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Leadership 5f3ab13d73699

How to Create a Leadership Culture

Aug. 24, 2020
Brad and Sarah Casebier develop leaders who can find answers, create their own budgets, and identify and develop new leaders within the company.

Switching from being the leader who has all the answers to creating leaders and letting them find the answers themselves was far from a natural transition for me. After running the business for 20 years, attending all the classes, solving all the issues, a part of my identity was to be the Answer Guy.

Turns out being the Answer Guy can become sort of an addiction. The last several years at Radiant, our company has grown between 30- 60% year over year. Pretty soon you find out that there is not enough Answer Guy to go around. I really began to see that I had failed at empowering my developing leaders to confidently lead.

Step One for me was to start letting go. In meetings, I was always quick to speak up and solve problems. I have found letting the team work on it themselves and
offering suggestions when I feel they are not going in the right direction has done a lot to develop our leader.

Step Two is letting them create their own budgets. For the last four years, my managers have built the revenue budget for the company. The team is responsible to show up at the annual budgeting meeting with all of their key data broken out by month of the year for seasonality considerations. Close rate, average tickets, calls per tech per day, and service agreements sold per calls ran. We then look at our historic marketing growth on a three-year trend and add in all the calls we were unable to run due to being overbooked and project what our sales would be next year if we can get it all together. Then, THEY build the plan to make it all happen. They have full ownership and understanding of the budget, and they crush it!

Step Three is identifying developing talent. All of our managers will tell you they have too much to do, and not enough time. Creating a leadership path for their teams has been a fantastic way to get the guys learning while they are still fulfilling their current roles. This helps keep employees engaged while they wait for that promotion. We invite them to attend our daily huddles. Sometimes only one day a week, just to get to know the team, and how we manage our business. We also have them begin to do some of the scorecard data entry, ridealongs, run meetings, and do other managerial type activities. This can be happening with several people in the same department, and the one who catches on the fastest is the one that will be first up for the promotion. We find that our employees' performance skyrockets during this period. They step fully into the processes, and experience the great results.

Those were a few of the practical steps we took to change our company to actively build leaders, but the more difficult work is with beliefs:

• Villainizing owners or upper management: "They always want more" or "He is such a (insert any label that undermines someone.)" Villainization gives people an out for their performance or behaviors and is never OK.

• Denial of personal accountability. "It isn't my fault/problem" or "We didn't hit the numbers because (insert the one thing that was out of their control)."

• Victim mentality.  "It is all happening to me” or "Well, I can't because they______."

These are all modes of being that we are all capable of operating in. More likely than not, the individuals on your team have a trait that is their default when they feel like they are under attack. You do, too. It is absolutely critical that you hold yourself to a high standard of not letting these creep into your communications with your teams. As an owner, or manager, it is 100% your responsibility. There are always things that are in your control. If something happened, you were a participant with 100% responsibility. Talk with your leadership team about these dysfunctional characteristics, and give them permission to hold you accountable if they see you using these. Do the same for them. At our daily huddle, if one of our teammates starts to dive into any one of these three modes of being, they are going to politely be challenged by one of their teammates to investigate their language and consider another way to report on what had happened.

More likely than not, the individuals on your team have a trait that is their default when they feel like they are under attack. You do, too. It is absolutely critical that you hold yourself to a high standard of not letting these creep into your communications with your teams.

Great leaders believe in the vision of the company, and they have their own vision of where they are in the future company. A manager that has this locked in is unstoppable. It is your job to connect all of your team members with a greater vision of themselves in the company as it grows, 2X, 4X,10X your current size. Ask them “What role will you be in?”; "How much money will you be making?"; and "What will that mean for your family?" Get your managers more excited than you are about the future, get out of their way, and buckle up. It will be an amazing ride!

Brad Casebier is president and founder of Radiant Plumbing & Air Conditioning in Austin, Texas.

About the Author

Brad Casebier | President

Brad Casebier is president and founder of Radiant Plumbing & Air Conditioning in Austin, Texas.