Leading Yourself Before You Can Lead Others
What happens when a leader reaches the point when they no longer want to go to work? Have you been in the place as an entrepreneur or leader where you as the principal of the school have lost your passion to go to school because they have lost sight of the vision, lost the support of the teachers and their influence with the students. Skylar Lewis, CEO of Superior Restoration (Temecula, CA) and founder of Rise Up Kings, shares how he reached this point in his career. He discusses the importance of leading yourself first so that you can better lead others.
Several ventures, including a stint in high school as a wholesaling entrepreneur, brought him to the place where he approached his dad who started a carpet cleaning company and was running 2 vans. The senior Lewis had briefly worked for a ServiceMaster franchise prior to getting injured and deciding to go out on his own. Skylar bought his own van and started a satellite operation in a neighboring city. He and his wife launched their business with grassroots efforts including handing out flyers door to door and doing whatever they could to generate revenue.
On The DYOJO Podcast Episode 19, Skylar shares how they learned carpet cleaning, and subsequently the property restoration business, from the ground up. As they started bringing people onto the team, they would train them to take over the prior roles and Skylar kept replicating this process as he learned new aspects of the Superior Cleaning business.
When an owner or manager doesn't know the aspects of the work that they oversee, they are at a disadvantage for training and holding team members accountable. Even when you believe, as Skylar did, that you are doing things the right way, you can still be off course from where you could and/or should be. A series of events revealed he hadn’t built as much of an airtight operation as he had thought and he was forced to do some deep soul searching.
In the depths of betrayal and dysfunction, Skylar wisely reached out to a business coach to help him identify his blind spots. While initially he thought the coach would point out the things that were wrong with the team, this consultant started his process with the person in the highest position of leadership (PIAPOL). As they restructured, Skylar focused on improving his own leadership skills while also taking a hard look at whether they had the right people on the team.
For Superior Restoration the culture became the most important thing and Skylar pivoted to a more purposeful servant leadership style. For their team, running assessments and making hiring decisions based upon culture has been critical to their growth. The hiring process is set up to be in alignment with the company's core values, which follow the acronym C-O-M-E-T which stands for:
- Own It
- Thirst for Learning
They work to ensure that every employee knows the content of and how to implement the core values. These five items also instruct how the Superior Restoration team conducts their interviews to explore whether the candidates embrace and will enhance these values when they are added to the organization.
Skylar learned that by facing the areas that he needed to address himself as a leader, he was able to own the issues in his organization and then filter that clarity throughout the company. He decided to make their company financials fully transparent to the whole company and provided each employee with an aspect of that statement which they are responsible for. There is clarity around the numbers and the financial health of the company and each employee is bonuses quarterly on the performance of the organization.
You can view the video of our discussion via The DYOJO Youtube page or you can listen to The DYOJO Podcast wherever fine podcasts are listened to (Spotify, Apple, Anchor, Google). The intro video for The Intentional Restorer created by the talented Ed Cross “The Restoration Lawyer” (guest on The DYOJO Podcast Episode 3).