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Ep 10: Team Or Talent; Where Should You Invest For Growth? – Toby Woodiwiss

Toby’s painting business is not only incredibly successful, but changes lives.
Business is about turning a profit and growing sales, but owners also have an amazing opportunity to make a real difference in their community.
Investing in the right people adds value to your organization, beyond the monetary figure.
Strategies to eliminate the duds early on in the recruitment process to save time, money and heartache.
Understanding your weakness as a leader to grow your team and revenue.
Simple skills to manage conflict and make it healthy.
New management styles that prevent roadblocks in the contracting business.

Watch Episode 10 of the Contractor Evolution ShoW

Listen to Episode 10

Read a Summary of Episode 10

Here’s a question for you: If you aren’t intentionally using your business as a vehicle to bring about good in the world, what are you using it for?

Let’s take a minute to soak that in….

Yes, business is about turning a profit and growing sales, but business owners have an amazing opportunity to make a real difference in the world. Cheesy, right? But think about it.

Reed Hastings, the co-founder and CEO of Netflix uses his position of influence to promote change and reform in the California State Board of Education. Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, works to provide clean water and sanitation (among other things) to third-world countries. And then there’s Elon Musk…

But, without their businesses, these influencers wouldn’t be able to pursue their philanthropic causes…or at least not to the extent they do.

So you might not have the means (or the time) to do something quite as globally impactful, but your business can make a huge difference.

It can give people new skills, offer your team a sense of belonging and community (and boy do we ever need that these days with the pandemic trying to divide us), and inspire people to do better in life.

But, it takes a special kind of leader to do this.

Nearly 80% of the respondents to one study said they would rather have a boss who cared about them finding meaning and success in work than receive a 20% pay increase – Shawn Anchor, CEO of Good Think Inc. and TED speaker

Toby Woodiwiss of Woodiwiss Painting, our interviewee for this episode of Contractor Evolution, is an exemplary leader.

He puts a ton of effort into his people and has reaped a ton of reward – personally and professionally.

Why (or, as we refer to it, the “Deeper Why”)? “It makes me feel really good about myself! I wanted to do something really impactful. I have been given resources and it’s my job to help grow and manage those. I see my people as the biggest resource I have.”

Toby has a team of high-performers who aren’t just turning up for the paycheck. Get this. They love their job. They get it; they understand the business goals, and they add value (beyond monetary) to Woodiwiss Painting.

But, and here’s the real question, how does he decide who to invest in? And what does he do to help his people grow? 

It hasn’t been without trial and error. But, he has nailed it with these FOUR SIMPLE STRATEGIES:

1. Self Awareness: It Starts With You

Understanding your strengths and weaknesses is so darned important. Effective managers listen deeply, know when to be silent, and ask the right questions to help others grow. For Toby, his transformation happened on a business trip to Mexico with his church. His initial reaction after his experience looking after 120 kids was, “I want to be a missionary.” His pastor quickly put him in his place! He explained that as a business owner Toby had the ability to support 10 guys who could make money and support others. The butterfly effect, it’s a thing.

Through coaching, counselling, and great advice Toby realized his company could be a vehicle to bring good into the world.

“We tend to think 'I am the best kind of person to employ.' The reality is, the world would be on fire within 10 minutes. Me, I was the king BSer. I wanted to make people feel good, and that's not OK! I also skim details as I am on ‘go fast’ mode, and, I have zero empathy.”

2. The Interview Process: Eliminate The Duds Early On

Before onboarding, Toby identifies whether the person is even worth investing in: 50% of his interview process is based on the candidates values. “BTA has taught me the value of values!” To recognize whether the candidate’s values are true (for example, personal growth) Toby says he looks to see if there is an emotional reaction to what the person is speaking about. If there is, BAM, you know that value has meaning to them.

If someone does a good job but their values aren’t aligned, they will eventually piss everyone else off in the team and ultimately stop the growth process.

3. Personality Profiling: What Does Your Video Character Game Look Like?

One of the first steps in the successful journey of an entrepreneur is, you have to understand who YOU are. That includes strengths, weaknesses, skills, and faults. Yes, it’s time to admit you’re not great at everything . . .and that is OK. Toby admits, “We tend to think ‘I am the best kind of person to employ.’ The reality is, the world would be on fire within 10 minutes. Me, I was the king BSer. I wanted to make people feel good, and that’s not OK! I also skim details as I am on ‘go fast’ mode, and, I have zero empathy.” But, he recognizes that, and is working on it. You will see him reaching for his notebook of empathetic responses on occasion.

Only now that he realizes his weaknesses can he hire accordingly. Skills and values are two very different things. You may not have the same skills, but you can have aligned values, and that makes for a perfect marriage.

4. The Dreaded C Word: Conflict Resolution

It’s inevitable. Conflicts happen at work. North Americans, and Canadians in particular hate conflict. But you can’t just sweep the issues under the rug, because soon it becomes a heaping pile of mess that will break free when least expected. So, what’s the solution? Toby sees relationships like a bank account: you have to have a high value in that relationship so if you make a withdrawal from it with an irritating comment, if your balance is high, they won’t take offence. Toby explains: “There’s a great saying, people don’t care what you know, until they know that you care.”

When there’s a conflict, no matter how scary it is, you HAVE to talk about it. Toby has learned (from experience) to not go into a conflict focussing on what someone is thinking, but to talk about what actually happened and actively listen. “All of a sudden, you come together. You don’t have to agree on a conflict, but close that space and find some common ground.”

Seek first to understand, then seek to be understood.

By implementing these simple strategies, Toby has a bucket filled with success stories. Take the newbie who came in to clean up paint brushes who now, at 25 years old, manages 25 high-performing painters at Woodiwiss Painting.

This new way of management works. You will find great people who want to stay. Afterall, if you build it, they will come. Just be sure you don’t get in your own way.

Benji Carlson

Benji Carlson

As the son of two proven entrepreneurs, Benji’s spirit for self-starting business runs deep. Since he was a young teen, Benji has been starting and running profitable small businesses; most recently culminating in a highly successful 4-year career as a franchisee with College Pro Painters. Benji’s enormous heart and passion for people is what drove him to produce over $1,000,000 in revenue while taking the highest quality care of his employees and customers. He was consistently acknowledged for having the most productive staff in the company, while leading more junior franchisees to fulfill their potential. Benji’s uncanny ability to find the right people and put them in the right place make him a natural fit for Breakthrough Academy’s Assessment Team.

Upon finishing up his career with College Pro, Benji set out on the ultimate victory lap: a nine-month transcontinental motorcycle trip from Canada to Peru.

Benji lives in beautiful Kelowna BC. During the summer you’ll usually find him on two wheels: either bombing down a trail on his mountain bike or cruising the pavement on his motorcycle. When the snow falls, he escapes to the mountains for steep and deep powder.

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Welcome to Contractor Evolution, a show created for high-performing contractors that are focused on scaling up, working less and increasing profitability.

While a lot of other shows focus on early stage growth challenges, we focus on real life scenarios faced by contractors that are scaling at a rapid rate, and how they keep everything dialed in without losing sight of work/life balance.

If you’re ready to evolve from a contractor into a better business owner, you’re in the right place.

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