When success requires performance by a team, leadership becomes essential. The evolution of a remodeling company from management stage to leadership is often marked by hiring a general manager. The owner’s role then changes, frequently being redefined as president.
The distinction between general manager (GM) and president is the difference between managing and leading. If the GM is responsible for efficiently and profitably managing the company, then what, practically speaking, is the president’s role?
The president’s focus is leadership, which I define as motivating others to join you. The president does this by creating and maintaining an environment with the necessary resources for achieving success. The president’s role is to ensure viability of the company vision so the daily work of individual players fits into an effective whole, and to maximize everyone’s valuable contributions.
Because the president oversees the GM, the president must have a working knowledge of the concepts, systems, and tools of business management. Leadership must be based on more than rah-rah hype and positive thinking. The president assures that the GM is keeping the company on track for meeting goals, and exercises oversight through meetings and by reviewing monthly reports.
The president-as-leader is the public face of the company. He or she is active in the community and represents the company in a positive light. In addition to its essential marketing function, this involvement uncovers challenges and opportunities, which should be communicated to the GM and company team.
The president embodies company vision, values, and identity to the team. By words and actions, the president attracts the right team members and inspires superior performance. He or she is a reminder of the shared “big picture,” of why the work is worthwhile and how each individual will benefit as the company succeeds.
Motivating a high-performance team takes more than competitive pay. It takes a vision that high-performance individuals want to share. Remodeling is a world-changing activity. Is your vision limited to providing for yourself and your family? Or is it big enough to attract others? If so, you have an essential building block for leading your company into sustained success in the years ahead.
—Richard Steven is president of Fulcra Consulting, which advises remodeling companies on management plans; www.fulcraconsulting.com.