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Do You Have Something to Give?

Aug. 14, 2023
Inspire, empower, succeed: changing your role from owner-operator to owner-leader.

Businesses cannot grow unless owners are able to free themselves from the business so they can work on it instead of in it.

What exactly does it mean to free yourself from the business? This is your creation. You are proud and protective of your projects, as you should be. Yet if you are playing the role of CSR, office manager, supply manager, accountant, sales rep, on-field tech, marketing guy… who is left to grow your organization? This is the role you are meant to fill.

Leadership is more than just a title; it's an art that requires constant refinement and dedication. As a leader in the home service industry, you play a pivotal role in shaping the culture of your organization, motivating your team, and guiding them toward success. Inspired by the key principles presented in my upcoming book, Something to Give, this article will delve into the best practices that extraordinary leaders adopt—not just to create a dynamic, thriving work environment, but to be a leader worth following. By mastering these key principles, you can lead your team to achieve extraordinary heights.

Core Principles

To become a leader worth following you must first start by shifting your perspective and begin to formulate new habits. I will take you through the steps of leadership, but first let’s take a look at where this all began: the Pattern for Excellence.

Over thirteen years ago, I hit rock bottom when my business failed. Sitting alone in my sister's basement, in a desperate moment of despair, I discovered the power of eight timeless principles that I believed lead to success in life:

●     Be Positive - positivity attracts people

●      Be Prepared- preparation inspires confidence

●      Listen - understanding invites connection

●      Care - empathy validates worth

●      Say "yes" - reassurance builds trust

●      Ask - asking encourages action

●      Build Value - value creates commitment

●      Be Grateful - gratitude reinforces unity

These principles became my lifeline. I want to use this Pattern for Excellence (PFE) as a launching point to guide you through an outline of personal innovations and best practices.

The Foundation

1.    Purpose

The true essence of effective leadership can be summed up as, "something to give over something to prove." This principle emphasizes the importance of giving and serving others, rather than solely focusing on proving one's worth or authority.

Leaders who embody this mindset bolster an environment of empowerment. Give your team the tools, support, and ability to trust that they can perform at their best—while you have their backs. By shifting the focus from self-centered goals to the well-being of your team, leaders can create a positive and enduring impact in their organization. They will also cultivate a culture of excellence and unity.

The Pattern for Excellence became the code of conduct for my purpose, which was to be more service-minded. What will your driving purpose be?

2.    Pattern

Developing a clear pattern that aligns with your purpose is essential. This pattern involves defining the principles that underpin your leadership habits and actions. A strong pattern serves as a foundation for your leadership journey, inspiring those who follow you to perform at their highest levels. It creates a sense of direction, empowering your team to work cohesively to achieve shared goals.

Sometimes a pattern has obstacles. Sometimes it is your pattern of behavior that holds things back. Through a process of self-reflection you can clear a path, building proactive habits that are adaptable to your ever-shifting needs. As a leader, adhering to your established pattern and making changes when it's needed will keep you on track to achieve your organization's objectives.

In Chapter 3 of Something to Give, I provide an exercise to set up your 20-hour work week by breaking the pattern of working “in” your business rather than “on” your business by delegating. Put simply, a tree without roots cannot grow. A tree needs many roots to support it into being one healthy organism. As you nourish your roots, your tree will blossom, and in turn provide shade and fruits for your labor—a cycle of success.

Now, I know I didn’t invent the concept of “active listening” or “being positive.” However, consider this: just because it is common knowledge, does not mean it is common practice.  When you dedicate yourself to the heart of these principles, you gain profound insights that elevate your leadership.

The Work

1.    Performance

A leader needs to generate emotional engagement from the performance of their own roles and through measuring the performance of their team.

Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) are measurements taken to track the success of an organization. Here are five steps that will elevate the performance of everyone in your organization and build value and loyalty through-out your customer base.

  1. Have an industry specific coaching company like Power Selling Pros holding your call center reps accountable. This will put your Comfort Advisors and technicians in the best position possible to do the work in a client’s home and set your business apart from the competition.
  2. Join your team out in the field every so often. This is more than a ride-along; you will actively support your team when you work in tandem and lead by example to create an excellent experience for the homeowner.
  3. Have your executive team members share with you who they feel are key players on the team; individuals they believe, having worked alongside them, show leadership qualities. This identifies those who are most capable and helps gain more freedom over your time.
  4. Record your daily tasks and accomplishments. This is a physical visual aid of what you do and allows organization of your time.
  5. Now it’s time to work on your business. Major indicators such as financing, service agreements, and online reviews are worth consideration as you begin to delve deeper. Business owners tend to get what they focus on; where attention goes, results will follow.

