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Having and Maintaining a Good Reputation

Who are you? Better yet, how are you? Leaders don’t get fooled by their own press releases or resumes.

We’ve been interviewing people who would like work with our franchisees. It’s a difficult position because people who do this job eventually need to become industry professionals, babysitters, marriage counselors, and a dozen other things. (Sound familiar?) My least favorite part of this process is looking at resumes.

Why? I can sum it up by simply saying, “Lies, lies, lies.”

I’m confident that one of these days I’ll read a paragraph in a resume that reads, “Born in a manger. Started walking on water at age 10 and eventually turned water into wine.”

Have you ever hired a technician who said he can change any windshield – from a Peterbilt to a Ferrari? Then, on his first job, you give him a 2001 Impala and he can’t get it right! Yeah. Same guy worked for one of my franchisees last year.

I started this by asking about you, though. Not only who you are but how you are.

But this time I don’t want to find this out from you. I want to find it out from your employees, former employees, next door neighbor and spouse/significant other. I want them to tell me about you.

John Wooden, the legendary basketball coach at UCLA said, “The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.” I’ll take this one step further and add, “…as well as how he treats his employees, his customers and his family when no one is watching.”

To me this best defines who the person is as well as how that person is.

What would your technicians say about you? What about your office people? We all need to remember employees quit well before they leave a company. I’m sure we’ve all been in that situation before. We quit. We knew we were leaving. Nothing would make us stay except for one thing – we didn’t have another job. I’m sure you’ve had many who have “quit and stayed.”

We all know technicians are at a premium. I used to believe if someone quit me, I would never hire them back. Fortunately as MK would say, I got over my bad self. I learned that if I took someone back I had a good supporter for others who were thinking of leaving. That returning person could explain the grass isn’t always greater on the other side.

They could come back based on one thing, “how” they left. Did they give sufficient notice? Did they leave for a better opportunity? Did they steal any customers when they left? How did their co-workers feel about them?

If they want to come back, that’s usually a tribute to you as a leader as well as a person.

Finally, think about what people see when they see you interacting with your family. Do they see love and kindness?

Being part of a team is a great feeling. It’s even more fun when you have total respect for the person you work with as a person, as well as a leader. This is what a reputation is all about.

Are Leaders Born?

I love thinking/talking about leadership. Great example from this week; it is Wednesday night and I’m in Portland, Maine, with a few of our franchisees and my vice president, Brad Voreis. After dinner, we head back to the hotel for some late night discussions (is that what they call it?) before we head out early Thursday morning. In the room are Matt Kelly from Cleveland, Bryan Yarborough from Tampa, Allan Becker from Memphis, Brad and I.

I asked the question, “When were you first in a leadership position?”

It is my belief that anyone who is willing to put it all on the line to become an entrepreneur, as these gents are, must be leaders. And, being curious, I wanted to better understand if leaders are born, created or a hybrid of the two.

Members of this informal focus group had all answered the leadership call at a young age. All four were athletes and learned leadership on the field. Bryan said he is a quiet leader who showed it on the football field. Matt was his team leader and subsequently appointed to the Naval Academy. Allan and Brad were team captains.

When did you know you were a leader?

I believe that if you are reading this blog you aren’t doing so for your health or because you have nothing else to read this week. I believe that you are very interested in your industry and are reading glassBYTEs.com because you are an industry leader – or striving to be one.

As you seek leaders in your organization, what are you doing to make sure that the people you are choosing/appointing have the capacity to do so? Are you asking candidates to tell you about their history as leaders? Or even their desire to be a leader? Case in point: on Wednesday night I heard the story about one person who promoted someone in their organization … in one week it was determined the person couldn’t handle the promotion and now couldn’t/wouldn’t take the step back to the previous position. In short, a person was promoted who shouldn’t have been and everyone lost because the leader chose the wrong person to be promoted.

I can say this because I’ve done this in my past. I’ve promoted people because it was “easy” versus that it was “right.” I’ve done it out of weakness to make my job easier instead of making the tough decision and find the “right” person. Shame on me. Have you ever done the same thing in your past? How did that work out? Better for you than for me?

As you look at making your next promotion, think about this blog. If someone has been a leader in the past—regardless if it might have been in orchestra, drama, sports or junior achievement—it might give you a glimpse of what they can do in the future for you!

Back to the question; are leaders born, created or a hybrid of both? I’m still not sure but I promise I’ll keep looking for the answer and share it when I discover it!