A few years back I worked with a phenomenal contractor, Mark Paup of Golden Rule Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, in Des Moines Iowa.
Mark had grown his business into a systematic and money making company. And as I like to do with former clients, I called him up just to see how things were going.
He asked me a question, “Al, do you ever just get to sit on the beach, and it all runs without you forever?”
I replied with the answer he knew I would, and that was, “No…”
And after the briefest of pauses, I continued with, “You absolutely don’t have to be so heavily involved in the day-to-day running of the business like you were when we first started. And you are actually encouraged to take time away from the business because you deserve it based on all the hard work you’ve done with me. It’s actually good for your team for you to let them run things without you.
“That said, you’re the face of this business, and you must keep a finger on the pulse of it to keep it headed in the leadership direction we created during Leadership Power! if you’re to reach the near-term goals set and the long-term goals still ahead.
“I absolutely hate the TV show where the boss puts on a fake beard and a baseball cap and his team members don’t recognize him.
“Remember, I also work with other really large companies, and even the biggest of them have agreed that they are the leader and that a key component to being a great leader is you need to be around to lead.”
Mark replied, “I get it. So, what you’re telling me is the business is never fully done and that I need to stay involved if I want to keep up the momentum and the culture we’ve built.”
To which, I replied, “Exactly. It’s why we talked about the two boxes on the Org Chart that an owner never gets to leave, and that is Financial Manager and Marketing Manager. That’s because these two positions have the most dramatic effect on the long-term health of any company. The great news is you don’t have to do the work yourself to occupy these boxes at your company as it has grown where you can have help.
“But know that if and when I were to check in on you and the company, you’re still going to be the person I want to talk to. The reason is you, the Financial Manager, are responsible when it comes to both top-line sales and gross profit. And for making business decisions on the real-time, real-world financial numbers and reporting.
“Also, you, the Marketing Manager, are the person I’m going to go to when it comes to how we’re doing when it comes to creating the right amount of calls from the right customer at the right time.”
You should know that Mark has mastered as well as any of the best contractors that I’ve been lucky enough to have worked with. He has fully embraced the 7-Power Concepts of:
- Planning Power
- Operating Power
- Staffing Power
- Sales Power
- Sales Coaching Power
- Marketing Power
- Financial Power
One trait that I would say makes Mark so good is that he’s a great delegator. He doesn’t feel that only he can do the work or do it right. Mark is also great at setting and holding people accountable to the agreed upon high standards, but Mark has learned to let go of demanding perfection. He’s even done a great job of using disappointing results as a teaching moment with his team.
Mark has also been willing to do the things that at first were difficult for him as the leader. It was tough at first for Mark to embrace the need to get up in front of his team and speak about his vision for the company. With determination, he soon became great at it.
He also fully learned to embrace well-run meetings by following my 10 Golden Rules for Meetings. It has become a joy for me to watch Mark lead these meetings when it’s appropriate and to just be in the room and be supportive of his managers and field supervisors who run meetings.
Before I ended our call, I said, “Mark, nobody understands, and I dare say nobody loves looking at the numbers more than you. And with your work with Ellen Rohr, you now know what you need to be looking at and how often. The great news is you can sit on a beach for a week or longer and get a good snapshot of what’s going on at your company. The kicker is you still need to be present at your company to just let everyone know that you appreciate them, that you’re here to help, and to let them know you’re still keeping an eye on things.”
In summary, here are the 5 Reasons You Can’t Run Your Business from the Beach Forever:
- You’re the face of the company, and you need to be present to set the tone of why you’re in business and what your expectations are for team members to serve that goal.
- You’re the Financial Manager, and you need to check in with your team to make sure that the metrics and financial checks and balances are being followed through by always using your auditing systems.
- You’re the Marketing Manager, and you need to be meeting with your internal team and outside vendors to ensure that you’re getting the right amount of calls from the right customers at the right time.
- You’re the Leader, and you need to be in front of your team in person so you can be sharing the company vision.
- You need to lead certain ongoing meetings, and you need to attend the meetings that your managers lead to demonstrate the importance to all of these meetings so they have the impact you desire.
So, are you able to leave your business for a long weekend, and would the business run without you? Not likely unless you follow in Mark’s footsteps and set your team up for success with systems, training, and support that never ends.