Reverse Role Models

by | Feb 9, 2023 | Leadership

What can you learn from observing people or companies you don’t want to be like?  

I’ve experienced a number of reverse role models, especially early in my career, and have learned many lessons on what NOT to do!  

Before Service Express, I worked for a company in Grand Rapids selling long-distance services. I watched how they led the company and didn’t get it. I knew that if I got into leadership, I never wanted to be like that. They spent so much money on recruiting firms, each hire was $5,000 at the time, yet their turnover rate was over 100%. Every 90 days, they’d lose almost their entire sales team.   

I lasted there for about a year, and I was proud of myself for staying that long. I couldn’t understand how they could spend all that money on recruiting firms and then micromanage and beat down their teams. I didn’t get the business model and knew I wanted to do the opposite if I got into leadership. I want to feed into people, have a low turnover rate, hire right, then coach and develop teams as much as I can.   

While this company was my reverse role model, I learned a lot from it. They had robust sales training, and I learned a lot of the foundational sales skills that I still use today. Again, I couldn’t understand the amount of time they spent training you only to have such a high turnover rate. There were some good and some bad.   

I saw micromanagement there and from other leaders early on in my career, and I even continue to see it today. Some people micromanage and try to be on top of everything and end up being workaholics. They overwork themselves, burn out and frustrate their teams. Why hire talented people if you’re going to micromanage them? Talented people don’t want to be micromanaged. They want to be given direction and know what’s expected of them and what you want them to achieve. Then let them do it! Be there to help, support, guide and give feedback, but don’t micromanage!   

When I came to Service Express as a Sales Manager and now as President & CEO, I made a conscious effort not to micromanage. There’s too much going on to do that anyways! We couldn’t have scaled from 15 to over 1,000 employees globally if I had been on every sales deal and service call. We wouldn’t be anywhere close to where we are now. 

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About Me

I am the President & CEO of Service Express, a National Best & Brightest Company to Work For. Service Express has averaged double digit growth every year since 2001.

We attribute our success to a unique corporate culture that we call The Service Express Way. I am a member of the Young President Organization and sit on the Board of the Spectrum Health Foundation.