Russell Watson of Target Consultants Inc. gave NAFA members a pop quiz during his session on what motivates the NAFA professional.

San Francisco is a laid back kind of town. After living here for almost four years, I should know. I think that laid back attitude translated well to the NAFA conference that kicked off yesterday at the Fisherman's Warf Holiday Inn.

While some conferences and conventions can seem a little overwhelming with information and speakers, the National Air Filtration Association did a great job yesterday of presenting speakers in an environment that felt less like a classroom and more like a large conversation.

Over 100 members sat in on yesterday's sessions, which included information on environmental controls for allergies and how to expand business offerings.

Russell Watson of Target Consultants Inc. kicked off the first day of sessions with a presentation called "What Motivates the NAFA Professional? It's More than Money! (It has to be!)"

So if it is about more than money, then what is it? To find out, Watson gave the attendees a quick pop quiz. Attendees were asked to finish this sentence: "I'm in the air filtration profession because I..."

I think that is a great sentence to finish, just replace the words "air filtration" with the profession you are in. Why are you in the sheet metal business? Why are you in the heating and air-conditioning business?

That pop quiz asked attendees to really take a look at what motivates them as individuals and if they are using their strengths to the best of their ability. It also asked others to take a look at the motivators of others. What are the strengths of the people in your company? Their strengths are probably different from your strengths. But are you finding a way to combine the strengths and different motivations in your company to create positive results?

When we recognize the abilities of others and  work together toward a common purpose,  positive results are bound to happen.

I think the best lesson that came out of yesterday's session is that  we sometimes get bogged down with the day to day operations and forget why we are doing what we are doing. So ask yourself again: why am I in the sheet metal business? Is it because you enjoy finding a solution for a customer? Is it because you enjoy the challenge of fabricating duct systems? If work is getting stressful and too complicated, just go back to that question. Why are you doing what you are doing? And then ask what is standing in the way of your motivation.

Soon I'll be off for the second day of the conference. There should be more to learn and more to keep everyone motivated.