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Al’s column: Creating a culture of winners

April 15/22, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 23

By Irene Ross

 

Motivated employees are not just good to have; they are good for business. A showroom work environment is even more important, because those employees create the consumer’s first impression of your company.

This is particularly critical for people who operate flooring stores. After all, flooring can be a big investment, and motivated salespeople can make all the difference. “That means you’ll want your showroom employees to be enthusiastic, motivated, knowledgeable and well trained,” said Sean O’Rourke, director of merchandising, Art Van Furniture, with several stores in Chicago and Michigan.

Why is employee morale so important? Research shows just one bad experience can change the mind of someone planning to make a purchase. The firm Gladly recently surveyed 1,000 consumers, of which 92% said they would change their mind about buying after three or four bad encounters. However, 26% said they would also consider stopping after just one unpleasant visit.

“You can have a lot of leads and potential customers, but it doesn’t mean a thing if your employees are unmotivated, uninterested and untrained,” said Lyle Sapp, general manager of the retail division of Carpets N More, Las Vegas. “If they only come into work for the paycheck, they might make a sale or two but they won’t get referrals, and those are the lifeblood of any business.”

Ensuring employees remain motivated is a top priority for dealers such as Jeff Perez, general manager, TF Andrew, with showrooms in New Rochelle and Elmsford, N.Y. That’s why he makes it part of the hiring and ongoing training process. “We’ve found it easier for an employee to align with our company goals if we’re very clear about them from the beginning,” he said. “It also works in their favor because we can spot opportunities in the company for them.”

Employee motivation isn’t just about working hard or completing assignments. It comes from multiple sources, including the ability to make more money, the possibility of promotion, the desire to meet personal/professional goals or just plain satisfaction from the work. Sometimes a group outing, a bonus or even a simple “thank you” will do the trick.

Following are key strategies to keep in mind:

Maintain transparency.“It’s important for employees to know about the company,” Perez said. “Although the sales team sees figures every month, we also show them to the entire staff on a quarterly basis. We want people to know they are working for a financially sound business.”

Focus on education. Chris Quattlebaum, a manager at Bradenton, Fla.-based Manasota Flooring, believes an emphasis on training helps develop and retain employees. It also conveys confidence to the consumer. “Our employees are charged with gaining PK,” he said. “We qualify them on carpeting so they know all the different fibers and styles.”

Quattlebaum isn’t alone. Contract Furnishings Mart, with stores in Portland and Seattle, conducts weekly training sessions and PK classes to improve RSA morale. “Once or twice a year we also send our reps to facilities to learn how a product is made,” said Garrett Anderson, director of marketing. “It’s not just about PK; it solidifies relationships between our sources and employees.”

Make it fun. At Contract Furnishings Mart, managers try to foster a fun workplace to keep employees happy. “We are a family-owned business and we promote that type of environment,” Anderson said. “Balance is important. We don’t want our employees to think about work 24/7 or stay up all night sending emails.

 

Irene Ross is a marketing and public relations specialist/copywriter at IFR Communications. She writes frequently on issues impacting floor covering retailers.

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Marketing mastery: How to prioritize your marketing

April 1/8, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 22

By Jim Augustus Armstrong

 

During a coaching call, a dealer from Arizona told me he wanted to market his business. The only issue was he didn’t know where to start.

“What are you currently doing?” I asked.

“Besides our website, we post pretty regularly on social media, we buy leads from Home Advisor and we spend about $15,000 a year on radio,” he replied.

I asked how many sales his radio ads generated last month, but he had no concrete answer. I also discovered the dealer doesn’t routinely ask all of his prospects how they heard about his business.

I’ve had many conversations very similar to this one with hundreds of dealers from all over the U.S. and Canada, and there’s a lot you can learn from them. First, this dealer isn’t tracking his marketing, so he has no idea what’s working and what isn’t. Marketing without tracking is even more wasteful than heaping your money into a big pile, pouring gasoline on it and setting it ablaze. Why more wasteful? Because you can roast marshmallows over bonfires made of money, but you can’t with money wasted on lousy advertising.

