue to meet and exceed expectations…all while continuing to grow and thrive in the marketplace.

If you’re interested in attending our Business & Leadership Conference (BLC) in February, visit for more information. If you’ve never attended BLC before, you can apply for the Randy Vaughan Leadership Award at Recipients receive free registration to attend BLC in Dallas.

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