When we talk about winning the moment, we have to be able to perform when we are presently in that moment. In cultivating a mindset rooted in the Pattern for Excellence, you create a nurturing space where every individual can continue to learn and feel a sense of harmony. As a true representative of this pattern, your performance sets a compelling example for others to follow, inspiring them to adopt the same principles and values.

2.    Preparation

Leaders who are worth following are always preparing and leveling up their “game” to increase their performance to strengthen the spirits, bodies, and minds of those they’re accountable for. The essentials of preparation starts with typical day-to-day work; training, operating procedures, answering questions, providing feedback, and so on. But that is just scratching the surface.

Daily improvement must be allotted its importance in your everyday life. Being prepared means facing honesty, paying attention, building good habits, and thinking ahead. A quote from H. Jackson Brown, Jr. in The Complete Life’s Little Instruction Book® states: “The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.”

3.    Persistence

At age 19, I had an opportunity to partake in a mission trip in Brazil. I did my best to learn Portuguese to communicate with locals and prepare for the trip. Yet upon arrivaI, could have sworn I had learned the wrong language. I understood nothing. As a people-person eager to communicate, I was plunged into a state of panic. There was a light at the end of the tunnel (though I didn’t know it yet).

During this mission trip, I was given a challenge to memorize several [long] lessons in Portuguese. No easy task, but the challenge gave me purpose. And with purpose came persistence. I wanted to succeed. Perseverance left no room for self-pity or self-doubt to contaminate my thoughts. By the end of the challenge, I was one of only three individuals to complete it.

By leading with optimism, you are laying the groundwork for principles like gratitude, positivity, and empathy. This drives persistence. Something we commonly see in employees is the feeling of being “overworked and underpaid.” When you persist, you commit to a goal. Your goal will be achieved through dedication to the people around you. If the individuals in your office feel like they matter, they too will be persistent in achieving more with you at their side.

4.    Patience

Great things rarely happen overnight. We as people are often impatient; so much so that we lose the momentum to carry us to the end of a project. In fact, sometimes it doesn’t even make it to the “project” stage and remains an idea, before dwindling out. We give up before we get there.

Here’s some irony for you: it takes time to learn patience. However, if you have the patience to do the work the Pattern for Excellence requires—and the patience with your people as they learn it, too—it will bring you more fulfilling and more lasting results.

To reach a point of sustained momentum won’t be easy. Hard work will require compromise and sacrifice. You have the capacity to weigh the pros and cons in your mind; if the sacrifice is worth it, you will choose to pay the price—especially if you want something badly enough. Be patient with the process and patient in your development to receive a greater reward.

Tying it Together

Money and time offer stability—but they do not buy happiness. Happiness comes with service to others and service to self. Find a place for the Pattern for Excellence in your business; what does that future look like? What are you excited about as you lead yourself and your team to new heights? Freeing yourself from the unnecessary to do what is necessary is a key to victory.

Being an exceptional leader in the home service industry requires a combination of vision, emotional intelligence, communication, empowerment, and adaptability. Your service mindedness can ignite the spark that propels a company. I look forward to how you embrace these practices to shape your path and inspire your team. Remember that leadership is an ongoing journey of learning and self-improvement, and your commitment to the Pattern for Excellence will create a lasting impact on everything you do.

Brigham Dickinson is president of Power Selling Pros and founder of the Power Certification Program, a call-handling training program that holds teams accountable to booking calls and creating Wow! experiences over the phone. The program guarantees that contractor call-handling teams will book at least 85 percent of their calls and wow more customers.

About the Author

Brigham Dickinson | President

Brigham Dickinson is president and founder of Power Selling Pros, a coaching and training firm dedicated to teaching call handling teams to wow more customers. Brigham started Power Selling Pros when he saw that call handlers needed assistance consistently convert calls to bookings. As a result, Brigham answered the need by creating the Pattern for Excellence, a sequence of principles that guides call handlers through all stages of a call, from greeting to closure. In 2009, Power Selling Pros trained six call handlers — now they’re up to 450, from more than 100 companies around the globe. 

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