Tracking visitors to your website, your AdWords campaign and how many people are engaging with your social media is all important and useful. However, you need to know what’s driving people to actually visit or call you. Every person who phones or walks through your door should be asked, “How did you hear about us?” Record the answers. After 90 days you’ll get a fairly clear picture of what’s driving people to your business and where you should continue to invest your marketing dollars.

The second thing to notice is this dealer has no real plan for his marketing. He heard he should be doing social media, so he does social media. A radio ad salesman offered him special pricing for a 12-month contract, so he bought radio ads. He’d get far more bang for his buck if he prioritized using the “Three Tiers of Marketing.”

Tier one: Warm market

  • Past customer marketing (monthly newsletter, etc.)
  • Referral program to encourage and incentivize referrals from customers
  • Referral relationships with realtors, designers, remodelers, etc.
  • Sales system
  • Website
  • Online reviews

Tier two: Marketing to cold prospects

  • Social media
  • AdWords (pay-per-click)
  • (SEO) Search Engine Optimization
  • Online lead capture
  • Print ads
  • Direct mail to targeted list

Tier three: Broadcast advertising

  • Billboards
  • Radio
  • Television

Implement all the tier one strategies first. Once these are fully up and running, then implement tier two. (Or, if you have the marketing budget for it, implement tier one and two simultaneously.) Implement tier three only when you’ve thoroughly implemented everything you possibly can in tier one and two. Use discretionary marketing dollars for tier three.

Almost all dealers invest heavily in tiers two and three and virtually ignore tier one. Reviews are in tier one because everyone is looking at your online rating, including your past customers and their referrals. Studies show that 88% of consumers now trust reviews as much as a referral from a friend. If you have no reviews or a low rating, you risk losing these once-loyal customers to competitors with a better online reputation.

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Installments: Vinyl sheet makes commercial comeback

April 1/8, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 22

By Jerry Lee

 

Commercial-grade vinyl sheet goods were once one of the most popular commercial flooring options on the market. These goods have been regarded for decades as functional, durable, decorative and relatively easy for contractors to install. These flooring products have been used in a wide variety of commercial applications in which the color, pattern and size could be customized to fit specific project needs.

However, over the past 10 years, commercial-grade vinyl sheet goods have lost some market share due to the introduction and rising popularity of vinyl composition tile (VCT), luxury vinyl tile (LVT) and luxury vinyl planks (LVP). These new flooring options offer a wider range of sizes, colors and patterns as well as ease of installation for the end consumer. While these products certainly have many of the same benefits as vinyl sheet goods, it is unclear if they possess the durability needed in high-traffic and demanding areas. For those applications, vinyl sheet goods are still the best choice for consumers.

There is little question surrounding the durability of commercial-grade vinyl sheet goods. These products have been used in the most demanding environments, including commercial kitchens in restaurants, schools, stadiums, elder care facilities, walk-in coolers and freezers, animal and pet care facilities and even in garages and oil change areas. And the number of applications in which vinyl sheet goods are used continues to grow as consumers look for flooring with improved durability and longevity but minimal maintenance. What some consumers fail to realize are the additional benefits of choosing commercial-grade vinyl sheet goods for their facility.

When considering a new commercial floor, many consumers today are unaware that there is a new standard of commercial-grade vinyl sheet goods. There are many manufacturers in the United States that have made a number of improvements to these products and thereby increased the benefits of installing them. Some of these added benefits include: comfort underfoot (eliminating the need for anti-fatigue mats), noise reduction and a new rolled cove base accessory product.

In addition to the above benefits, some manufacturers have made significant advancements in the installation process of vinyl sheets goods, leading to increased efficiency and decreased required installation time. One of these advancements is the use of a liquid welding system in place of traditional heat welding. This system can decrease installation time by up to 70% and reduce the opportunity for installer error that can often occur when using heat welds.

