This week we held our Glass Doctor Convention in New Orleans. Besides our annual Dwyer Reunion held in the Fall, this was the first time in five years we had a Glass Doctor-only event. Walking around with our franchisees I was reminded of the leadership we have in our family.
I don’t use the term “family” carelessly. In 33-plus years of franchising I’ve been exposed to, and worked with, a select few companies who truly embrace this philosophy. Family members don’t always agree. At the end of the day, however, they are always glad to see each other. They also protect each other and are the first to support one another.
As I stood on stage and scanned the crowd it was easy to spot the real leaders. They work on their leadership skills. Each knows it takes work. Each knows that their employees will model their own leadership abilities after what their leaders do and how they do it—not what they say.
These leaders come in all shapes and sizes. Some have been franchisees for 26 years. Others are just getting started. In each case there is that “something” about them that sets them apart.
They are involved. They participate. They ask great questions. They have great input. They push back on things they don’t understand, trying to better understand.
They all have horror stories of experiences along the way. All have hired the wrong people at times. All have hung on to people too long—trying to give those people a chance. All have a good sense of humor. All are passionate!
Most importantly, all are a pleasure to be with. Although I don’t work with them in their office day-to-day, all have long-term employees. It usually isn’t because they pay all those people top dollar. It is because they make the “coming to work experience” a very good one.
Think about this.
I worked for someone once who said, “Make sure you come to work the days you don’t feel good. Save the days you take off for the days you feel great and can have some fun!”
We all work. We all say the words, “I wish I won the lottery and didn’t have to work,” right? What are the odds, though, you are actually going to cash in on the $100 million ticket? The next best thing is to make sure, as a leader, you create the environment where people want to see you each day. Where people are proud to say they work for you when they see their friends and family.
Usually this has absolutely nothing to do with their wage. It has to do with everything else. Here we are almost in April. What events do you have for your team planned this summer? Company picnic … family outing at your house … a day at the lake? Bowling? Make sure you include as many family members as you can.
I had a chance to experience this with one of my wife’s franchisees at Mr. Appliance, Charlie Goff. Last year I attended his summer event where he rented a big pontoon boat that would fit 40 people and had it catered. On the second deck the kids (and adults) could jump off the side of the boat into 40 feet of water. No one wanted to end the evening.
Charlie followed that up with a Christmas party at his house where he gave away a prize for the best dressed technician. Here were guys who wore a uniform all day in three-piece suits with their wives/significant others in cocktail dresses. It was a proud evening for all.
Justin Eimers, our franchisee in Sioux Falls, S.D., who also happens to be our Franchisee of the Year, has corn-hole tournaments and other events throughout the year to bring his team together.
As I was sitting in New Orleans trying to figure out a dynamite close for our convention, it dawned on me that my franchisees needed to hear from the best of the best—not me.
Michael Eby—our franchisee in St. Louis; Mike Evans, who has four stores in Montana; and Mike Gai, who previously owned a Seattle store before selling it and moving to Waco, Texas, to become a Dwyer Group vice president, joined me on stage while I asked them questions for 45 minutes. In those 45 minutes I was reminded, once again, why these are just three of the best of the best and such great leaders.
Their leadership abilities propelled them to amazing successes.
It sure is fun watching great leaders. I sit back and just watch in awe. They all “get it” as to what it takes to be a great leader. It starts with an unstoppable passion and a drive to be the best. With those two ingredients leadership follows. Have a passionate week!