Have a podcast in 30 days

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The best entrepreneurs have learned that you can’t do everything yourself. A builder-turned-business-coach walks us through his team and shares his insight into how building the right team has created freedom for his builder clients (and himself).

Show highlights include:

  • Why working on your weaknesses is terrible advice that traps you in your business instead of giving you freedom (6:16) 
  • 4 simple questions that reorganize your team so everyone’s working on their highest and best use (9:31) 
  • How building your company like a sports team creates a profitable, sustainable, and scalable construction business (15:19) 
  • Why putting the right people in the right seats can increase their income by 10x and grow your company’s revenue by 10x (23:45)
  • We’ve seen 10x in all kinds of ways and it’s all due to putting the right people in the right seats (25:07)
  • Most of our struggles are because we don’t have the right who (28:20)

To get the most out of this podcast, head over to https://buildernuggets.com and join our active community of like-minded builders and remodelers.

Read Full Transcript

So the heli ski guide doesn't have to fly the helicopter.

Welcome to another episode of Builder Nuggets, the show where builders and remodelers discover how to build thriving businesses while working less. I'm Duane Johns and together with Dave Young, we share the elements of success that have helped hundreds of contractors like you build better lives.

(00:23): We talked a lot about a lot of great books and concepts on the show. Today's episode brings together several elements from key books that have had impact on us. Over the years. You recently heard an episode with Brandon Voss on never split the difference on how to negotiate like a boss, a traction. You hear about that a lot on our show, this has played a huge part of our businesses as well. And ever since we read who not how by Dan Sullivan and Ben Hardy, we've been sharing it with everyone we coach and collaborate with. I've even signed up for Dan strategic coach program. It's one of those books where as you're reading it, you begin to realize just how simple it is. The concepts feel like things you already know, but haven't been able to implement because you couldn't see it clearly until Ben and Dan came right out and set it in a way that somehow was meant just for you.

(01:13): We love hearing stories from our builder nuggets community about the impact. The stuff we talk about is having today. We get to share one of those stories. Our guest was a timber framer custom home builder entrepreneur, and is currently a regional partner with a layer homes in Ontario, in Ohio, where he helps dozens of builders create more rewarding lives. We welcome friend, family, man, and colleague Justin Thompson. Welcome JT. Hey guys. Thanks for having me. Yeah, man. We're glad that you're here. We just covered off the requisite construction industry resume. But before that you, you did a lot of of other cool stuff, including something like seven years as a heli ski guide, which sounds awesome. But is, is it fair to say you got your first real business education growing up in an entrepreneurial family? Yeah, that's that's for sure. I I grew up in a family where all of my grandparents were entrepreneurs.

(02:06): My parents were entrepreneurs and multiple businesses exposure in the franchise business. I can remember in the mid eighties, hosting birthday parties for friends of mine in the warehouse of a Coca-Cola building, which probably wouldn't go over as well these days, but spent a lot of time in and around my family's businesses. For sure. Yeah. And those businesses ranged from like the Coca-Cola bottling plant to later, you know, a bingo empire. So some pretty cool, some pretty cool stuff. I remember you telling me about having a Coke tap in your home, which can only be, I can only imagine the dental bills growing up with that and the, and the trips to the dentist, but yeah, it's really, it's really different when you, when you talk to somebody who's had that business exposure from an early age versus somebody who's always been taught to have a job, the mindset differences.

(02:56): And I have a feeling we're going to, we're going to dig into some of that today. Yeah, absolutely. And it's interesting growing up in it and reflecting back on it like most who are in business now, but to think, you know, that it was maybe an easy road because you grow up in that is certainly not the case. And I'm excited to kind of dig into some of the influences that have helped for my life and where I'm at today, for sure. We collaborate with you on a regular basis. And Dave and I, we always knew that you would make an appearance on builder nuggets, but it was a recent conversation. You and I had that. It was a couple of weeks ago about how the power of aligning ourselves with the right people and then empowering those people to focus on their highest and best use is that's where things really start to change.

