The time is now.

This is the thought that ran through my mind when I first heard the announcement that the industry’s two leading organizations, APSP and NSPF, will join to become the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance beginning in April.

The news has taken most people by surprise. After all, it’s only been about three years since they first explored the idea of uniting the two groups. Most people, myself included, were hopeful for what a united group could accomplish for the industry. A marriage of both sides of the pool industry, presented to the world as one united front, was something to root for. So when that attempt failed, there was near-universal disappointment.

But, as it turned out — and as I had hoped — the failed attempt was not a failure, but a strong first step. It was the foundation and road map that allowed both groups to act decisively now.

What’s changed? First and foremost, I think a level of trust exists now that wasn’t there three years ago. The seed that was sown then needed time to grow. And, in the two years since they called off the merger, the two groups have seen a number of changes in leadership, both on their boards of directors and their CEOs.

It’s a good lesson, I think.

For any business decision, performing due diligence is vital. But knowing when to act is even more important. Ask yourself: What changes would make my business stronger? What’s holding me back? What would make it the right time for this change to make sense?

But back to the merger. The questions I raised during the first attempt still stand. Answering the hows of this union will be an early predictor of whether or not the new entity will be an effective advocate and representative for the industry. To be sure, the new board has its work cut out for it. Will they succeed?

Only time will tell. But I know that I, along with the rest of the industry, will be cheering for them.

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