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The Importance of Lifelong Learning Tune in to hear from Josh Campbell, owner of multi-million dollar HVAC company, as he share what leadership means to him, and how developing that leadership in yourself and your team can help your company grow exponentially.

By Emily Washcovick

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Rescue Heating and Air

Behind the Review host and Yelp's Small Business Expert, Emily Washcovick, shares a look at this week's episode of the podcast.

Josh Campbell is a third-generation heating and cooling expert, specializing in residential heating and air. His company, founded by his grandfather, is based in Richardson, Texas, just north of Dallas, where it gets both extremely hot and extremely cold, so he needs to know his stuff and have a staff of experts.

Rescue Heating and Air boasts 4.5 stars on Yelp out of more than 220 reviews. The company employs more than 40 people and expects to do $14 million in business in 2022. Josh is about to purchase a plumbing company, so in addition to HVAC work, Rescue Heating and Air will also handle plumbing problems.

That kind of success and growth doesn't happen overnight, and it doesn't happen without great leadership. Josh has worked hard to become not just a good leader, but a great one.

"When I think of leadership, I think of a head coach, right? A mentor or a guide. I think those are the best leaders," said Josh. "I once heard an analogy of the garden stakes that you plant on a tree to help the tree grow up properly. That's what leadership is in my mind."

Another part of being a great leader is identifying the next round of leaders. There's a method to choosing the next great leader and positioning that person for success. Josh chooses people who are already working on themselves and always looking for ways to improve, which demonstrates they are coachable. After that, it's a matter of tackling a few basic principles, which are based mostly on attitude and less on talent. According to Josh, you don't have to be the smartest person in the room to be the best leader.

"It goes: being on time, work ethic, effort, body language, energy, attitude, passion, being coachable, doing extra, and being prepared. I'm looking for at least a blend of those qualities. I'm looking for problem solvers too. That's one of my favorite things."

Josh reads a lot of leadership books, which means that he's constantly working on himself while he's training other great leaders. And he's extremely intentional about who he hires—from the management to the front desk receptionist. Everyone needs to be the right fit for the company so that in every interaction with the team, the customer gets the same quality treatment.

Motivating the team to be the best is important to Josh, and making that happen can be as simple as handing out recognition in the form of a gold star.

"I think gold stars are underrated. They're little stickers and when somebody does something excellent, I think it's really good in such a core basic way to just recognize people. Somebody gets to wear a gold star around. There's a sense of pride, but everybody else gets to see that they're doing something right. And they were recognized by leaders. Pass out more gold stars."

The biggest key to leadership? Don't forget you're part of the educational process.

"I don't think there's any person that's more important to educate than the person at the top. And you can't give it to somebody else if you don't have it. So if you say, I don't have time to do that, you're just saying that it's not important to me. Whatever else you're doing with your time that you think is more important than working on yourself is not. You need to work on yourself."

Josh gives a lot of credit to his staff for making his business successful, but some of it goes to his customers and reviewers. In fact, he says reviews are an essential part of his business improvement plans.

"I got to give kudos to Yelp. The idea that a 1-star review can help me build a better business; that wouldn't have happened unless there was a 1-star review available. I remember calling up a 1-star reviewer, and initially, you're bubbling over. But then—this is early in this company—I started realizing that, whoa, this guy just helped me identify a problem. I need to send him a steak dinner gift certificate, not be angry with him."

Most business owners lament the 1-star review and laud the 5-star review. But what about those reviews in between? That's where the magic is, according to Josh.

"So somebody will get a 4-star review, and in the mind of a business owner, you immediately think, okay, we screwed up a little bit. On a 1-star review, you immediately dive in and start trying to fix that. And in a 4-star review, you're like, let's leave that sleeping dog lie.

"But I actually try to dig in on those 4-star reviews, and I write, "Hey, what could we have done to earn that fifth star?' That's a bold thing to ask. Cause now you're taking a 4-star review, which is a good review, and you're about to find out the bad, and you just ask them to air out your laundry.

"I encourage business owners to ask people how they could get the fifth star. If they're getting a 4-star review, no matter how ugly it is, they're going to help you build a better business."

What else can you expect from the episode? Hear more about:

  • Josh's leadership book recommendations
  • How to build honesty and trust in your leadership team
  • Why it's important to talk about the ugly things when building a better business.

Listen to the episode below to hear from Josh, and subscribe to Behind the Review for more from new business owners and reviewers every Thursday.

Emily Washcovick

Small Business Expert at Yelp

As Yelp’s Small Business Expert, Emily is meticulously focused on helping local business owners succeed and grow. Her expertise lies in customer engagement, reputation management, and all things digital marketing. Through speaking engagements and thought leadership, Emily shares industry insights that entrepreneurs in any business category can leverage for the growth and well-being of their businesses. She is also the host of Behind the Review, a podcast from Yelp and Entrepreneur Media, where each episode features conversations with a business owner and a reviewer about the story and lessons behind their interactions.

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