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6 Essential Truths About People

Oct. 14, 2022
Your employees are your greatest assets. They will have failings but also great successes. Help them and appreciate them as much as you can.

Business is all about the numbers, the key performance indicators, the metrics. It’s clean. It’s simple. Except, that it’s not. Business is all about the people. People are messy.

1. Business Would be Easy Without People

Business would be easy without customers or employees. It’s people who make things messy, who make unreasonable demands, who add drama. Business without people sounds awesome. It also sounds lonely. It sounds impossible. Business is all about the people.  

2. People Will Delight and Disappoint You 

One of the hardest lessons a business leader learns is that people will disappoint you. Some will not produce. Some will leave you high and dry for other opportunities, including working for competitors. Some who never would have gotten where they are without you, will become your competitors.  It feels like a betrayal.

Some customers you went over and above the call to satisfy will try to destroy you with a bad review. They will slander you in the community. Others will try to avoid paying you. They will threaten you when they agreed up front to pay you for the work you proposed.

Conversely, some employees will delight you. Employees will push themselves to extra effort because the company needs it.  Some will innovate. They will come up with better ways to do things, making you more money. 

Company success is a team effort. Do not forget your team. Do not forget to give credit to your team.

Likewise, some customers will surprise you with unexpected testimonials, in writing, online, and in video.  You will hear second hand how they have recommended you to their friends and neighbors. They will show embarrassing amounts of gratitude when you and your team simply did the job you were paid to do. 

Store up memories of the good experiences. Write them down, if necessary. Pull them out when employees or customers disappoint you.  Remember, it is never all good and never all bad. You will get your share of both, so don’t get depressed in the face of the bad. Good will follow, eventually.

3. People Will Live Up to Your Expectations

If you expect good things from people, they will try to deliver.  Most of the time, they will deliver. If you expect them to fail, they often will.  

Set positive expectations. Believe in people. Your faith in others will be fulfilled more times than not. You tend to get what you expect.  

4. Success is a Credit to Your Team 

When a company performs well, everyone in the community praises you. The manufacturers and distributors celebrate you and give you rewards and incentives. Never forget that you did not get there on your own. Lots of people contributed. Company success is a team effort.  Do not forget your team.  Do not forget to give credit to your team.

5. Failure Rests with You

When things go wrong, look in the mirror for a place to blame.  Yes, Old Joe may have screwed up royally.  Why did he screw up?  Did he have the training?  Was he the wrong guy in the wrong job?  If so, you were probably aware of it, but failed to take corrective action earlier because it was unpleasant.  Old Joe’s failure is really your failure.

Part of your role is to ensure everyone else is in the right role with the right training and the right tools so they can succeed and the company can succeed.  If there are mismatches or shortcomings, it is your responsibility to fix them.  

Sometimes people misbehave.  Is it because you are modeling the wrong behavior?  Or, are you allowing misbehavior to occur? 

6. Every Person is an Individual 

Remember, each person in your company is an individual with hopes and dreams and fears. Each has strengths and weaknesses. Each has personal baggage. Each has a home life that affects him at work, just as his work life affects him at home.  

People’s needs and wants differ. It’s up to you to uncover what you can about each individual if you want to motivate them as individuals.  

People’s needs and wants differ. It’s up to you to uncover what you can about each individual if you want to motivate them as individuals.  

One thing everyone universally wants is respect. As a leader, the respect you receive is earned over time.  It starts when you grant everyone on your team instant respect as employees, as teammates, and as individuals. 

The Service World Expo is next week.  It is not too late to drive to the Tampa Convention Center of catch a flight. This is the best opportunity of the year to improve yourself so you can improve your business. Hurry. Register at

About the Author

Matt Michel | Chief Executive Officer

Matt Michel was a co-founder and CEO of the Service Roundtable ( The Service Roundtable is an organization founded to help contractors improve their sales, marketing, operations, and profitability. The Service Nation Alliance is a part of this overall organization. Matt was inducted into the Contracting Business HVAC Hall of Fame in 2015. He is now an author and rancher.