Step into the new home office of Crew Carwash in Fishers, Indiana and you’ll see images of leaders Joe and Ed Dahm on the glass wall accompanied by these words: “We are in the people business… we just happen to wash cars.”
It’s a powerful message – the business is about people, beyond the exchange of money for a great carwash.
Not familiar with Crew Carwash? Some backstory:
Joe Dahm founded Indiana’s first automated carwash, Mike’s Minit Man, in 1948. A few years later, Joe’s brother Ed joined the business. Back then, only 18 carwashes were operating in the United States.
Fast forward to the present:
Millions of vehicles have passed through the carwash, Crew is one of the largest carwash companies in the nation, and the expanding business is on track for 10+% growth each year.
The Crew Carwash Difference
When I recently facilitated an Executive Leadership Team quarterly meeting, it was especially evident that Joe’s son, Bill Dahm, is still passionate to come to work as the 2nd generation CEO, even though he could have retired a few years ago.
Bill is free to focus his energy wherever it may be needed. He may focus on supporting the teams at individual carwashes, he may travel to their new locations in Minnesota, or he may take time to think and plan. In other words, Bill is not trapped by fixing problems during daily operations. Nor is he micromanaging others and showing up as “the boss.” Simply put, Bill is free! Why?
3 Keys to Finding Freedom Amid Productive and Profitable Leadership
Here are 3 reasons Bill can lead from a position of freedom and how you can also be free to choose where you spend your time and resources:
- Build a Healthy and Aligned Leadership Team. This is the first habit mentioned in Scaling Up, the book that provides the platform for growth. As a success coach helping create cultures that work, it quickly became obvious to me during the meeting with the Crew Carwash Executive Leadership Team that Bill personifies effective leadership skills. He has empowered each leader to trust each other. He has inspired them to practice productive conflict. And he has challenged them to weigh in and “buy in” on decisions; to seek accountability and hold others accountable; and to seek and attain common goals that ensure cash flow and profit through engaged employees.
Bill is free because his company is led by a cohesive leadership team.
- Communicate a Game Plan and Reward Success. Every quarter, through their Crew Tube online videos, everyone at every carwash is inspired to know with clarity the priorities for the company and the goals to achieve the Crew Game Plan. When these goals are met successfully, Bill and leaders throughout the organization celebrate discretionary efforts by others who go the extra mile, nurture a positive work environment, and reward business growth achievements.
Bill is free because clearly communicated goals lead to success every quarter.
- Be Purpose-driven. On the wall in the training room is a huge picture of a Crew member evoking a smile on the face of a loyal customer. The Crew Purpose is this: Create Smiles & Lifetime Customers. This purpose is a powerful force that drives high engagement scores and a compelling workplace that generates an increasing number of loyal customers.
Bill is free because the Crew culture is purpose-driven.
Before I left the meeting, Bill stopped me. “I am so excited. An employee who left on good terms to work for another employer just came back.” I asked if I could interview the employee, and it was powerful!
I asked the employee this: “What is it about the Crew culture that you decided to come back?” Her response:
“Well, I think that I see the “create smiles” side of things every day here in the office. I think everyone, it sounds cheesy, but everyone genuinely just cares about each other.
“I think it works so well here because it starts from the top down and everyone’s here to work hard. Everyone’s here to create smiles. I think that a huge part of the reason why it works here is because you have Bill and the Executive Leadership Team all exhibiting the correct things for us. It all goes back to what we do, creating smiles and lifetime customers. Everyone demonstrates that.”
The Bottom Line:
If you are a business owner, CEO, or executive leader who yearns to lead from a position of freedom, don’t underestimate the power of building a cohesive leadership team who inspires with core values as the culture glue and a core purpose “north star” that drives customer engagement, loyalty, and profitability.
Are you ready to realize your potential for purpose-driven freedom and scaling-up profitability? Take just a few minutes to complete the Scaling Up Assessment. This quick and easy tool will help you understand where you are regarding the 4 decisions you must get right when scaling up. Then, let’s connect!
Dr. Craig Overmyer is co-founder of Cultures That Work, Inc. As a Scaling Up Certified Coach, Craig and the Cultures That Work, Inc. team educate, train and coach mid-market business owners and their executive teams. After 35 years’ experience, Craig is known for leveraging easy-to-follow tools for the executive team to lead their entire company to be aligned for sustainable growth.
Dr. Overmyer is also a Results Certified Coach, Barrett Values Centre Consultant, and a Master of Business Dynamics (MBD). He is the author of Accelerate Thru Conflict-The Missing Conversations Before It’s Too Late!
A good place to begin your quest to freedom and effective leadership skills is to take the Scaling Up Assessment.
Take 4 minutes to complete the Scaling Up Assessment to know where you stand concerning the 4 decisions you have to get right when scaling up.