Mission: Vacation ... Mission: Accomplished!

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Another “Mission: Vacation” season has come to an end, and we’re thrilled to announce that our series finalist, Eric Craine, has … surpassed our expectations! Eric and his team have made significant progress over the past few months. When we think about where he was when he started working with APC and Nolan Consulting Group, compared to where he is now, he is a transformed leader.

He’s expressed that this experience has finally allowed him to give himself the permission to be his true self — the leader. Eric has always had good instincts and a strong  entrepreneurial spirit, but the challenges and distractions of the daily grind prevented him from strategically driving the company forward.

We coach our clients on the mindset of “control the controllables.”  You have to be future-minded and work diligently to overcome the challenges and prevent the distractions that life and business operations can throw at you. As the leader — the CEO — you are the visionary; however, the visionary cannot also be the integrator in the company’s journey of growth. Those are two very distinct roles. It is the assembly of a high-performance team, with individuals in the right roles to help execute the vision and run the system, that allows the company to win.

The Journey

Over the past several months, there were three major Big Rocks we focused on with Eric and his team. If you’ve followed Eric’s journey, you’ll remember that Big Rocks are defined as the critical success areas that get served priority timing through action planning, time management and strategy, while the small day-to-day stuff will find a way to fit within that. Eric and All-Ways Painting were climbing three big rocks:

1. The Strategic plan and organizational chart.

2. Analysis and organization of the financial systems and processes.

3. Recruting and hiring to help focus on building a high-performance team.

With my team of senior coaches, we helped Eric focus and create an action plan around each of these critical topics.

Big Rock #1: The Organizational Plan

I, Brian, worked with Eric on his organizational structure and strategic goals by looking at his role in the company, the members on his team, and what needed attention in order to put Eric on the path to achieving his vision and being able to live his values.

We started off by asking, “What does All-Ways Painting want to look like as an organization in three years, and what values are driving the team culture?” We worked on shaking up the existing organizational chart and taking Eric out of roles he didn’t belong in if there was an opportunity to delegate. We also created “position vision,” so that members of the team had a full understanding of not only their responsibilities, but where the position’s career path could lead. Remember, if you want a highperforming team, you need to continually focus on evolving the individuals in those roles. When your goals and your employees’ goals are aligned, there lies the road to success.

Big Rock #2: The Numbers

To focus on the improvement of his company’s financial systems, Eric worked with NCG coach and financial specialist Andrew Amrhein, whose goal was to help Eric gain a better
understanding of his numbers, restructure the process of reporting, and learn how to delegate roles within accounting. Analysis of the numbers and understanding how to make
strategic business decisions based upon that data will be a lifelong learning experience. There is always room for improvement and more to know, but Eric is now set up to be
looking at his metrics, and he has the right people in the organization to help guide the decisions he makes based on this information.

With a new bookkeeper in place to help with the accuracy of his numbers, Eric can more confidently drive the company forward. Utilizing the team and asking questions is all a part of putting your business on track for strong financial management. Remember, as the business owner, you want to be making decisions that will allow you to step out of the hourglass and work ON the business. Knowing your numbers will help you do this, because now your decisions will be data-backed!

Big Rock #3: Hire Like You Market

Lastly, Eric worked with NCG coach and HR specialist Kathryn Freeman on understanding his recruiting and hiring processes: the accountability, delegation needs and struggles. You might remember that Eric was trying to hold both the recruiting and hiring responsibilities close to the vest. He feared relinquishing control, yet he didn’t have the time to give it the focus it deserved. We’ve been working with him on this delegation and the “trust but verify” concept as a guiding pillar.

Eric is working on prioritizing the recruiting and hiring process the same way he would focus on marketing his services. We often say, “recruit like you market” and put energy behind it. Give it focus; put the right person in the role to manage it. Your job, as the leader, is to make sure you are continuing to cascade the vision and culture down the waterfall of company hierarchy so that while you might not be doing the hiring, any new hire still feels your presence and values emphasis. Eric is now implementing this in his daily meeting with the team – they are focusing on and naming the company values on a regular basis.

Moving Forward

As coaches, we’ve established that Eric has paved a well-thought-out and strategic road ahead, but now he needs to take the wheel and drive the path. There will always be new challenges and new milestones to hit; the work is never done. Meeting these challenges and milestones is the truest test of the leader and often the most rewarding.

We believe Eric’s biggest challenge in this new environment will be creating and shaping the team culture of All-Ways Painting with the established new roles and hires that are brought in, but he now has the tools and resources in his toolbox to continue to follow his leadership instincts and let them shine. Some of these include:

  • Pause, Reflect and Choose (P.R.C.) to keep decisions nonemotional and rational.
  • Control the controllables.
  • Pivot well and adapt.
  • Trust but verify.
  • Cascade the vision and the culture top down.

We’re optimistic about the future of All-Ways Painting and the vision Eric has set for himself and his team. It is experiences like this that remind us why we love what we do at Nolan Consulting Group – we help small business owners become leaders and continue defining the best version of themselves. That is rewarding.

Thanks to APC for allowing Nolan Consulting Group to be part of another “Mission: Vacation” experience! We look forward to next year’s adventure and the road ahead.


So what’s Eric’s next big decision? Where to take his vacation!

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