In early July of 2018, a much younger (but not as wise as he is currently) Matt Hudson calls my phone as I vacation with my two girls. I had just resigned from one of the largest preventative maintenance companies after 17 years. As I watch my kids tumble down a waterslide, Matt asks me if I would share my experiences with the rest of the industry by being a monthly contributor to NOLN. They say that journaling is good for you; it helps you vent and figure things out. Since I felt I had much to say—and I like to vent—I was happy to have a platform for continuing my quest to impact others.
Impact: a line from one of the greatest entrepreneurs I have had the privilege to work for. He called out a set of words to me that impacted this whole series of articles:
“It’s not about changing oil, it’s about changing people.”
He believed (and preached) that business was less about profit and processes than it was about building a team and making an impact. His mission was carried out by Pete Frey, who is a true mentor and a great friend. While Pete should have fired me many times, he used those opportunities to build me, as he did with so many others.
In my final rant for NOLN, I want to ask you just one question: What is your impact in life?
I believe those who read this magazine are looking for the edge to make their business, picking up little gems throughout the magazine to bring back to their shops. Some of you actually make it to the last page of the magazine to read my rants. FYI, I call myself the closer to justify to myself that my article is in the way back. When you are done absorbing knowledge, what are you bringing back to the table? After all, as the owner/manager you are responsible for feeding your team.
Running a business by P&L is commendable. If you master this, you will get paid very well to make other people money. While the path to profit is not easily achievable, it can be tracked well within a spreadsheet. Conversations are more about line items and people who can make those lines turn for the better. You can even find a few nuggets of gold inside this magazine that can get you moving into the black.
For most, I believe and hope you are looking to gather insight and inspiration on how to leverage people. Not to get them to grow numbers, but to actually just grow. I believe in, and have witnessed the power of empowerment in many great companies by many great leaders. It can be seen just by walking on the floor of any company, happy to help versus happy to get a check.
People want to be successful—just ask any kid what they want to be when they grow up. I actually wanted to be a garbage man at first. I wanted to ride on the back of the truck because that looked fun. I only realized riding behind that truck that it stunk. It boggles my mind how someone could look so happy in such a smelly situation. While I never followed that dream, I still believe it is the freeness that kept the smiles going on the garbageman’s face. Perhaps their quest could also be fulfilled on a motorbike.
From the moment we start trying to figure out this world, we start building our future version of ourselves and our vision of our life. It is only when we come across roadblocks do we start lessening our vision. Just as equally important, exposure to the world allows us to see paths that were not visible and allows us to alter our vision with this new knowledge. This is where you, as a leader, can make a huge impact.
Due to the nature of our business, we are fortunate to intertwine with so many walks of life who are all looking for their greatness. Most of those come to you as a stepping stone, or placeholder, fulfilling a financial responsibility just enough to cloud their intended path. The guidance of an impact seeker in us allows them to continue on their path. For a moment, they return the favor by moving the lines on the P&L. People who feel they are on a path to success will move mountains for those who help with the journey. Eventually they repay the favor with their own personal success. Most of the time, it’s because of you, not with you.
“If you love someone, set them free."
Thank you all who have taken the time over the years to listen to my rants!