Listen to Growth Experts’ Dennis Brown and John Fairclough of The Resicom Group as they discuss unlocking the potential of your company’s biggest assets, your employees.
Growth Experts’ Dennis Brown speaks about unlocking the potential of a company’s biggest assets, its employees, with John Fairclough, founder and president of The Resicom Group. Helping retailers optimize and maintain their store environment through facility maintenance and construction services, The Resicom Group is a multi-million-dollar company handling 3,000 plus projects monthly throughout the US and Canada.
In giving some background on his life and company, John shares that growing up in tough circumstances, even living in his car at one point, helped him build the resilience and perseverance he needed to handle whatever problems came his way. In his late teens, he joined a family business, finding his niche in his uncle’s painting company. After working hard his first year with little financial success, John doubled his business the second year, soon starting his own painting and maintenance company. Eighteen months later he had 80 employees, the beginnings of what today is The Resicom Group. Resicom provides three basic types of service to retailers: general construction/remodeling, repair & maintenance, and special projects. The last service, a blend of the first two, covers anything a retailer believes will help better connect them with their customers, whether it’s updating paint colors or flooring, renovating fitting rooms, changing out cash raps or installing visual marketing in their windows.
John then answers what he thinks is the number one strategy for getting new clients. To him, it is zeroing in on what the clients really needs, making better use of their budget, and then guaranteeing to do just that. To connect with future clients, John starts by identifying the target market and those who are ideal fits. Then, using a variety of outreach methods, from printed materials and electronic messaging to video or animated kinetic typography, John seeks to deliver a personal message that speaks to the specific needs of each particular customer. Relationships are key. Resicom has acquired some of their top clients by “being present in the sandbox that they play in.” This is done by attending trade shows and actively participating in various trade associations. According to John, it’s simple. Have an ongoing campaign and send out information that is relevant on a personal level. One on one is key, so Resicom doesn’t shy away from investing considerable resources on one particular email or video for just one prospect because the investment pays off. Rather than “throwing a lot of things to the wall to see what sticks” John prefers focused messages that truly connect to the buyer’s needs.
John also stresses the importance of dependability, showing the client his company is viable and up to solving all their challenges, even ones that are not yet obvious. To do this, he believes you must understand what the client is facing. Since his customers are retailers, John and his team immerse themselves in their world: visiting their locations, asking around in the industry, looking at past employees, etc. The clients must believe they can count on Resicom to solve all their challenges.
In discussing his own challenges with building Resicom, John admits it has been unifying the leadership team. Though it can be difficult to bring together five or six leaders with varied experiences and opinions, John believes you can reconcile everything if you have a shared unified vision. Since Resicom has not always had that vision, they have struggled, and this has kept them from reaching their potential.
John then shares his insights on how to unlock the potential of a company’s biggest assets, its employees. He breaks it down into two pieces, recognizing people have different outlooks based on their roles, and adopting the attitude of servant leadership.
In discussing diverse viewpoints based on the roles people have, John compares operational vs. visionary roles, making the point that their horizons are different. According to John, people in an operational role use more short term thinking while those with visionary or sales roles think more long term. The key, he said, is not to demonize people because they have a different horizon but to recognize both perspectives are necessary. Short term is necessary for the particular project and the long term is necessary for the overall growth of the company. The key is to consider the different horizons of employees and bring them together. Modifying the short term to match the long term objective is ”where the gold is.”
The second piece to bringing out the best in your employees, John continues, is to adopt a servant leader mentality. To do this, you must learn what people really need, especially to avoid bandaging problems instead of looking to fix the real issues. Sometimes, taking a dictator approach and micromanaging may be necessary. Micromanagement is a very effective tool, but it has an expiration date, John warns, and one that is usually much sooner than the person doing the micromanaging may realize. If you think it’s going to take two weeks of micromanaging, you probably have about four days before you start driving people crazy. The point is, micromanaging should not be branded as something to be avoided as it can be an effective tool in the right circumstances.
In drawing out his idea of servant leadership, John says we must appreciate the people on the team and recognize the good in them. If we don’t see the good in them, it will be hard to remedy any short comings. John uses a personal example to make the point, asking what impact it would have on his daughter if he didn’t see the good in her, or if he didn’t want her to obtain the “missing good.” How would it impact her if she didn’t believe he believed in her, was hopeful for her, or was there to cheer her on? You know someone sees the good in you when he/she asks your opinion or complements your work. You know someone is hopeful or has the desire for you to obtain your missing good when he/she takes the time to teach you or point you in a direction of someone else that might be able to help you. You know people are hopeful for you, because they cheer you on. They’re there. They personally accompany you on that.
In business, it’s the same John says. A manager has that kind of responsibility. The manager must see the good in that person, want the other person to learn, and be hopeful for him/her. If not, imagine the impact on that person’s performance, or on the tenure of his/her time with the company? It can have a devastating impact, just like it would with his daughter. A manager like that would disqualified himself/herself from being able to manage that other person. It’s the manager’s responsibility to help all the good come out of that person.
Dennis rounds out the interview by asking John to share his favorite growth tool or software. The answer, a video camera. Not only can he better connect with people when he’s live because they can see the passion he has, John believes video is more entertaining, is able to connect with a wider demographic and communicates more fully than the written word. Dennis agrees, especially since it’s a great way to deliver the personalized messages John believes are so effective.
When asked to recommend a book, John says Go-Giver and Go-Givers Sell More by Bob Burg, as well as anything written by Patrick Lencioni.