(03:39): Tell us about the impact this has had on you, you know, recently you've just had some breakthroughs with this and your perspective on that. Yeah, Dwayne, and I'd like to go back to maybe something that Dave said in the intro about the heli ski career, because at the time, you know, I was in my, in my twenties and early thirties I had dedicated time to becoming a mountain guide and I was going through the motions. I, it was an incredible career. I really enjoyed it, but at the time I didn't put, I didn't put enough onus on or emphasis on the fact that everyone was in their seats for a reason. And everyone was focused on different things to make it a well-oiled machine. And I, I come to the, to where I'm at now and in business and in life. And I think back on that, and I think, wow, what a, what an incredible experience to have been part of a business, you know, as a team member in one of those seats where it was definitely a well-oiled machine and they, they certainly had that figured out.

(04:40): So I fast forward now and, and, you know, obviously doing a lot of reading and, and collaborating, as you mentioned, has had a big influence, but taking the little nuggets out of each of those books or podcasts or whatever, you know, you're into and implementing that's the big one was implementing. So for me, it's finally in a place where I can Excel at what I'm good at, and I can fill the seats with others who can make up for, for what I'm not great at Horton part in construction's version of a well-oiled machine. Now, the business that you're in and the things that you're doing and what, what you and your team have have built through the course of the show. I mean, I've talked about it off, off the opening. We, we use things like EOS for the operating systems, for our businesses and in, in the companies that we coach, they have an operating system for how their team and how their projects run strategic coach and who not, how teaches you how to think.

(05:46): So we're learning at all this, all these different levels, we're putting the pieces together. But one of the things that you've realized, or we've all realized together as the pieces are no good. If you don't have right people, as you, you said earlier, when we were talking before the interview, having the right people in the right seats on the bus, that's the piece where it really comes together. And whether it's a heli ski business, where you want the trusted guide, being the trusted guide, you want the helicopter pilot being the, you know, the dedicated, passionate, helicopter, pilot, all those pieces come together and we're taught so many times that you have to be good at everything and, you know, work on your weaknesses. You've set yourself free by working on the things that you're exceptionally good at and bringing in others on your support team.

(06:28): Maybe describe for everyone what your team looks like. Sure. Dave, and I think what's interesting about that is that not only are you setting yourself free by surrounding yourself with the other whos, but they are also setting themselves free by, by having the opportunity to Excel at what they're great at. So it's this kind of centrifical thing where it just continues to move and move and move which is where you see huge results, right? To touch on that for a second. That part of part of the who, not how principals are that you're creating opportunities for others, you need to be a who to somebody else when you are by giving up some of the things and we were calling it highest and best use by only focusing on your highest and best use taking those things that you're not good at. And carving out a role for somebody who is absolutely passionate, dedicated to that.

(07:24): You're elevating them. You become a who to them. And you know, that's what we've been seeing. And that gives us the freedom of purpose to get, to get away from working on the stuff that we're crappy at and focusing on the things that were where we moved the needle. So that's sort of the premise of who not how, but JTM or I'm interested in your own personal take on and how and how you've taken the things from this book. And from some of the other ones we've talked about and that you're implementing them with construction, business owners, cross borders, and, you know, on a, on a pretty big scale, you know, I think it's, everything comes down to people, right? And it's there, there's a lot of emotions involved and you, you read all these different business principles, you read these different structures you try and learn about it.

(08:12): But when you go to implement, you know, you're dealing with people and emotions and it is an emotional industry whether people like to admit it or not. And I think that for me, looking at EOS and that type of structure is it's incredible. And on paper, it's a really great plan. But when you start to look at, who's going to sit in these seats, those people are really important because you're working with them super closely. The plan will work really well. If you have the right who's in those seats. And then I, I, you know, read who not how, and I feel like it was a, a good reinforcement to what the results can be of having the right people. So for me and our team, it's been a full restructure. Our team has been together for a few years now. And we started out in all sorts of different seats.