These new advancements, combined with the durability of commercial-grade vinyl sheet goods, are why these products are slowly gaining back part of the market that was lost to VCT, LVT and vinyl planks. As consumers become more aware of these improvements and their current commercial flooring begins to show wear due to demanding environments, commercial-grade vinyl sheet goods will emerge once again as the prominent choice in commercial flooring.

 

Jerry Lee is national sales manager at Oscoda Plastics: Protect-All and Proflex. In this position, he has developed various teams in regional sales, technical sales and business development, and created a national distribution model for Protect-All, which has received two patents under his name.

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Lessons learned: Building a better staff can pay big dividends

April 1/8, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 22

By Tom Jennings

 

Due to both growth and turnover, many retailers are finding the need to add new hires to blend into their staffs. My experience tells me that too many managers treat new staff members as a necessary evil. When a rookie first walks in the door, too often all they see is the amount of time it will take to get them “up to speed.”

Management too often will pass these duties to another more senior salesperson. The conversation usually goes something like: “Just shadow Susie for a few days. She’s been in the business for over 20 years and has seen it all.”

There are several problems with this scenario. First of all, does Susie even welcome the new staff member addition? Many times competitive sales staff can view new faces as somewhat of a threat. Often Susie is a commissioned salesperson who understandably has her own agenda. How long do you think it will take for Susie to begin to influence the new hire with her prejudices? Does Susie have any experience in properly training, or was she largely self-taught when she began? Then, predictably, management will complain when this recent hire begins to flounder. They will question the rookie’s efforts. Perhaps they will place blame on Susie, who was told to do a task she was likely neither properly prepared for nor well suited to do.

Then comes staff turnover. Next comes the manager com- plaining that you can’t find good people to hire today. Then the process is repeated.

Too often, the primary initial emphasis of training is placed upon product knowledge. When responsibility for training new staff members is delegated to a fellow salesperson, or a vendor’s field sales representative, you can almost be certain of this approach. While expertise in this area is required, it is secondary. The most important first task for management is making sure the new employee understands the organization and his or her role within it. He or she must know the firm’s mission and develop a belief in it. It is imperative the new hire be able to connect what he or she does with why it is done.

Remember that we all had a first day on the job—just as we had a first baseball game or piano lesson when we were young. Many of us had a teacher or a coach who believed in us and encouraged us to practice and improve. If you didn’t, you probably soon lost interest and gave up. The same is true when building sales knowledge and ability.

Successful sales trainees must have a mentor who monitors their progress, offers encouragement and celebrates their victories as their careers grow—not a peer who they may ultimately be measured against. All too often, though, novice salespeople are shoved into the deep end of the pool and told to swim. It is simply unfair to expect people to self-motivate and self-train in any industry.

As Mary Kay Cosmetics founder Mary Kay Ash famously stated: “Praise people to success.” She realized she was selling her associates on the concepts of beauty and self-confidence. Once her staff believed in their mission, the cosmetics sales would follow. Selling beautiful flooring is no different. With each new associate come fresh ideas and a new avenue of growth. Having the opportunity to build a better staff is exciting—don’t waste the opportunity.

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Al’s column: How exactly does working capital work?

April 1/8, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 22

By Roman Basi

 

Working capital is an important concept for every business to understand. At its heart, working capital is defined as the amount of a company’s current assets minus the amount of its current liabilities. More simply, it’s a company’s available capital for daily operations at any given point in time. Thus, working capital provides a measurement to determine a company’s operational efficiency and short-term financial health.

At the basis of working capital is the calculation, which is generally the difference between the current assets
and the current liabilities. Current
assets can be converted into cash
within one year or
less. This would
include assets such as cash equivalents, marketable securities, accounts receivable, inventory and prepaid expenses.

