Do You Have 20/20 Vision? Here’s What it Will Take to be Successful in the Future

By Paul Bieber

You need to see the future to survive in the glass industry— or any industry. If you wait for the future to come to you, it will have passed over before you know it. 2020 is knocking on the door. Here is what I see affecting our industry ahead: personnel, personnel, personnel. Without quality staff, your business will be stagnant at best and, at worst, disappear.


Okay, that is the editorial; here are some ways to get that top-notch staff. First, you have to make the decision to do it. Do you want to keep total control over everything or are you ready to cede some of your power to qualified people, because that’s what you must do?

No successful companies in any industry, including ours, have secondary people making decisions. Yes, there’s one person in-charge, but there are many decisions to be made, at various locations from jobsites to branch locations, and you must be ready to let go of the reins. You have taught people to work for you and with you. If they’re good and you don’t let them grow, they’ll surely leave you.

If you don’t agree, turn the page.

Meet with your leaders regularly, at least once a week, using this time to educate and go over events. Make suggestions on how to handle situations. Go over alternatives. Never yell or contradict a leader in front of others. No one will ever stick their neck out again for you.

Let your leaders set goals for their area of responsibility; these can be financial or efficiency. Review these goals at least monthly. If you wait until a couple of months into a program it will be too late. But along this line, if one of your leaders feels strongly about something, and if failure won’t be too expensive, let it run. If it fails, teach the leader privately and give her/him another project. By showing support, this leader will be with you for a long time.


Give bonuses to special leaders who surpass set goals, encouraging them to set higher ones in the future. Stress the future so they know you intend to be here for the long run. Encourage them to pull out and train others from their own working groups. Good leaders encourage others to reach out for a better position within your company.

Don’t put your leaders on the clock. Give them a good salary with a chance to earn bonuses. Give them time off when they need it; encourage them to attend little league games or soccer matches. You will be paid back many times over for treating your leaders like family. If you have multiple tiers in your medical plan, give your leaders the upper tier. This is a huge incentive to want to remain a leader and for others to strive to become one.

Some people lead naturally, but most are taught and trained. Look at your local colleges and encourage employees to take courses that can help them. Also encourage your vendors’ leaders to visit and spend a day talking about their personal stories in leadership. Hearing this from inside the trade will have a big benefit for you.

Paul Bieber has more than 40 years’ experience in the glass industry, with C.R. Laurence and as executive vice president of Floral Glass in New York. He is now the principal of Bieber Consulting Group LLC and can be reached at Read his blog on Tuesdays at

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