(09:08): And it was, there were a lot of gray areas between roles and responsibilities. We still were able to, to have momentum, but it certainly wasn't anything like we're feeling now. So now what we've done is we've taken these principles of from EOS and who not, how, and we've looked at, okay, what are the seats in the business? What are the different avenues that we need to look at and fill, and then highest and best use we go through, what do I love doing? What am I good at? What do I not like doing, what am I not good at? And we make sure to categorize that, which we did. And you know, it wasn't, it, wasn't just a simple sit down, do this exercise. And then, you know, success will follow. It's been a lot of trial and error and looking at, does this work for me?

(09:54): Does this not work for me? And then attracting the right team members? So w you know, we need to ensure that we're living up to all the principles and core values that we've set for our team to make sure that we are setting the precedent and that we are attracting the right people to be part of our team around us earlier, you said about implementation, or you can even, you know, another term for that is execution. That's where so many things fall short, you know, the plans and the ideas goals, all the things that you want to achieve. And then the execution part is where almost all of us will fall short. And when you get the right people, the who's there's people that can execute things that maybe you can't, maybe you had the idea, maybe you saw something happening, but you, you just really didn't.

(10:37): I don't have the skill to execute that. Well, when you bring in the people that do have those skills, and that's where things, as I said earlier, that's where things really start. So Justin, when you talk about your team, this is a, this is an integral part of something that's bigger. That's that's happening on the overall scale in terms of how a layer is setting up these businesses. So for context, and for our audience, you've got the layer home office team, which provides a whole bunch of back office support systems, infrastructure, leadership, around certain aspects of the business, branding, marketing, all that sort of thing. And then your team, you are responsible for overseeing the regional development. And this is what we talked about in the intro. You've got custom builders and remodelers in Ontario and Ohio that you're supporting. And your mission is to turn them into the most rewarding contracting businesses in the world.

(11:32): So you've got your teams and then obviously their teams. So what you're doing is providing that extra level of visionary support and accountability. Let's, let's dig into that and what you're doing and what, what these, what these business owners receive from you, or how you work together with them. And then let's dig into love to get your perspective on how you're seeing this stuff work with them down at the individual business level and the breakthroughs that they're having, because most of our audiences are custom home builders or remodelers or trades that have a, a localized business. And they're going to benefit greatly from hearing what happens when these principles get applied. And what are some of the challenges that have already been faced by, by the group that you're coaching? Like most of the listeners I was a small business owner in the construction industry, wearing all the hats.

(12:24): You know, I was on the tools all day. I was doing sales between five and 8:00 PM. I was monitoring my books from eight to 10:00 PM. I was trying to hang out with my kids a little bit and then, you know, get a couple hours sleep and then back at it tomorrow. So I'm coming from this from a perspective of that didn't work. It was not sustainable and it was not scalable. So for me every day that I'm, you know, logging into my computer or jumping on my phone or jumping into a meeting, I'm thinking about that. And I'm, I'm doing my best to support all the businesses that we work with. All the partners we work with to ensure that they aren't feeling that pressure cause that pressure, that that's toxic, it's really hard to scale or, or even even feel success and whatever that success means, right?

(13:15): Whether it's freedom, whether it's financial, whatever that is. So for me and our business, my business partner is an incredible visionary. He can see the big picture he can, he can really look at, we've got this big opportunity and we need to help attract the right people into this business model. And he does that on a daily basis. For me, it's more kind of boots on the ground. It's more day to day ensuring that we're helping each of these business owners set the right goals. We're ensuring that they have the right people in the right seats. And when I say ensure, I mean, we're sitting with them, we're working through the business model. We're looking at their different goals and how they want to achieve them. And then we're looking at who do you need on the team to accelerate that? Who do you need on your team?

(14:11): And we're ensuring that, that we attract the right people for that team because every team is different. You know, and back to my comment about we're dealing with people and emotions, everybody needs different support in different areas and whatever that may be, we're here to support that. So for me, in my role, it's it's business development, it's coaching, it's support from the side of the business. That's going to attract new people to the business. We also have an operations person who she works with each of the businesses to achieve all the goals and operations. And that can be from wording in the contracts all the way to financial projections with the accountants. So it's very mixed what we're looking at, but the key is that we all know the seat that we're sitting in and that we can all support from that seat. So the heli ski guide doesn't have to fly the helicopter.

