Editor’s Note (Sept. 2021): As promised, here is the second of four new columns we are unveiling in C&R in the next few weeks. You’ve already met Marcie and her Team Talk column. This week, meet Scott Walden, the man behind our Full Disclosure column. Scott is a U.S. Army veteran who believes strongly in authentic servant leadership. He promises full disclosure on all things restoration and leadership-related in his monthly columns. You can catch the latest from Scott in the C&R eNewsletter the first Tuesday of every month.
UPDATE: As C&R has grown and expanded its reach, we are revisiting some of the oldies + goodies – like this one!
As I sit here tonight writing my inaugural monthly column for C&R, my thoughts are centered around current relief efforts in Louisiana. All day, I’ve been contemplating just the right words to share with my team tomorrow morning that will help them face the daunting task of administering and estimating the 600+ assignments we’ve received so far – all while they see dozens more coming in every hour. I know it’s just basic leadership – provide them purpose, direction, and motivation – everything will then fall into place, right? It’s never that easy.
The key for me is understanding each team member’s WHY. You know all about the WHY, don’t you? It’s no leadership mystery – it’s the thing that that gets you out of bed at 1:00 a.m. to pull wet insulation out of Mrs. Johnson’s attic; it’s the reason many of us “run to the guns” when a natural disaster occurs; it’s what drives you. For some, it’s monetary compensation. These folks just do what they’re told and have little connection to any other aspect of the job – and that’s ok.
For others – and I think I can speak for most in our industry – it goes much deeper than money. There are a ton of jobs that pay just as well as those in the emergency restoration industry with a lot more predictability and a whole lot less stress. I served 23 years in the United States Army, and for those familiar with the military pay scales, you know I didn’t do it for the money. I did it because I had an overwhelming desire to serve our nation. Although our mission was to fight and win our nation’s wars – the vast majority of our efforts were spent providing relief for those in need – sound familiar?
What drives us to respond 24/7/365 to emergency calls at a complete stranger’s house – sometimes under horrific conditions? Why do we do this to ourselves? Why, after working this entire holiday weekend – and likely several weekends to come – will my team continue to focus on this mission and remain motivated? Why will our teams deployed to Hurricane Ida push on through long days, hot weather, and austere conditions? I firmly believe the answer is we all share the same WHY – an overwhelming desire to help others in their time of need. For me, given the uniqueness of our industry, there can be no other explanation.
There is another side of WHY that can’t be ignored. It is part of providing our teams the WHY (purpose) of what you are asking them to do.
Anyone ever had a parent respond with “because I said so” when you inquired as to why? Although somewhat comical to hear – both are garbage. Neither provides the purpose our teams deserve when assigning them a task. Granted, there are some real emergency situations where a detailed explanation as to why you are giving particular instructions is not practical, but when it is, the benefits far outweigh any additional time/effort spent. Providing the purpose can help eliminate ambiguity, satisfy curiosity, and help keep your team motivated towards accomplishing a common goal.
Just over eight years ago, I didn’t even know this industry existed. What I quickly realized is that it aligns perfectly with what really drives me – service to others in their time of need. It’s become my superpower. What really drives you – what’s your WHY – what’s your superpower?
Until next month…. Nasty 7 out.