Meanwhile, current liabilities include short-term debt such as accounts payables, accrued liabilities and other similar obligations. Subtracting the current assets by the current liabilities will provide the working capital figure. This figure is “positive” when there is an excess of current assets compared to current liabilities. However, a working capital calculation not only plays a role as a financial measuring tool, but it can also figure in merger and acquisition transactions.

While the working capital calculation is fairly straightforward in most applications, it can be vastly different in cases involving mergers and acquisitions, where the formula will be dictated by the asset or stock purchase agreements. Some transactions will involve cash or debt in the working capital calculation, while others may exclude certain assets. Some transactions may exclude certain liabilities, thus creating an impact on the seller that can vary on a wide spectrum. When the working capital determination is made, a target will be set and the operations of the selling company prior to the target date can have a drastic impact on the closing funds.

For example, the working capital language of an asset purchase agreement may state, “a purchase price of $5,000,000minus the amount by which the working capital as of the closing date varies from the six-month trailing average of the working capital.” The agreement will then go on to describe the calculation methodology of the working capital. Therefore, a working capital target is set by a 12-month average trailing the transaction’s closing date. If the working capital at closing exceeds the average monthly working capital balance for the 12 months prior to closing, the seller generally walks away with more funds at closing.

However, if the working capital at closing is less than the average monthly working capital balance for the six months prior to closing, then the purchase price may be reduced by the amount equal to the difference of the 12-month working capital average.

The purpose of such clauses in asset purchase agreements is to ensure the buyer and seller are both getting their due pricing. Imagine buying a company that initially shows solid working capital, but upon looking at the averages over time it shows a steep decline. This may indicate you are buying a company that is hemorrhaging money. Requiring an adjustment of the purchase price based on average working capital ensures both parties are protected in the transaction.

Working capital is a key component to analyzing the efficiency of a company. The general rule of thumb is a company with positive capital is typically in good shape for expansion. However, it is important to remember that some businesses operate with a negative working capital due to the nature of their business.

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Al’s Column: Change is right in front of you

March 18/25, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 21

By Lisbeth Calandrino

 

 

Have you ever looked in the rear-view mirror of your life? As I move through life, I realize I have less time in my future and more in my past. Yes, it’s scary, but I’m realizing I shouldn’t waste my time on meaningless things. Whether I clean up my desk or not today really doesn’t matter. I need to focus on the change necessary in my life to continue moving forward.

I recently spoke at the Starnet meeting in Las Vegas. The two-day conference included presentations from their vendor partners. In addition to vendors showing their products, they talked about how they could help by supplying blogs and video content. The group had such energy and curiosity about building their businesses.

Eric Boender, vice president of business development for Starnet, kept the group on track and provided useful information. I was impressed with the group’s positivity and time spent brainstorming and sharing ideas on how to acquire more business. He suggested members work closely with each other and their vendor partners. He also suggested a couple of motivational books. I came back psyched.

How often do you measure your success with past accomplishments? That’s when we start talking about the “good old days” and “how we used to do it.” No, change is not behind; knowing we are capable of success can move us to change. If you could do it when times were tough, you can do it now.

We get inspired by seminars and often come away with good feelings. The environment itself can be inspiring. Motivation is often controlled by the environment, who you hang out with and the books you read. The more we surround ourselves with people who are on our same track the better. The key is to figure out how to take those positive bursts of motivation and keep them going. To keep this momentum, we must design an environment that sparks self-motivation and gives us energy from others. Research says it takes 66 days to form a habit. When something is a habit we don’t have to think about when we do it—we just do.

I believe we spend too much time thinking about what might happen. What’s the absolute worst that could happen with anything you try? Yes, it might not work but history is filled with people who failed their way to success.

If change is what you want, define it and determine how it fits into your core values. If it’s more business, ask yourself, “What am I willing to do to make it happen?” What about this goal will enhance my life? If being successful is on your radar, you will have to see life on a continuum and keep changing.