(15:12): Exactly. You would not want me doing that. That's right. Yeah. Yeah. But you know, to use that analogy, I've always thought about the sports analogy. And we were talking about this offline, that, you know, you think of a hockey team or any team. I like to think hockey because I'm Canadian, but you know, you can't have a team full of defensemen, it's just not going to work. Or you can't have a lineup full of goalies. It's not going work. But you get a well balanced team out there with wingers and center men and defensemen and goalies and coaches and trainers and so on and so forth. All of a sudden you've got a championship team,

(15:49): A quick reminder that the best way to get the most out of this podcast is to engage with the builder nuggets community, visit our website@buildernuggets.com and follow along on Facebook and Instagram.

(16:02): Did you feel like there's a lot of fear out there about expanding your team too big? I'd be interested in what you think the first step is when you're coaching somebody for how to even go about developing your team. I know when Dwayne did it, he started with his own self-assessment with him and his business partner to look at, Hey, who's on the team right now. What are we, what are we good at going through that big list and seeing where your holes, where is that, is that your recommended starting point to, yeah, I couldn't agree more. I think that if you're trying to scale something or grow something and you haven't looked in the mirror at some point it's going to probably come back on you. So definitely I would say, start with yourself a self-assessment that certainly helped me in looking at, you know, where are my weaknesses or where are some areas of the business that I actually don't even enjoy doing?

(16:51): Not to say that I didn't have to do them for awhile, which is your, you know, your next question, Dave is, at what point does, does someone look at expanding their team? I think that there's going to be a certain period of time where, where you are wearing the hats, but what's key is just identifying that this is a seat. And at some point when it's right, that seat will get filled with someone else. Yeah. And so I think something that's also very important to do is whenever you're doing any kind of, self-assessment looking at you, your team, you've got to really focus on the weaknesses. That's where you want to target. You really want to go after those weaknesses first. And that's where you're going to find people to help you get through that. And there's lots of reasons why there's things that you don't like, and you're not good at.

(17:36): Maybe you don't have the skillset. Maybe you just flat out, don't like doing it. Maybe you don't understand it. You know, on the flip side of that, for everything you're not good at, and you can't stand, there's somebody out there that's just dying to do it. They get up every morning wanting more of it. And that's, you know, again, I think the beauty of going through these exercises and empowering those people, finding those people, and then empowering them to just take the ball and run with the things that you want to hide from. It's not about passing the buck. And I think a lot of builders hold onto some of these things because of the, the bravado of, you know, you're doing some of the gritty stuff, even though you're, you're not supposed to, because you want to show that you can, or that you just feel like you're not a good leader.

(18:17): If you pass this stuff off. When in fact when you can identify that and you have the self-awareness to be able to do that and identify that, you know what, I shouldn't be doing this. It becomes somewhat liberating to say, wow, I'm going on this quest to find somebody who loves this stuff. And it does create opportunity. And it becomes part of your magnet for what you are doing. Because a leader who is focused on moving the needle, doing the things that they love has a positive countenance about them continuously. Everything seems like it's going, going great and elevate and delegate. It's called delegate and elevate. But I always think of elevate first. You know what? You elevate yourself, then you can delegate. So it doesn't really matter which way you, you say it. But Justin, you've seen plenty of these stories with the business owners that you're working with.

(19:04): Like when they, when they come in to the system that your guys are running, they're shedding a lot of the burden of high-level accounting, you know, marketing strategy, you know, they're, they're taking off about six of the hats and putting them over to a protein. Then they're, they're getting to collaborate with you and ongoing coaching and monthly experts coming into their business all the time. But the real breakthroughs happen when, you know, they get down to one or two hats and we're seeing it a lot in partnerships where it's like, there's one person who's like, you talked about in your business. There's one visionary. And then there's, there's one, you know, sort of implementer integrator. And you've got somebody who may be stellar at ops. What's your advice to somebody for what happens next? You know, you've done, you've done the self-assessment. Where do you go from there?

