By Rick Doane, IFCCE
While the first quarter often brings success, true results come from your leadership the rest of the year
The first quarter of the year is over and all of us, as owners, know one thing coming into the second quarter: don’t be fooled
by the early success.
My father started our company in 1974 when I
was 12 years old. Every year since then I would
review the numbers with him and we would
dream about the success we could have if we
could duplicate the type of recoveries we
obtained in January through
March for the remaining part
of the year.
Americans as a whole have
been paying down their debt
from January to March, due to
several reasons, for as long as I
have been in the business. But
we now enter the part of the
year where the weather starts
to get better (no, I really mean
it—even this year!) and people
start to think about family
vacations and summertime.
This is when your employees
need you the most.
We as leaders need to make sure that everyone
understands the basics. We know, all too well,
that the rest of the year is when we are paid to
lead our group.
There are so many factors that ultimately
affect our recoveries. Some are things we cannot
change, like consumers wanting to spend
(perhaps above their means) as opposed to
continuing to pay down their debt.
But some things we can do something about.
As I said, the weather is getting better and this
has as much of an effect on our employees as it
does the people we call. It’s crucial to engage our
employees on the importance of coming to work
each and every day, even when that first day of
truly beautiful weather (it’s coming, I swear!)
shows up and we are hit with so many personal-day calls.
In a 20-day work month, one day is 5 percent
of your month. Poof! It doesn’t take a rocket
scientist to realize that if too many employees call
in, we are not going to fare well.
Spring seems to change people’s mindset. We
start to think about anything but work, including
beaches, boating, picnics, outdoor concerts, days
at the park, weekend trips to your favorite
amusement parks (OK, I have twin 13 year olds!),
gardening, fishing—well, you get the idea. It’s no
wonder we have to be on the top of our game.
We, as owners, need to stay focused on the basics
and remember to inspire our people to succeed.
I had the honor to sit at the head of the table
and run the March ACA Board of Directors
meeting. I don’t know how my predecessors kept
the meetings down to one or two days, or got
anything done, when we had a more than 75
members on the board.
The board is currently made up of 17
members, and they are all very committed to
their tasks. We vet every subject so we know each
type of member has been represented in their
views on a particular subject. I am proud of what
we have accomplished so far, and there should be
some great ideas coming out in the days that
One of the items I have been making headway
on is the speed of the board’s decision-making
process. Our committees are now giving us a
much better look at their recommendations and
the financial impacts, so we don’t need to send a
good idea away for “cost analysis.” This should
allow us to deliver more to members quicker than
in the past.
Another issue that was discussed at the board
meeting was Operation Choke Point. Under this
initiative, the Federal Deposit Insurance
Corporation and Department of Justice are
reportedly intimidating financial institutions
from offering financial services to certain
licensed, legally operating industries the
government doesn’t like—including debt
collectors—in an attempt to choke off those
industries from our country’s banking system.
We as an association have made a
commitment to support any legislation that
May 2015 Collector I 9
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