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Helping After Harvey and Florence

It’s been an amazing week in so many ways, but I doubt it will equal this week when many of us meet in San Antonio for Auto Glass Week.

Last week was the Dwyer Group’s 38th annual reunion, about 3,000 people were in Dallas at the Gaylord Texan. It must be the largest hotel I’ve ever stayed in. Apparently, we occupied 95 percent of its rooms. We announced that The Dwyer Group changed our name to Neighborly. We now have 22 companies that are “Neighborly” and this makes great sense!

My company, Glass Doctor, had two days together as did Mary Kay’s company, Five Star Painting. We gave yearly awards, including franchisee of the year, rookie of the year, leadership awards and others. The most touching for each of us, was when one franchisee of each company spoke about their experience with Hurricane Harvey.

Last year Harvey caused $125 billion in damage in the greater Houston area. 107 people died while fighting, and some areas even had 40 inches of rain. Harvey, along with Hurricane Wilma in 2005, are recognized as the costliest tropical cyclones on record.

I remember when Mary Kay and I were driving back from last year’s Reunion in Orlando, and were shocked when we saw the damage along I-10, almost 100 miles from Houston.

My franchisee, John, was not in a flood zone and didn’t have flood insurance. The flood waters were as high as 18” on his first floor. They lost all of their clothes and furniture on the first floor. Their house is still not back in shape and live in their second floor. There’s still a bathtub and toilet in their backyard.

When I asked John how they made it he cited a couple things.

First, he was saved twice, by his neighboring Glass Doctor franchisee who picked them up from flooding waters and took the family to his house.

We put together a “Go Fund Me” site and over 20 franchisees donated $5,000. One franchisee, who didn’t know John well, donated $2,000. As he told the story on stage John didn’t cite anyone in particular. Instead, he thanked everyone and shared how important it is for all of us to help people in similar situations.

He said at one point the only clothes he had were those donated to him. He also lost his truck, which was filled with tools he needed to stay in business. He shared with me the story of a truck that arrived from Atlanta filled with furniture needed for his main level. He also said FEMA did a great job helping.

Chris, from Mary Kay’s franchisee, received over $6,000 in donations, primarily from the Five Star Painting family. Chris shared an emotional thank you and update at the Five Star meeting, comparing the fraternity that is the franchise network to that of his military brethren.

As we get ready to head to San Antonio to network and learn how we can make more money – let’s also keep a keen eye for the people who need our help. Both those you know already and those you’ve yet to meet. Most of us are so blessed and need to bless others.

See you in San Antonio.

Passing the Mantle

It’s been a busy week in Waco, Texas. We bought another company, which brings the number of home service brands in the United States at The Dwyer Group to 15. When growth like this happens, you’ll be grateful if you’ve had programs in place to develop your people at all levels.

I was reminded of this how important this is during a conference call with one of our vendor/partners late Friday afternoon. We’ve been working on a major project since last October to help our franchisees find more technicians. We all know what that challenge looks like.

The person leading the charge on this project had been our chief operating officer. Since her focus has been on activities associated with acquiring the new company, I volunteered to take the project off of her hands. I quickly discovered we had a real expert in one of our brand vice presidents. Each week he updates every president and vice president in all brands of the progress being made. He’s working closely with the Subject Matter Experts (SME) across Dwyer Group. It’s fun to watch him grow the program.

Passing the mantle of responsibility is so important in an organization. To have that option, one must ensure there’s someone on the team preparing for the opportunity. Success happens when a leader can pass on the mantle when there’s someone ready for the challenge.

In an article last year in The Balance Careers, an H.R. publication, I found an article identifying what employees want from work. The top two are:

  • Trust: the most important secret; and
  • Employee involvement and empowerment.

As I read this I thought about being able to pass the mantle. This is difficult. One of the smartest leaders I ever worked for had a goal of always hiring people who was smarter than he was. He knew if he did this, he would grow his organization more quickly.

The whole notion of building a bench so you can pass the mantle and grow your people is clear in sports. Many of us know the Wally Pipp story. He was a great first baseman with the NY Yankees in the 20s. In fact, he led the majors in home runs in 1916 and 1917 and led the majors in RBIs and triples in 1924. Wally was a stud baseball player. In June of 1925 Wally came to the ballpark with a headache and asked the trainer for an aspirin.

The coach saw this and told him to take the day off. The coach said he was going to try this young kid at first base. His name – Lou Gehrig, and 2,130 games later he was still at first base!   The mantle was passed on to Gehrig although it is the last thing Wally Pipp wanted. It was said that Wally Pipp made a comment over a decade later, “Those were the two most expensive aspirins I ever took.”

Preparing your team members to step up when the opportunity presents itself is just smart business.

There are now more millennials in the workplace than baby boomers. Fifty percent of those millennials are already in leadership positions. Unfortunately, many aren’t ready. Remember this is the generation whose parents called their college professors because the parents didn’t like the grade. (Honest! MK and I have a good friend who is a college professor, and this happens)

The article from The Balance Careers tells us workers today are seeking “A Mentoring Culture.”  Smart leaders understand they can pass on the mantle slowly while making sure the person who will carry the mantle is ready for the challenges that leadership provides. How? By mentoring the person.

Yes, there’s another Lou Gehrig out there in your organization, but you don’t have to be Wally Pipp who has a headache. Instead, you can mentor and build leaders. We all remember who we must thank on our way to being good leaders, don’t we?

Won’t it be nice when someone points at you as the reason they’ve become a great leader?