By Jim Hinshaw
Just had a fun couple of mornings in meetings with Lou Hobaica. Yes, that Lou (You’ll Likea Hobaica), President of Hobaica Services located in lovely Phoenix, AZ. Lou has grown a hvac business into a conglomerate, they now do HVAC, Plumbing, Electrical, Security and Wine Cellars. Wine Cellars, is that really a market? Lou’s largest one was larger than most homes, in the middle of a home that was the size of a small Walmart. So in his case, yes, that is a market.
Back to what Lou does, and what this article is all about. We just went thru a really tough year, and while many of us had business increases, we still have some opportunities. Our team is getting tired of: Netflix, ordering out, MASKS!, gloves, sanitizer, no hugs, no handshakes, list is a long one. So how do we keep the team motivated, encouraged, and striving to hit new higher goals and better productivity?
Lou has always started his meetings with the Hobaica cheer: I’m Alive, I’m Awake, I feel great! Gotta move those hips with each segment. I even found a YouTube video of him in the hospital, IV in place, doing the Hobaica Cheer! He admits it is an unusual way to start a meeting, but he also stands on the fact that what comes out of our mouths gets turned into action. Does it three times, sometimes he picks someone to lead the cheer from the front of the room. Amazing, he led our meetings in Phoenix and Tucson with that cheer, and everyone stood up and followed his lead. I was impressed, had hear about the cheer, even saw it at his place before, but this was a group he had never met before and he is leading them in a loud, expressive cheer. And they got engaged, sat up straight, listened to his story.
I have mentioned how he got into the biz in an earlier newsletter but want to share some other things he does to strengthen his team; help keep them motivated. He has a message on YouTube on Likability. How important it is to encourage the people we are around, to have a positive attitude, smile, respond with pleasant thoughts/words/actions even when the other person is not positive, in fact, it is even more important when they are frustrated, unhappy and/or mad. He says to compliment others and listen carefully. How often do we listen, actively listen to the people around us? In many cases, we are busy planning our next statement, plotting our own course, and miss a key comment by the customer or co-worker, or even the person we find in the marketplace. It is rare to listen with intent to discover needs, wants and what the other person is thinking, it takes effort. Lou’s message is this: your likability has a lot to do with how someone is going to feel about you, trust you, do business with you.
His meetings are lively, he has face fans made up with each employee’s photo, they put them on to award members who go above and beyond. He gives out financial incentives for those who met goals or set new bar heights. Lots of interaction, and fun as well. Lou is a patriot, they all wear red shirts on Friday to honor members of the military, Lou gave out American Flag pins to each one of us in the meetings, he had one on his shirt when he arrived. He gives back to the community, his son Andy set up a charity years ago, One Bag At A Time. They do an event each month downtown for the homeless, they give out food, water, clothing, even have a barber to trim folks up. He gives out items to several hundred each month, may be thousands, Lou will probably let me know if this is not accurate.
What are you doing to improve moral this year? Some of our members have “fun events” during the summer, take a break when they are really busy to do something different, fishing, golf, bowling, you get the idea. These events help build a team, where a member will want to stay even if he or she is given an offer from a competitor at dollars more/hour. Realize today you have to do these things carefully, not always possible to get everyone together. So here is what Matt Michel, the President of Service Nation is doing these days. Every day since early March Matt has posted on our inner office messaging system a couple of things. First he has a video that is inspirational in nature, a motivational message, even a story of someone overcoming a struggle life has put in their path. Then Matt asks us how that applies to our lives, when did we feel let down, depressed, left out, and how did we get past that, what tools did we use to handle those moments. Or, if it applies, when did we feel uplifted and successful even when facing opportunities that would set us back. He asked us to share what we are looking forward to this week, the responses will amaze you. We have gotten closer as a team because we have heard how some of us got thru a medical crisis, a relationship problem, a job change and actually came out better for the experience.
So this year, commit to your employees, your team. Be sure they know you have their back, and do something different to help them stay connected to your company.
Thanks, and we will talk later.