At least once a week I talk to an HVAC contractor who has taken NCI training and is trying to figure out how to integrate measured performance into his or her business. NCI’s dozens of instructors and customer support staff get similar questions every day.

As we examine how companies we’ve trained over the years have made the transition, we found a common thread in three key areas:

  1. Technical knowledge and skills
  2. Investment in tools and instruments
  3. Consistent systems and processes.

Many of the contractors we talk to have made significant strides in the first two areas. They have a pretty good grasp of the technical knowledge to test, diagnose, and improve systems. Many have the tools and instruments to get the job done. However, most share that their biggest weaknesses are a lack of systems and processes.

Roughly 20% of those we talk to have made the leap from the ‘potential’ to deliver measured performance, to actually doing it. The common denominator is they already have good systems and processes in place. They have a good grasp of how their companies run, and good documentation of how they do what they do.

While they focus on great customer service and installing high-quality systems, most companies are still working on creating consistent, documented processes. As a result, they find it a lot tougher to implement new offerings like measured performance improvements.

So Where Do You Begin? Baby Steps!

The secret to implementing something as new and revolutionary like delivered performance is to take small steps and build momentum. The old adage, ‘How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time,’ truly applies here.

Baby Steps is how You Start into Performance-Based ContractingHere are some Baby Steps you can take as you begin to integrate measured performance into your company culture. These steps assume some of your people already have the needed knowledge, skills, and tools:

1. Build a ‘Pilot’ team. Choose one technician, one salesperson, and one installation crew. Your service and sales team should test performance on every service and sales call they can. Task your install crew with performing and ‘testing out’ system enhancements, both as part of equipment installation and stand-alone.

2. Use the experience you gain from these initial projects to hone your process. It’s very important to document what was done, what worked, and what didn’t. What might work in one company may not work in another. Your successes and failures will help your team determine what works best in your market – and for your company. This experience will help you make good course corrections as you move forward.

3. Learn from others. There are hundreds of NCI members in various stages of implementation. If you are a member, reach out and ask questions on our online forum, High-Performance Talk. If you’re not a member, start with a 30-day free trial. In addition to the support available with your membership, during these 30 days, you can reach out to other members and learn how they overcame the inevitable challenges of implementing this new process in their companies.

Go to to learn how to get a trial membership.

4. Keep going. As your pilot team improves its processes, you will generate new opportunities for performance improvements, take on bigger and more profitable projects. Most importantly, the team will start to ‘rub off’ on their peers within your company.

This baby-steps approach allows you to grow a High-Performance culture organically within your organization. The good news is you don’t have to do it all at once.

Remember, you don’t need to go it alone. You can access the wisdom of hundreds of High-Performance contractors plus NCI instructors and support staff as you embark on this exciting and worthwhile journey.