Fear of failure is a powerful motivator in business
Posted On August 22, 2023
DSI Security Services was started over 50 years ago when the construction company building a nuclear power plant near Dothan, Alabama, turned to the local sheriff for help in securing the job site.
Alan Clark, the son of that sheriff, is now chairman of the board of DSI and has helped the company grow into one of the biggest privately-held security companies in the nation, with over 5,400 employees in 33 states.
Most of that growth has been organic, says Clark, our guest in a recent episode of “What’s Working with Cam Marston.” Clients like BMW ask DSI to expand into other states where they also have facilities.
But Clark, who was also recently profiled in Business Alabama, also believes fear has pushed him to constantly look for new opportunities.
“You are going to lose some contracts. The fear of failure motivated me to get out and pursue more business,” he said. “When you do that in my opinion you open the door to many other avenues of opportunity.
“I think everybody has opportunities in life to excel,” he added. “I think some people never see it. Some people see it and are too afraid to grasp it. And the third category of people see their opportunity and go with both feet into it and make it work.”
That opportunity first came for DSI because there weren’t any security companies in the Dothan area at the time. Now, the company still specializes in access control at manufacturing facilities, but also counts hospitals, high-rise office buildings, shipping companies and port facilities among its clients.
One challenge Clark sees is a familiar one to most employers these days – hiring and retaining employees.
“I’ve been doing this 47 years. Never seen anything like it, ever,” he said. “It’s like COVID came on and a switch was turned off. It’s a constant process.”
While hiring has improved recently, he says, retention is a primary focus now. He believes recognition is an important tool to making sure his employees know they’re valued: “Our goal is to make sure everybody in our company feels wanted, needed and accepted.”
At the end of the day, he says, the success of his business rests on hiring and retaining not just good employees, but good people.
“It’s all about good people,” said Clark, both of whose sons also work in the company. “We are in the service industry. I can take bad food in a restaurant. I can’t take bad service.”