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Leadership Lessons – Auto Glass Week Memories

San Antonio is a great place for Auto Glass Week. Many great restaurants, abundant hotels and the incomparable River Walk. How does it get better?

As I looked at the preliminary agenda I saw much that I knew I needed to attend. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get to everything I “starred” in my program. This means: I planned poorly and didn’t coordinate meetings with what I really wanted to attend. I know better. I preach this to my franchisees for Glass Doctor events. I tell them to look at the agenda and “star” the events they really want and need to attend.

I’ll take this space, though, to share a couple of seminars that I did attend that made a huge impact on me. What I’ve learned is that we are all motivated/inspired by different people. What I may think is fabulous may be something that doesn’t inspire you whatsoever.  This is what makes us all unique.

I loved the panel with David Leach, chief operating officer of Don’s Mobile Glass, and Troy Mason, founder and owner of TechnaGlass. They both reminded me of Dorothy discovering who the wizard really was when she looked behind the curtain. Both of them showed what their businesses “behind the curtain.” That takes leadership. And, it really takes guts.

They didn’t take attendance and ask anyone who was a competitor in their respective markets to leave the room. They both showed us their secret sauce. Every ingredient of the secret sauce.

Perhaps they’ve learned what I’ve learned as I have gotten older: successful business owners can reveal their secret sauce to their local competition and not worry about it. Why? Most people won’t do what successful people do. I’ve seen it over and over again.

The other speaker that grabbed my attention was Kelly McDonald. Her “Crafting a Customer Experience foror People Not Like You” was magic. Too bad it was the first thing on Friday morning. Those who attended gained more value in that 90-minute session than the cost of their registration. That is, if they use what they learned from Kelly.

Several things really grabbed me but the one that really hit home was when she talked about perspective. She asked how people would describe how Kennedy died. Boomers would say, “He was shot in Dallas,” Gen X would say, “His plane crashed just off Martha’s Vineyard.”  Gen Y might say, “Who’s Kennedy?”

Each would be right from their perspective. She asked us to describe who “Ron Howard” is. Mary Kay and I think of Opie, my kids might think of Richie Cunningham and my grandkids would say he is the movie director.

Each one would be correct – again based on their perspective.

Finally, I want to recognize one of the leaders there. I met Paul Heinauer as he walked back from church services where he prayed for his employees in harm’s way with the oncoming hurricane. Paul told me about Desmonde Ellington, one of his technicians who was with him in San Antonio. He told me Desmonde’s mom was buried last Wednesday – just before the start of the competition. He knew she would have wanted him to compete.

Desmonde competed and advanced to the finals. On Friday night he was named one of the winners. Congratulations and sincere condolences to Desmonde Ellington of GlassPro Inc. in Mount Pleasant, S.C. I know Paul Heinauer is very proud of you.

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