LiFT Seminar: Staying Competitive in Transitioning Markets

On March 20, Innovation Factory hosted their first LiFT Seminar of 2014: Staying Competitive in Transitioning Markets. The seminar included a keynote presentation from Michael Macaluso, COO of CARSTAR Automotive Canada, followed by a panel discussion with experts from industries including advanced manufacturing, life science and consumer packaged goods. All parties provided key insights on how their organizations have been able to remain ahead of their competition through continuous change and innovation.

First up, Michael Macaluso, Chief Operating Office of CARSTAR Automotive Canada delivered the keynote presentation outlining how CARSTAR has been able to remain ahead of their competition, much like Apple and McDonald’s. Mike discussed what differentiates companies who exercise reactive change versus proactive change and highlighted the importance of goal setting and strategic planning.

“Always focus on your vision, even if your mission has been achieved,” stated Mike.

Mike also explored the power of intrapreneurship, which motivates employees to believe, embrace, and care for the organization as much as the entrepreneur.

As a forward thinking individual, Mike recognizes that past accomplishments are not an indication of future successes; CARSTAR promotes an organizational culture focused on proactive change, continuous goal setting and a high level of employee engagement.

Constantly pushing boundaries and looking for areas of growth and innovation has resulted in tremendous growth for CARSTAR, which currently franchises over 200 stores across Canada.

Following Michael’s presentation, the crowd heard from an expert panel: Dr. Hugh Fuller, VP of Medical & Academic Affairs at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, Tricia Mumby, VP of Sales & Marketing at Mabel’s Labels, Geoff Mackay, VP of Finance at Tube-Mac Piping Technologies Ltd., and moderator Lori Hall, Partner at Gowlings.

Panel members were able to provide context to the keynote presentation, adding their own perspectives on remaining competitive in their respective industries. Some of the key takeaways from the panel session included:

  • Recognize the need to step out of working in your business to focus on development of the organization is hard, but must be done.
  • Leveraging an advisory board helps you as an owner to focus on strategy.
  • Ensure you hire the right people to take care of the day-to-day logistics of the business and trust them to do so.
  • You must constantly look for opportunities to change – this could be a gut feeling, market indicators, research, past experience or watching your competition. You need to identify key indicators and ensure change follows from there.
  •  Seek advice; you’d be surprised how helpful external advisors can be.
  • Have goals and get your team onboard – a great team moving collectively towards a goal makes a huge impact
  • Build on your successes, focus on what you do well and transition into new markets.
  • Be bold and take risks!

Thank you to our Keynote Speaker, Michael Macaluso, and to our panelists for their valuable insights!

If you are a business looking to remain competitive through innovation and change, please contact Tyler Wright, iF Business Development Manager at [email protected].



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