HVACR Business

MAR 2014

Help hvacr contractors master the critical components of business management.

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HVACRBUSINESS.Com HVACR Business m a rc h 2 0 1 4 23 A busy, on-the-go businessman stopped for a shoeshine in the Chicago airport, but no one was at the shoeshine chair when he arrived. After a few minutes, he heard a voice coming down the corridor: "Just take a seat! I'll be right there." So, the weary traveler climbed up into the high chair. Expecting just another boring, quiet shoeshine with no interesting or meaningful conversation, he patiently waited. Much to his surprise, however, that routine moment in his life turned out to be quite a life- changing experience. As the shoe-shiner proceeded to gloss his shoes, the man said, "Please make me look professional, from the bottom up." "I'm sorry, sir, but that's your responsibility," the shoe-shiner quipped. "What do you mean by that?" asked the man. "Well, it's your job to look profes- sional. My only job is to make your shoes look great." "Hmm. I guess that's true." "Being truly professional is from the neck up, not the feet," the surprisingly wise shoe-shiner said. "From the neck up?" the confused man asked. "Yes. You must frst transform your mind. If you think of yourself as a professional, a professional is what you will be. Are you confdent?" "I think I am," said the man as the shiner buffed his shoes to a glossy black sheen. "Well, see, that's the difference between you and me. You only think you are, but I know I am." "How do you know?" "I just do. I take pride in my work, not only in giving the best shoeshine around, but I also work very hard in the few minutes I have with each customer. I strive to change the hearts and minds of men. Being professional starts in the mind. You must be willing to give your customers the most you can and know that you have a lot to give." "Hmm. That's pretty deep, but I can see that for sure," said the man. "You have given me much to think on. I guess I've got a lot to work on, for the beneft of my business and my family…and now I've also got the best-looking shoes around!" Sometimes in life, an unexpected someone shows up just in time to lift us out of our fog, challenge us, and even modify our thinking. The business traveler had just such an unexpected epiphany while going through the routine task of having his shoes shined. Even in his humble profession, the shoe-shiner had something called transformational leadership skills, and he used those skills to improve the lives of his clients. But what is transformational leadership? According to Wikipedia, it's "leadership that enhances the motivation, morale, and performance of followers through a variety of mechanisms. These include connecting the follower's sense of identity and self to the project and the collective identity of the organization; being a role model for followers [who] inspires them and keeps them interested; challenging followers to take greater ownership for their work; and understanding the strengths and weaknesses of followers so the leader can align followers with tasks that enhance their performance." That's a good defnition from Wiki, but for the sake of this article, I'd like to put it in layman's terms: "where a leader seeks to infuence (or transform) followers beyond their own self- interest for the good of the group, which improves the performance of the entire team." In Brian Tracy's The 100 Absolutely Unbreakable Laws of Business Success, he noted two basic types of leadership, transactional and transformational. Transactional leadership is the ability to direct people, manage resources, and get the job done. Transformational leadership, however, is the most important form of leadership, for it consists of the unique ability to motivate, inspire, and bring people together to work toward higher levels of performance. James MacGregor Burns popularized transformational leadership in 1978 and believed it should be seen as the counter to transformational leadership. The chart below shows some distinct differences between the two. nOTORiOus TRAnsFORMATiOnAL LeADeRs sam Walton, the founder and CEO of Wal-Mart, asked that his employees start their day with a cheer: "Give me a W, give me an A, give me an L, give me a squiggly, give me an M, give me an A, give me an R, give me a T! What's that spell? Wal-Mart! Whose Wal-Mart is it? My Wal-Mart! Who's number one? The customer is always!" This transformational leader acted with inspiration, motivation, and enthusiasm, and so did his team. When Sam opened the frst Wal-Mart store in 1962, not only did he have to borrow a large sum of money from others, but he also had to mortgage his own home. He had an idea, he infuenced in a positive way, and he was willing to sacrifce. Sam even set up his own version of the Ten Commandments. Of these, some place him directly in the class of transformational leaders: • Share profts with your associates and treat them like your partners; • Energize colleagues; • Communicate with, appreciate, and listen to your associates/partners. Walt Disney set a culture of excellence, right down to the way the sidewalks were cleaned at his namesake amusement parks. He created a culture of caring for customers, ensuring that visitors to Disneyland and Disneyworld had a great time in the Magic Kingdom. Walt also set the expectation of staying in character, regardless of what happens in the park. He was a man of vision, well exceeding that of most leaders. Michael Jordan, an athlete of phenomenal physical gifts, also harbors an inner will to drive himself and his teammates to incredible levels of performance. His team, the Chicago Bulls, won an amazing six NBA championships with Jordan leading the way, and they may very well have won more if he hadn't taken a break to try baseball. It is no wonder that so many wanted to "be like Mike," for he inspired others. Like all transformational leaders, By GreG McAfee, owner of mcafee heating and air conditioning co. Transformational leadership improves the lives of those around you – including both your employees and your customers. E x p E rt A dv i c E TrANSfOrMATIONAL LeADerS TrANSAcTIONAL LeADerS Publicly and privately acknowledge achievement (higher-level needs) Enacts a system of rewards and punishments (low-level needs) Delegates tasks for supporters to act autonomously or in small groups Micromanages team to ensure that preset standards are met Encourages change and outside-the-box thinking Avoids change and works to keep things the same Are more concerned with ideas than process Are more concerned with process than ideas The Transformational Leader What it Takes to Move Beyond Transactional Leadership continued on page 24

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