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Management Principles #9

Updated: Apr 6, 2022


Principle 9 (ISO 9000): Foster and Nurture Technical Knowledge and Skills

Specialists must continue to learn and acquire skills. After all, a client comes to an AV company with the trust and expectation that the company possesses the knowledge and skills sufficient for the end product to be designed, built, and installed in accordance with the best and current industry practices.


The knowledge base described here encompasses several domains. First and foremost, it covers the breadth and depth of the fundamentals. Electro-acoustics, video engineering, control systems, digital communications, RF distribution are just a sampling.


It also addresses product knowledge and these days of bleeding-edge technology, ever more so. The AV operational art requires a deep understanding of the boundary conditions the product designer has assumed when the device was designed. Unless those conditions are presented to the unit (temperature, input and output impedances, voltages and current, etc.), the product cannot meet the published specifications.


Finally, it includes a certain knowledge of new technology, that which has just entered or has yet to enter the marketplace. This is to assure that you are giving your clients sufficient information for them to make a wise decision when they make the investment into AV technology.


Objectivity is paramount. Unless we can place a number on things by using calibrated instrumentation, all we have to describe the performance of an AV system is a very biased opinion. Yet instruments can deceive if we do not understand how to apply them. The can and do yield ambiguous or downright false readings (and oftentimes to three significant figures!). Therefore AV companies must promote and share basic metrology as one of their skill sets if they are to be worth their salt.


Renewal units for industry certification are important, but they are only the first step. Great companies strive to keep their personnel in training (or instructing) for about 5% of their time employed. That equates to about 10 full days a year.


When a leader says they are afraid to provide that much training for their employees because "What if I pay all this money for training and they leave?" should consider the bigger problem: what if they DON'T provide the training... and the employee stays?


  • Does your corporate environment have industry literature at hand in break rooms and reception areas?

  • Does your company have a rich library of textbooks?

  • Does your file sharer have useful whitepapers, testing files, and samples of system data accessible to all who need them?

  • Does your company review individual training objectives and coach employees where they can continue to "add letters after their name"?

  • Do your supervisors always give a guess of a rule-of-thumb for an answer to a technical question from a subordinate, or does the supervisor, when possible, say "Let's look that one up!" so that the subordinate can learn the origin and background to technical concepts?

"Education has for its object the formation of character." - Herbert Spencer, English philosopher (1820 - 1903)


"Making a wrong decision is understandable. Refusing to search continually for learning is not." - Philip Crosby

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