It’s easy to get caught up in negativity, especially if you surround yourself with people who are too frightened to make changes. That’s why you need a support network, a tribe of like-minded individuals who will support your effort and help move you along the way. Take baby steps and celebrate the daily wins. I know, it’s slow and hard. Try to imagine the outcome and not make the process stressful.

Change can happen a little bit at a time. If you think of completing the entire task at once you will get overwhelmed. Think about life as a game and a big puzzle. As the pieces connect, the task gets easier.

 

Lisbeth Calandrino has been promoting retail strategies for the last 20 years. To have her speak at your business, or to schedule a consultation at your store, contact her via email at lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

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City of opportunities: Living and working in NYC

This column was written and sponsored by Outpost Club.

 

New York City is known as one of the greatest cultural hubs in America. Every year the city sees millions of young graduates and professionals move to the city with hopes of fulfilling an exciting career journey. Studies indicate that 25% of the city’s labor force is from outside of the United States. Following are a few things you need to know when considering moving to NYC for work.

Traveling. People who live in NYC spend nearly seven hours per week on travelling to and from work. Because of this, New Yorkers have the longest working week in America, which is almost 49 hours per week. Many travellers commute to Manhattan from the boroughs for work and this means the population doubles on a daily basis from 1.6 million to 3.1 million. People travel via the subway—which is the most common method of transportation—as well as by bus, train, ferry and kayak.

Average wage. A full-time worker in NYC earns about 16% more than the average full-time workers in other parts of America. Statistics show that Manhattan has a weekly average wage of $2,954.

Rent. Rent in NYC can be very expensive. The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in NYC is $2,662 per month. However, you do have other options like co-living. You will find many apartments to share on the Outpost Club website. These apartments offer you the opportunity to live in a fully furnished apartment, with many great amenities (Wi-Fi, gymnasium, pool, etc.), at discounted prices. It also gives you the opportunity to meet new people and make lasting friendships.

Cost of living. It is not easy to live in NYC but it is also not impossible especially if you live on a budget. There are many ways you can save money and make your stay in the city more affordable. One of these is opting to eat at home rather than buying food daily.

Tips for expats. The following are a few tips from people who have moved to NYC and thrived in the city:

  1. Take the subway. Rather than buying a car, taking the subway is the most economical and saves you time that you would ordinarily spend in traffic.
  2. Get to know the city. There is no better way than exploring what the city has to offer. This way you can acquaint yourself with regular specials and be more knowledgeable of how you can save money on necessities.
  3. Invest in a good pair of shoes. This is important as you might find yourself walking a lot, especially in your first few weeks in the city.
  4. You should try to build up social contacts before moving. This will ensure that you have contacts in the city when you get there. You can reach out to them once you are in the city and they can help you adjust and settle in.

Embrace the change that NYC offers and be sure to take advice from people who have successfully managed to live and work in NYC from other parts of the world.

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Guest column: Inadequate software can ruin your flooring business

March 4/11, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 20

By Kelly Oechslin

 

In today’s fast-paced business environment, data is increasingly complex and harder to manage. Without integration geared to the way you do business, no amount of staff meetings, afternoon appointments with the CPA or physical inventory counts will tell you the nitty gritty details of exactly what is going on in your business, and certainly not in a timely fashion.

Data is arriving from more sources, in greater quantity and more quickly than ever before. This makes speed incredibly important to flooring firms managing and using their data. That’s why a flooring-specific, fully integrated software system is needed. A lack of the right technology will put you well behind the competition, not to mention keep you spinning your wheels just getting through day-to-day business operations.

Selecting generic software will create immediate and long-term issues because it is not capable of providing the type of data needed to support the needs of flooring companies. No matter how easy to use a particular software is or claims to be, it must be relevant to operations and automate every aspect of your business. Alternately, investing a few hundred thousand dollars trying to retrofit a system to the way a flooring business works is a waste of time, money and resources, and ultimately unnecessary with the choices on the market today—RollMaster Software being chief among them.

