What Would Happen If You Lost Your GM Today?

Paul Riddle
Contributing Writer
Success Group International

One thing is for sure about the contracting world: You never know what to expect.  You could be flooded with calls one week and be struggling to get one on the board the next week.  Plus, you may seem to have too many technicians when things are slow and not enough when things get busy.  Beyond that, you’ll never know when you’re going to lose someone from your team.

While losing a technician is hard, you can at least hire someone new and have them up to speed in a few weeks, but what happens when you lose one of your managers?  Or worse, what happens to your business if something happens to you?  If you’re like most owners in this industry, you’d be in a tough spot if your General Manager decided to leave you suddenly.

To tame some of that uncertainty and keep your company growing into the future, here’s a unique strategy that you should consider incorporating in your business—and soon:

Train Two Behind You

Basically, every manager in your company should constantly be training two possible replacements for their position.  Wherever you are at in the company, you must be training at least two people under you to do your job.  For instance, if you were a service manager, you would be training your top two lead technicians to take over your position in the future.

To keep this kind of program going in your company, you must emphasize training and education.  For one thing, everyone must take an active role in learning how your business operates.  Provide training opportunities for everyone so they can continually improve their skills and performance.

What are the benefits?

The point of this type of program isn’t to keep everyone looking over their shoulders, but one of the benefits is that it does keep everyone on their toes.  They know there is always someone capable of taking their position behind them, and that keeps everyone focused on what we need to do to be the best.

In a fast growing company, the only way you’ll be able to move forward is if you have someone who can take your place.  If your team wants to advance in your company, the best way for them to do it is to make sure there is someone behind them to step in.  It’s hard to promote an irreplaceable person.  Plus, by training two people at every position, you’ll have a choice of whom to move into an open spot.

With this type of program, your team may be nervous at first, but they’ll soon see how this program creates more opportunity for them.  They’ll be more motivated to succeed once they see that the best will rise to the top.

But that culture shift is only one of the benefits of this program.  In the end, everyone benefits.

1.  Customers: When you have a culture of growth and opportunity, customers receive better service because everyone is looking forward.  Your team will be looking for every opportunity to provide the best service possible.

2. Employees:  Obviously, your team will prosper with this type of system.  For those that want to advance their careers, they will have no better opportunity than with your company under this program.

3. Managers:  This type of program will also keep your managers at an incredibly high level.  When your managers are training those under them, your team will be offering tremendous service, and if you have a bonus program in place, everyone will benefit from that attention to improved service.  Plus, when the time comes for your managers to move up to a higher level, they’ll be ready.

4. Owner:  As the owner, this program provides you tremendous flexibility.  You’ll have the freedom to take a vacation without worrying about your business crumbling while you’re gone.  Plus, when you want to expand, you’ll have a core of managers ready to get a new location up to speed quickly.  Having others in your company trained to take over takes some of the pressure off of you to do it all.

Overall, this “Train Two Behind You” method of management training is an effective way to ensure your company always has the managers and superstars it needs to grow in the future.  Even when the unexpected happens, you’ll be ready for it.

About the Author: Paul Riddle, Vice President, Success Group International

Paul Riddle has over 25 years of hands‐on experience as GM, COO, CEO, and owner of service companies specifically in the mechanical and restoration segments. Throughout his career, he has personally trained the owners and employees of hundreds of businesses, including several turnaround situations.  His hands‐on training for owners and their employees has been in the areas of business planning, sales & marketing, and company culture. Paul enjoys applying his knowledge and experience working directly with business owners and their employees to increase profits, improve the company’s present value, and unlock the intrinsic value of the business when sold. Paul joined SGI in 2009 as the VP of Operations.




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