(19:56): And is there a role on, on the team that is more important than any of the others? I think that where you go from, you know, once you've done the self-assessment and you've realized where you want to be, what seat you want to sit in or have to sit in for now, but really identifying what those seats are. It's attaching goals and timelines to each of those seats based on profit revenue pipeline, all sorts of factors, but it's setting goals for, when am I going to fill this seat? And I don't think it, you know, to one of your earlier questions with when's the right time. And it definitely can be daunting to grow the team to quickly or to bring on too many team members, because we often that too, and I've been guilty of it as well. If the model is set up where you can establish the right seats and you can have the right people in those seats that are part of your profit center, or that are part of billable time towards the business, the project, whatever it is all of a sudden it doesn't become a burden and it becomes more of a rollout to success.

(21:13): And you'll start to see it. It becomes fun. And it, it takes a while to get there. But with the right people, it can be fun. But I think that it's, it's setting those, those mini goals of I'm going to do a self assessment. I'm going to look at what seats I need to fill in my business. And then I'm going to establish a timeline to each of those seats that I want to strive for. That would be, you know, where I would start. And then back, you know, we've brought up who, but in that situation, the one key thing there as well is who is that person holding you accountable? You know, again, I get back to the execution, you can start to assess and map out to start putting things down. You've got to hold yourself accountable and someone else has to be there to help hold you accountable, you know, because then that's where things die on the bottom.

(22:02): Absolutely. Yeah. And, and I, and that's like you said, Dwayne, at all levels, right? Everyone needs to be held accountable to, to each level. I can't express how freeing it is once you, once you get to the point where, and by going through all these exercises and getting the right people in place, the other thing that leads to is you start to realize that all of a sudden, I have a much smaller bucket of things that I really have to be worried about. Cause I know I've got, you know, the right people in the other places, worried about those, those other things that is tremendously freeing and I'd love. I know the listeners would as well, give us some examples, maybe of things for you or even some of the partners of builders for models, you're working with just some transformations you've seen by once they get a few of the right people in place on their team, how it's changed their business, how it's changed their life.

(22:51): Something you hit on there, Dwayne is, is just how freeing it can be. And I think back to my earlier comment about wearing all the hats and how you never feel satisfied, you never feel like you're fully fulfilled because you're only able to give 30 to 50% at each of the items that you're working on because you're just overwhelmed, right? When you've got less things to worry about in your bucket and all of a sudden you, you do feel free. You're giving a hundred percent each of those items that you're responsible for and it pushes you to want to do more and do better because it's the things that you're good at and that you are being kept accountable to achieving. It's a really fun feeling. Some of the partners or businesses that we work with have seen growth in all sorts of different areas from applying this to their businesses and their lives.

(23:54): It's elevated different key team members from, you know, carpenters to project managers, to, to partners. It's elevated supplier businesses and trade businesses where we can help influence how they are shaping their business. It's elevated different key members on their teams as well. So it doesn't just sit with, you know, our immediate businesses. It has a huge ripple effect to all the stakeholders in who we're dealing with. And that has helped with, you know, revenue, you know, we've seen pipelines go 10 X. We've seen net incomes go 10 X. And it's all been in due to the right people in the right seats. We have an episode called my best month ever, where a project manager talks about their growth and their experience, his experience Corey and ours, his experience in the industry and how, when he's put these things into his business, he's now experiencing as a project manager, becoming an owner, just a new level of fulfillment.

(24:57): And it's super rewarding. You know, we know of literally dozens and dozens of these transformations, where you start to put these systems and processes, get the right mindset, got the right coaching, understand these things. It becomes really fun. And, and fund's a key word we're seeing across the board when we're looking at people's mission statements and core values and rewarding is the word that just keeps coming to mind. And I know it's rewarding for you, Justin, to have started with some of these businesses and to see the transformation that they're, that they're going through, like your sports analogy, you know, it's something you've got the right team with the right players. It's fun. It's a lot of fun. It is. It's, it's a lot of fun and it's super rewarding to be part of it. And it's very collaborative. It's a lot of back and forth coaching.