“I’m going on 20 years with RollMaster,” said Tina Dias, owner, Advanced Flooring, Rancho Cordova, Calif. “I don’t see how I could really know my business or trust the accuracy of reports without RollMaster.”

Another costly mistake: Not integrating your accounting with the rest of your business. This leaves you with an incomplete picture of your overall operations. You’ll also have less control of your critical processes, such as inventory valuation, transfers between branches, purchasing and receiving, cost analysis, sales commissions and more. Why not have all that information at your fingertips?

Dean Culp, owner, Carpet Barn, Spokane, Wash., currently uses industry-specific software. “We’ve had a lot of success over the last five years with RollMaster. We’ve increased sales and we’ve grown our business. A good portion of that has to do with RollMaster making us more flexible in the way we write and account for business.”

A third consideration is how a flooring software company carries out implementation of the software. Employee training is essential, and on-site training produces the best “go-live” results, not to mention helping to effectively transition to post-implementation support.

Off-site training is not the best way to start using a new system, as it limits discussion of your specific business processes. You benefit most when your implementation is effective and the software vendor becomes a partner.

Lastly, the better flooring software vendors are continuously developing new and better ways for you to run your business. Your software should utilize Application Program Interface (API) endpoints that are designed to create analytics for you to quickly analyze real-time data and integrate your data with other marketing and business development apps. These tools and integrations must continually evolve so owners and managers can detect patterns, automate decisions and generate job-related communications.

If you truly wish to run your business, and not let it run you, make the time to research the best flooring software fit for you.

 

Kelly Oechslin, a graduate of the University of Georgia with a degree in marketing, has spent her entire professional career in the flooring industry. Her early employers were Floor Coverings International and Carpax Associates; however, the majority of her efforts and achievements in the industry have been with RollMaster Software.

 

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Marketing mastery: Using technology to make life easier

March 4/11, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 20

By Jim Augustus Armstrong

 

When I first meet my clients, it’s not uncommon for them to tell me they’ve been putting in 50-70 hours per week. I’ve even encountered a few tortured souls whose average weekly hours on the job were north of 90.

As a flooring dealer you work very hard. You provide employment. You help people make their homes beautiful and inviting. You also shoulder the risk that goes with being an entrepreneur. You deserve to have an awesome life in flooring—to make a lot of money and have a business that’s rewarding.

However, if you want to have a great life in flooring, you must transition your business from being owner-dependent to system-dependent.

While I was at TISE earlier this year, I interviewed the leaders of two major flooring software companies—QFloors and RFMS—about technology’s role in helping dealers transition to being system-dependent.

“There’s a lot of confusion about the types of flooring-specific software,” said Chad Ogden, president, QFloors. “It’s important for dealers to understand there are four basic categories: estimation, room virtualization, CRM and ERP.”

Estimation software enables you to create job quotes quickly and efficiently, even right in the customer’s home (see page 24 in this issue). Room virtualization allows customers to see what different flooring types will look like in their home. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tracks the customer as they move through your sales and marketing funnel. Some CRMs also provide email and other marketing capabilities.

ERP, another popular acronym, stands for Enterprise Resource Planning. “It’s the software that does the heavy lifting of helping to systemize the daily operations of your business, such as calendaring, inventory, accounting, etc.,” Ogden said.

Knowing your numbers is also important if you want to grow your business efficiently. After all, that which gets measured gets improved. “It’s vital that your software be able to give you key performance indicators any time you need them,” said Fred Kotynski, chief information officer for RFMS. “For example, if your goal for the current year is to have overall margins of 40% or more, you need to be able to check regularly that you’re hitting that benchmark, break it down by salesperson and do it with a single click. Quickbooks and other generic accounting software can’t do that efficiently.”

