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Leadership Lessons—Growth!

It has been a great week at the Dwyer Group. One that was immersed in leadership lessons.

On Monday it was announced that Dwyer Group acquired Five Star Painting. This ten-year-old company has franchisees throughout North America. My wife, Mary Kay, was named president of the company. I have learned many leadership lessons from her in the ten years I’ve known her, including from her time operating Valpak’s largest franchise in the history of the company when she was in Los Angeles. She’ll be a great president.

On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday we had our annual President’s Retreat—an off-site meeting on a ranch just south of Fort Worth, Texas. I love this meeting for many reasons. Fourteen Dwyer Group company presidents and leaders each provided a snapshot of their respective companies or departments that included their most successful projects for 2014, along with two top projects for 2015. At the end of each business update the leader shared a personal or professional tip. The subjects ranged anywhere from best iPhone apps to best cell phone plans for traveling internationally to favorite books, motivational sayings, values, sales strategies and a variety of other things.

I am always amazed at what the skills required to lead a service contracting businesses have in common. It doesn’t matter if it is glass, plumbing, HVAC, painting, landscape management, appliance repair, electric or restoration/cleaning services. We all learned what worked and what didn’t work last year. It is so important to have pilot programs to try new things—understanding there will be some home runs but even more strike-outs.

Most of the companies have a Vision 20/20 goal. This is a stretch goal where they want to be by the year 2020. More importantly, they have a plan on how to get there. Do you have a 2020 goal? And a plan to get there?

I’ll finish with a group share from fellow president, Mary Thompson of Mr. Rooter. She talked about four types of delegation and the corresponding level of trust that you develop with your direct reports. They are:

  • Level 1: Gather info and report back;
  • Level 2: Gather info and report back with a recommendation;
  • Level 3: Gather info, make a decision, implement it and report back to me what you did; and
  • Level 4: Gather info and make a decision; implement it and don’t report back.

The most successful leaders develop their direct reports from Level 1 to Level 4.

I encourage you to look at your direct reports and determine where your relationship with each one of them is today. Discuss how you want to get to a Level 4 by coaching them through tasks with increasing responsibility.

Also, make sure you put your 2015 plan together with your staff. It is much easier for them to buy into something that they helped develop, rather than a directive from the top.

Have a great week as a leader!

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