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Leadership: Team-Builder-in-Chief

Cowboy in the Sunset

The lone wolf. The high plains drifter. The one-man army.

Is that so different from what we say about the entrepreneur, this vision of one man against the world? The independent pioneer cutting new trail. The master of your own destiny, coming up with solutions to every problem out there in the wilderness – alone. Sounds about right. Well, maybe at first.

Loners work alone, they’re independent. But in home improvement, home service one of two things often happen to loners:

1) There are so many things to do that we can’t possibly be good at all of them at once or

2) We need to do things we are not good at, and those become our limiting factors.

Can an installer or technician do his job well if he has to answer the phone and help people every time it rings? Can an accountant do their job well if they have to run leads and sell jobs? Can a salesperson do their job well if they have to do the marketing or run service calls also?

Take it further: imagine if you had to do all the work, every step in the Business Machine (maybe that’s what you’re essentially doing now). First, you have to do the marketing to get leads. Then you have to be there to answer the call when it comes and set an appointment. Then you have to sell the job and prepare all of the paperwork and work with a finance company. Then you have to schedule the job for a definite date to get it done. Then you have to get all the materials together and go out with your equipment and install the job. Then you have to do the accounting and pay the bills, and be there to service the job forever.

That’s a lot on one plate. Maybe you can handle it for a while, but what happens if you get sick? Or hurt? Or just plain burned out? There’s not much margin for success in a one-man-show, if the one man doesn’t show up. Doing things ourselves is a recipe for failure, frustration, burnout, and letting our customers down.

Teamwork is the answer.

Divide the Work – Magnify the Effect

Humans are interdependent social beings. We all have different strengths and talents, but no matter how talented we are in one or two areas, we are weak in others. As leaders, we need to hire people to fulfill the needs of the organization. But we’re not just hiring individuals, we’re hiring team members. As leader, a big part of your job is Team-Builder-in-Chief: you build teams that collaborate to get things done well.

The Business Machine model we use at Contractor Nation encourages each team member to specialize. Team members who specialize in what they do best, can stay in their strength zone all day and not have to worry about things they are not good at, don’t have time for or don’t know how to do. However, when we have teams of specialists, they need to work together. Specialists are interdependent with other specialists.

That’s another key component of being Team-Builder-in-Chief: you have to foster great teamwork amongst the people that you hire. (We’ll talk about that more, in our next blog entry.)

Are you the lone wolf? Do you have a company of individuals that aren’t quite a team yet? Or are you the Team-Builder-in-Chief, hiring and training your people to be the great team?

See you soon.