It’s critical you take the time to educate yourself on the different software systems available. “Dealers shouldn’t necessarily rush into a buying decision when looking at software,” said Miranda Golden, administrative director, RFMS. “My advice is to explore the software and take the time to really understand what you’re buying.”

Finally, realize that software by itself will not make your business system-dependent. Software is not the system; software makes the system you already have in place—or the one you want to put in place—run more efficiently. For example, every flooring company needs a calendaring system. As part of that system you need to have a written procedure for scheduling appointments, communicating appointments to your staff, etc. This is true whether your calendar is done on paper or as part of your flooring software. The only difference is the software makes your system run more efficiently.

 

Jim Armstrong is the founder and president of Flooring Success Systems, a company that provides digital and offline marketing services as well as coaching to help flooring dealers make more money, work fewer hours and get their lives back. Visit flooringsuccesssystems.com for more information.

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Al’s column: How to pick your next leader

March 4/11, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 20

By Keith Martino

 

Ron is one of the most polite individuals you’ll ever encounter. You’ll never feel intimidated by Ron’s presence. He answers your questions as smoothly and predictably as the captain of a cruise ship. Within minutes of meeting Ron, you’ll know why he was recently promoted within a large French holding company.

Ron is pragmatically aggressive. He picks his battles carefully and is only aggressive in business endeavors when he sees a clear course to the winner’s cup. Then, and only then, does he press full throttle ahead. Ron prides himself in preparation so, just in case, there’s always an adequate stash of life vests onboard.

But wait—before you rush out and hire Ron to be the captain of your ship, don’t forget to consider Rob. He may be just what you need.

Rob’s persona is larger-than-life. He works fast and loves trading sports cars. In a crowd of construction CEOs, he can come across as a big, lovable teddy bear. However, when a casual conversation with Rob turns toward business strategy, Rob will magically morph into a hungry grizzly. He’ll show you how to eat your competition for lunch.

Should your next leader be someone who proceeds circumspectively like Ron? Or are you looking for someone who is a natural born hunter like Rob? Hint: If you need Rob but hire Ron, you’ll likely be seriously disappointed. Your patience will be exhausted. On the other hand, hire Rob and you’d better hold on to your hat.

Rob will enthusiastically and methodically pass every other car on the track. He’ll interject an energy you didn’t know was possible into every employee who is able to hang on for the ride. At the end of the day, Rob will have created new business opportunities you never thought possible.

Sure, Rob will occasionally break something, but when he puts your stock car back together it will run so much faster than before that you will be among the first to forgive him. Rob takes aggressive chances and then makes smart decisions based on the way the market appears to evolve. His ability to plan and execute simultaneously is uncanny. He shifts gears without flinching and leans into the turns. Ron, on the other hand, intuitively reaches for the caution flag.

Although their names sound similar, their styles are vastly different on a practical level. They each get the desired results when matched with the appropriate assignment. That’s why absolute clarity about which style of leader your business will need is so crucial.

Here are a few questions to ponder that may help you consider various leadership styles:

  1. What are you trying to accomplish with your company?
  2. How important is creativity/innovation in your business?
  3. Which is more important to you: growth, stability or something else?
  4. Do your key processes need incremental improvement or a complete overhaul?
  5. How much risk are you willing to accept to achieve your top objectives?

Another thing to consider when changing/hiring leaders is knowing your corporate culture. You want your corporate values to be firmly entrenched when you pass the torch.

Bottom line: Consider not only the qualities of the candidates you’re interviewing and/or screening, but also look at the needs of your business, survey the current climate and anticipate changes that might impact you in the future. In short, don’t hire Rob if who you really need/want is Ron.

 

Keith Martino is head of CMI, a global consultancy that customizes leadership initiatives in the construction, renovation and remodeling industries. The author of “Expect Leadership,” he has a passion for helping contractors and family construction business owners achieve stellar results.