Why the TRC Partnership Works for Everyone
Did you ever have a task you thought would be simple, and then once you began, you realized you had seriously misjudged the complexity? Sometimes even seemingly simple tasks require many hands.
On the surface, our focus is to advance a singular goal: the collection of mercury-containing thermostats. As an objective, it’s hard to get more concrete.
It wouldn’t surprise me if many of our partners — government officials, HVAC wholesalers, contractors and recycling centers —think our daily activities are straightforward and uncomplicated. All we “do” is recycle thermostats. However, our goal’s singularity makes it easier for people to judge us because there’s no room for misinterpretation.
Yet, it might surprise some that we, too, have a juggling act at times to fulfill our mission.
For example, we’re in the 48 contiguous states. That means we have 48 different rules, laws, mandates or unwritten practices with which to contend, and not one is identical. Yes, many follow general principles, but enough variance exists to keep us on our toes, and in some states, we find ourselves hopping frequently. The state’s physical size, population, number of outlets for collection, approach to thermostats — mandates versus volunteerism — and ”assertiveness” on the part of officials can require a range of demands on our responses. Allow me to put it gently and accurately at the same time: Some states require more “handholding” than others. It’s like having a class schedule with numerous teachers: some easy, a few middle of the road, and a couple more challenging.
If this sounds like an overwhelming task, I can comfortably say it isn’t. But it occasionally presents challenges as we try to clarify the relationship with a partner, including the agreement on each one’s responsibility. This includes clarifying our position and pointing out gently that the partner also has specific responsibilities to the program.
Now is the time to focus on the word “partner,” a term or its plural, partners, that I frequently use in my blogs. It is not an accident. There is no TRC, or more accurately, there is no effective TRC without our partners along the recycling chain that we began more than 20 years ago.
An open mind, a willingness to be flexible and compromise, and understanding the other person’s viewpoint can work wonders when it comes to arriving at a suitable solution for all.
I have said it in the past, I will say it now, and I’m sure to repeat it in the future: If you have questions, need help, or wish to share an idea, we will listen carefully. No idea is a bad idea, and every misunderstanding or disagreement requires special attention. And we will ensure that you get it from us.
What I love about this partnership is that I can prove it works. Because of our successful partnership, we’ve collected more than 2.7 million thermostats and recycled more than 12 tons of mercury.
You know the saying; it takes a village. So let’s keep the partnership vital, effective and ongoing.