shubee.com/buzz-contributors”>shubee.com/media/fckupload/image/jim_hamilton_header.jpg” />One of the best attributes I like about the people I meet in Nexstar is their entrepreneurial spirit. This attribute alone is what inspired most owners to go into business for themselves. Everyone has strengths and limitations. An entrepreneur will always tackle what they don’t know. They figure it out or find a way around every challenge and take pride in accomplishing what they thought they didn’t know. Every business is started by an entrepreneur. In time, the entrepreneurial spirit that started the business will become the anchor to its growth.
As a kid, I’m sure you must have tried running down a steep hill. Remember how easy it was to start and get up to speed? It was almost effortless. But gravity soon began to work against you. You were traveling faster than your feet could carry you. Next thing you knew, you had swan-dived into the side of that hill. When it happened to me all I could think about was how my mom was going to kill me for the grass stains streaking the front of my shirt.
Starting and growing a company is like running down a hill. Potential energy quickly turns kinetic and before you know it, you’re drowning in decisions. In my example of running down a hill, if I had only jumped into my wagon and concentrated on steering it, I could have come home with just a big smile on my face. When starting a business, at some point an owner needs to get a management team and steer it. Otherwise the company will just run at the same speed or fall on its face.
Do you know yourself? I mean do you truly know your strengths and weaknesses? That is the first step in building a management team. The people you hire should complement your leadership skills. If you’re not a people person, hire one for your management team. If you struggle with the financial side of your business, hire someone to fulfill that role. Do you see the synergy you can develop when you build a complementary management team?
Here is cardinal rule number one when building a management team. Ready? Everyone on your management team must have two traits to make a company grow. The first is a desire to grow and the second is a shared stake in the vision you have for your company. You can’t grow unless you implement. The more I travel between member companies the more I’m convinced a person either has the will to implement or they don’t. Look for a management team candidate who welcomes change and challenge. Your marketplace is dynamic. Customers continuously change the value they place on service. Your competitive environment will always change. New technology, markets and opportunities are continually streaming by you. Seize the opportunities with the greatest potential. The only way you’re going to do that effectively is if you have someone focused on the future of your company.
This next step might be hard for some people, but I find this very easy to do — hire people smarter than you. I have a philosophy, “Don’t be afraid to be the dumbest person in the room.” You can only take your company to the level of your ability. If you want more than you can deliver yourself, hire people smarter than you.
As an owner, think what a team of highly motivated individuals who work together to run your company can do for you? You almost can’t help working on your business. You have the freedom to look beyond the next day, week or month. You can visualize what your company will look like years from now. Then, with many of tools developed by Nexstar, put together a step-by step plan to reach that objective.
I’ve heard owners say, “If I bring someone into the management of my company, I’m afraid they’ll run off, start their own company, and compete against me.” Yup. That’s a risk. But if you follow a few guidelines, the risk is greatly shubee.com/media/fckupload/image/team-leader.jpg” />reduced. Why do you think John Burwell stays at Peterson with Kenny Chapman? Or Joe Bamford with Floyd Furr? Because the owners of these companies treat their management teams as partners. They may not have a percentage of ownership but they share the same vision as the owner and they are empowered to deliver that vision.
Nexstar member and trainer Kenny Chapman once told me the success of a management team must lie in everyone having a share in the vision for the company. It’s not just the owner’s vision — it’s their vision. Reward your management team. Be sure your compensation package is competitive but also be sure there’s plenty of praise for jobs well done. Praise is a major ingredient of a positive culture, one of the best retention tools out there.
Most of us recognize the power of training for all its benefits. But don’t forget training your management team. Provide training for each of your management team’s specialties, but more importantly, training in leadership and cooperativeness. Remember it’s a team effort. Working as a team requires training like anything else. Training never stops. Train replacements for your management team. As you grow, your management team will grow with the rest of your company. Be ready with others to fill openings in your management team as you would any other role in your company. Should a manager leave, sure, there will be a loss felt, but you have that covered with someone waiting in the wings to fill that position. Besides, who would you rather compete against, a company who knows what it costs to provide quality service or just another flash-in-the-pan garage operation. You are raising the bar for our industry with your training efforts.
A management team is your opportunity to devote time to work on your business with the freedom from working in it. Focus and keep smiling.
Jim (Bone) Hamilton is a business coach with Nexstar®. He has spent 36 years in the PHCE service industry and has purchased and transformed 28 underperforming companies into profitable businesses, each in less than a year. Nexstar members get rapid results, guided by experienced coaches, surefire systems and incredible peer connections. For more information on how you can get rapid results, go to www.nexstarnetwork.com or call 888.240.STAR.