The Fantastic Mr. Hedgehog

February 13th, 2018
#HVAC, #LawnCare, #PestControl, #Plumbing, #ProfessionalServices, #FORGELY, #BUILD, #Leadership&Management, #Culture&HUPPSA

Stop me if you’ve heard this before.

A fox and a hedgehog are matched up in a one on one battle. Who ya got?

The fox is smart, wiley, strong, and fast. The hedgehog only has one talent: rolling into a spiky little ball.

Hedgehog rolls into ball

The fox is obviously the shoo-in, right?


Take it from Greek poet and philosopher Archilochus, who summarized thusly: “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.”

While the fox tries to best the hedgehog using trickery or strength, she invariably comes away frustrated, with a nose full of spines. The hedgehog’s one big thing - the spiky ball bit - helps him win every time.

While applying this idea to business isn’t a new revelation, it’s important to consider the deeper layers of the parable and what they mean for your particular company. For service business leaders, that means recognizing a basic but often-overlooked fact:

As a service company owner or manager, you’re not in the service business, you’re in the people business.

“Say what?” - You

But it’s true, isn’t it? To your customers, most of what you do, they don’t see. They aren’t impressed that your tech sprayed for mosquitoes or cut every blade of grass to the same length - that’s what they paid for. It’s the bare minimum for success. What they’re impressed by is the technician herself, and the overall experience of finding, choosing, and continuing to work with your company.

If a person can follow a set of systems and checklists, they can perform consistent service. It’s the deeper layer - the depth of knowledge, the passion for the job, the respect for the vision of the company - that makes for a phenomenal customer experience.

Which brings us back to that main point: you’re in the people business.

Forget the service you provide, because you’re not a service tech. You are the leader of a team, and your singular focus - your one big thing - should be building the very best one you can.

This is the part where you invariably say, “but I can’t find quality or qualified help to save my life.”

I know. That’s why I’m writing this blog post. And here's what I have to say about that: The key to finding those people is marketing.

Recruiting is just marketing with different clothes on. 

You market yourself to your customers, so why not do the same to your candidates? Think about it - they’re arguably making a more important decision than your customers are. They aren’t just looking for a paycheck, they’re looking for a company with vision, where they’ll fit in with their peers and enjoy their work.

That means you need to define that vision for yourself - where you want your company to go, how you want to get there, and what kind of people you think will help you get there. Once you’ve done that, you’ll already have a road map for how to market what makes your company so special - a roadmap your next amazing hires can follow to find you and join your team.

It won’t happen overnight, but there’s a lot you can do right now to get the ball rolling. Read Build, for one. This blog is just a taste of Chapter 11, Step 6. And check out our free Hiring Boot Camp, a 4-part video series hosted by our own Donnie Shelton that explores the reasons why focusing on hiring is so important, and how you can make an impact before the busy season starts.

Above all, remember: Be a hedgehog. 

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