(25:45): And when you get the right people attracted to that, who just want to continue to pour into making this better and having, having a real splash in the industry, it becomes all encompassing. It's really fun. It's pretty exciting where you've gone so far, but what's next for you? Where are you going from here, man? I like to think back, you know, what, what we've done in the last five years, I'm really excited to look at, say the next five years to say there's a lot of opportunity and there's a lot more that can be done. So I'm excited to work with our current partners in helping achieve some bigger goals. I'm excited to work with the partners who we don't even have yet that they're just out there waiting for, for an introduction. But I'm also excited to use some of this freedom to spend time with my family.

(26:39): I've got two young boys that are six and nine are keeping my wife, Nadia and I pretty active. So I'm excited to spend more time with them and these kind of formative years and you know, a bit of traveling and and get them excited about the future. Dwayne, what were your big takeaways from today's episode? The execution part? I think about it a lot. And I think of as builders and remodelers, all of what we do and builders remodelers would not tolerate. If your floor guys not making the grade, you're going to do everything you can to find another floor guy. And then that goes with every trade with every supplier, there's like a zero tolerance, but when it comes to some of the stuff on the other side, maybe on the business side, we tend to let it linger a little bit, you know?

(27:24): And, and I think that's, to me, it was just something I took away from. It was that's where things, we have goals. We have plans, we have visions. We want to scale there's things that we want to do. And we get stuck. We're not sure how and most of it is because we don't have the, who we don't have the people in place to help us with those things. And if you can get those people to help you to take off some of those other hats, you're going to start executing a real high level. That was my thing, right? What this really comes down to is focusing on what you love. We hear all the time, you know, with all those hats, I don't have time to work on that because you don't have the trust in the, in the people, the single biggest response we get, any time we challenge any business owner, I don't have time for that because they, because the first reaction is they probably think that's something they have to do.

(28:10): Yeah. That's the, exactly the wrong. Did you put yourself in this situation where you don't have any time, because this is really how you structuring your business, putting in other professionals to just have to do everything in a lights out way, frees you up. You get that focus. And I, you know, I'm in alignment with you guys. The next thing is action. We get paralyzed. You know, you, you finally find a direction. You think you want to go, but you don't actually know how to do it. So you don't end up taking action. And then you're frustrated because you see the light, but you can't get to it. A lot of times, we're in our businesses thinking about what it could be and not actually working on making it something. And so we've learned anything over the last few months, it said, it's not about what you're going to do in your business.

(28:56): You're going to make some key decisions, but it's what all the other people you bring in, how they're going to, what they're going to bring to the table, how they can free you up and how you, if you're the visionary or you're the one who creates the opportunity, you become a who to them. Don't, don't sit there and be paralyzed. If there's something that you're struggling, whether you're not sure where to start, just, just reach out. There's some easy assessments to go through that can identify really quickly. Some of the things that are, that are holding you back and know, so courage you to go out and grab a copy of who, not, how it literally shapes the thinking of many of us. And that's a real strength with Dan Sullivan's strategic coach program is we've been conditioned for a long time to think a certain way and unlocking some of that, give you some new perspective on how you can think and approach your business.

(29:45): And that gives you clarity when you're looking at the systems or structure that you need that follows next, but it's all it all starts with how you think Justin, what's the best way for builders in Ontario and Ohio who want to connect or ask you questions or get to know more about your team and what you're doing, or hear more of these stories. What's the best way for somebody to get a hold of you? Yeah, I think through email, we can get that on the, on the builder nuggets chat or through to three, you guys, JT, it's always fun hanging out with you. It's great to watch what you've done up there. Thanks for your time. It's well appreciated. I look forward to what's to come. Thank you guys. This has been awesome. And thanks a lot for, and this podcast together.

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