Starnet kicks off fall conference

Austin, Texas—Starnet, the world’s largest network of full-service commercial flooring contractors, kicked off its fall 2022 conference here earlier this week. The event, the follow-up to its spring meeting, welcomed scores of contractor members and vendors for timely educational and networking opportunities.

FCNews was on hand and captured some of the highlights:

Opening address

Mark Bischoff, Starnet President and CEO

Mark Bischoff, Starnet president and CEO, welcomed a ballroom packed with attendees on opening day of the conference. “The theme of our meeting is ‘Keys to Success,’ which plays on the piano key imagery and the rich musical heritage of Austin,” he told attendees. “We are in the live musical capital of the world. All the content you will be exposed to here is going to focus on workplace culture, talent management, maximizing productivity and how you strengthen and scale all of that through the deployment of technology. We’ve all fought through the past few years and now we’re turning the page to a new focus.”

Registrations for the Starnet fall conference, according to Bischoff, reflect a return to the enthusiasm the group shared during the greatest of market conditions. “We are thrilled with the convention resources and support provided by our network of partners to gather, learn and experience everything that is new and important in the contract flooring industry,” he said.

Keynote presentation
Andrew Oxley, nationally recognized speaker, executive coach and founder of The Oxley Group, delivered the keynote address: “Uncomfortable—Becoming the Leader Your Team Needs to Win.” During his presentation, he talked about the challenges business owners face today in recruiting, mentoring and motivating their employees. It’s a critical issue, he noted, during a time when finding good, talented labor is a challenge.

Andrew Oxley, Starnet keynote speaker

“For many businesses today, profit is their first order of business,” Oxley told attendees. “However, that shouldn’t be the purpose of your business—otherwise, everything you do just becomes transactional.”

While Oxley concurred that people can be complicated, he said the process of managing them should not be complicated. In other words, “Don’t make the purpose of your business complicated; otherwise, you won’t get your employees to buy in,” he said.

Most managers today, Oxley noted, fall under one of three categories: The Villian, The Hero or The Guide. The first, he said, operates under the premise of: “I don’t need you; I can hire someone else to replace you tomorrow” (which is a fallacy in a period in which the US is seeing massive resignations). The second is The Hero, who believes: “I will show you and tell you how to do it.” In reality, he noted, nobody wants to be a bit player in their own success story. Oxley recommends more leaders take on the role of The Guide, who believes that employees should be allowed to experience success on their own terms. “Don’t be a leader that always tells someone how to do the job,” he said. At the same time, he advised against saying, “Go figure it out,” when employees run across challenges.

Oxley also advised business leaders to be more open to the younger generation when looking to fill open positions in their company. “Young people get a bad rap today,” Oxley noted. “Remember, young people are going to be the biggest component of your business in the near future.”

To prepare for this demographic shift, Oxley advised business owners to seek to better understand how the young generation thinks and operates. “They want to be heard and feel they genuinely have a stake in the success of your business. That’s why it’s so important to have meaningful dialogue with your people.”

Networking, social events
Attendees had the opportunity to mingle, network and make connections during the opening night reception as well as the tabletop exhibition.

For complete coverage of the Starnet Fall 2022 Conference, look for the Nov. 7/14 edition of FCNews.

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