When brothers Jacob and Joseph Gee took over the family business, Gee Heating and Air in North Atlanta, they took stock and believed exponential growth was possible.
At the time, drastically boosting annual sales seemed like an unreachable dream. So the Gees implemented a joint vision for growth that included: connecting the vision to employees, long-range problem solving, and deeply rooted empowerment of the team.
In their first year as co-owners, the Gee brothers grew annual sales from $4 million to $11 million.
The brothers realized they had to have the right team to achieve remarkable goals. That meant meeting with employees to see where they stood on being part of advanced achievement.
“You got to connect your vision to how it affects them, and how they can grow,” Joseph says.
The hard part of having that conversation is letting go of employees who don’t share the vision, he says.
“People are who they are,” Joseph adds. “So, all you can do is manage the system. Design a system, manage it and hold people accountable to it.”
The people who do deserve to stay in your system are the ones who are long-term problem solvers, Jacob says.
“The people who are just going around on a daily basis putting Band-Aids on problems are not the answer,” he says. “You’ll just run around like crazy and cause stress.”
Instead, the Gee brothers look for people who see problems and create long-term solutions.
“We need to realize the problem is not going to be fixed today,” Jacob says. “But let’s sit down and build that system that allows this to be addressed every single day by all employees.”
The tangible proof that a company has put the right people in place who have the vision and solve long-range problems is that the employees become empowered, Joseph believes.
He gives an example of a recent family trip where both he and Jacob went away for a long weekend.
“Not only did the company survive, they had a record-breaking weekend,” Joseph says. “That’s the result of teaching people to think and not just telling them what to do.”
The employees who connect the “why behind the what” and share the vision are the people who will take you to the next level, Joseph says.
Jacob and Joseph Gee recently joined ServiceTitan’s Jackie Aubel as part of Season 8 of the “Toolbox for the Trades” podcast, which included the Gees’ thoughts on:
(5:54) Navigating change after taking over the family business
(10:56) Hiring the right people
(15:02) Sharing your company’s vision
(26:04) Implementing new systems centered on problem-solving
(37:05) Focusing on customer relationships during seasonal slowdowns
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