As I celebrated Independence Day with my family, fully clad in red, white, and blue, I took a moment to reflect. I marveled at the displays of pride, celebrations, and the recognition of the men and women who have protected and fought for the United Sates of America’s independence. I was personally proud and humbled, enjoying the sense of comradery with fellow Americans on the Fourth of July. Our country’s celebration of independence is based on the vision and values of our founding fathers, rooted in the principles of the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

As I considered the power of independence, I thought about the joy of a child who is learning to walk; they discover a new level of independence and autonomy. Their happiness and pride in the new-found skill is clear even without being able to communicate a single word. When my daughter recently got her driver’s license, there was a celebration of independence.

As I engaged a recent high school graduate enthusiastically beginning his career in the restoration Industry, I eagerly told him of all the opportunity that existed in the industry if he applies himself and works hard. With a big grin on his face, he told me that his goal for the first year is to learn and be trusted to go to a job site and do his trade by himself. I was thrilled to hear about his aspiration and plan. He is working towards independence which he understood would need to be earned.

As an organization and individuals, independence is a powerful feeling and can be a part of a healthy culture that fosters growth, development, and loyalty. Organizations that allow the individuals to works toward and achieve independence can enjoy the benefits of a team of restoration professionals who have a sense of pride and are able to grow and develop. Organizations that achieve independence in their own right can be timeless, overcome challenges, and reduce/control vulnerabilities.  

For individual restoration professionals to achieve independence:

  • Have an environment that is easy to learn within and offers training and education.
  • Allow for failure. Independence is a journey and like the child learning to walk, one will fall, falter, and make mistakes. If someone is harshly punished or scolded upon stumbling, it will be vastly less likely they will continue to try and ever succeed. Encouragement and a little help will go a long way.
  • Parameters and rules that allow one to grow. When a child is learning to walk, stairways are blocked or gated until they are ready for the next challenge. With parameters and rules comes management and leadership, whose job it becomes to let go, trust, and delegate as their team members earn that privilege. 
  • Managers and leaders in the company need to let go, delegate, and trust those in their reporting lines for the good of those they are leading, as much as for their own independence. It gives managers and leaders the time and energy to focus on other things that can add value to the organization, as well as their own self-development and growth.

For the organization to achieve independence:

  • Independence comes at being fully committed to your values and purpose. Everyone should live and breathe them and they should be front and center.
  • Restoration companies must be able to accommodate standards, regulations, and a variety of other expectations that are set forth in the industry; however, when the business operates with complete clarity of its own values and sense of purpose, you can more easily navigate through using your values as a compass.
  • Do what is right and just - that is true freedom, independence.

As I left for my Fourth of July vacation, I was asked “who is put in charge” when I am gone. I stared blankly and did not know what to say because I don’t put a “person in charge."

My response, “everyone knows what to do and will do their job.”

“But, what if there is a crisis?!”

I replied: “The person in charge of the area with the crisis will know the right thing to do.”  

I realized I have complete trust in the leadership, their ability, and most importantly their commitment to our values and purpose. The company and people are independent from me and I them, in a good way.

Like our founding fathers, with a cause, a vision, and a list of values that they were never willing to waiver, independence was declared, and our country was founded and has since flourished. Reflect, work towards independence, and achieve freedom.