Surround yourself with the brightest people you can find
Great idea from Brett Bean of F.E. Moran Alarm and Monitoring Company
This month’s really great idea comes from Brett Bean, president of F.E. Moran Alarm and Monitoring Company in, believe it or not, Champaign, Illinois. That’s right, home of the Fighting Illini, and the new fighting alarm dealer … fighting, this is, for the place at the top of the alarm industry food chain, is Brett Bean. He’s young, recently named one of the 40 top young people in our industry. He’s still in his mid-thirties, and has built a company that’s acquired operations in Chicago, Detroit, central Illinois and soon to be visible to all, a yet to be defined location in the southeast. I would have to say that this company is one of the fastest, if not the fastest, growing alarm companies in the industry. Brett, along with his management team and partner, Brian Moran, have a great understanding of what it takes to build a platform company.
The company, which started in central Illinois, grew through the diligence, hard work, perseverance…and all those other adjectives that Brett has in building the company. I met Brett a few years ago when we helped him acquire one of his first acquisitions, an alarm company in southern Illinois. Then a monitoring operation in the Chicago area…then an operating platform company in Detroit, and the list goes on. What I have seen in Brett that is unique, and really ties in with his “great idea” is a willingness to pitch in to get the job done. So many executives in the industry today seem to be focused on their “position” and their role in the company’s hierarchy. Brett is a guy that focuses on pleasing results, rather than pleasing activities. He gets things done. When I asked him what his greatest idea was, he didn’t hesitate for a moment. Here it is: “Surround yourself with the brightest people you can find…and go with your gut on selecting them. It seems to have worked for me!”
It does seem to have worked for Brett, but I’ve seen it work for a lot of people in this industry. Hard work is important, yes. Diligence is running your operation is equally important, but if you’re an owner or manager, then your goal has to be to replace yourself with people whom you honestly believe can do things better than you. Take a look at the top 25 names listed in the industry’s top 100 companies. In every instance, you will find a leader who has surrounded himself with the brightest. Sometimes they’re family. Sometimes they’re business acquaintances. Sometimes they’re people who have been met in restaurants, on airplanes or on the golf course. They all have one thing in common: they are bright, they are aware of what is happening, and they know how to manage.
Oh, and the one ingredient, which very few people seem to trust, your gut instinct! Let’s talk about that for a minute. Your gut instinct is really a phenomenon that psychologists and psychiatrists have known about for many decades. They know that “gut instinct” is nothing more than an intuitive reaction to something…be it a person, an event, or some other entity. The intuitiveness of managers, especially the best, almost always leads them to make better decisions than those who are not intuitive. Brett certainly learned that at an early age, and you can too, regardless of what your age is. Here’s how: when faced with a new, different or strange situation, stop and think for a moment as to what you think is the best direction for you to go in. And the answer that pops into your mind first is probably the right answer. We see this all the time when we go to restaurants and people will take one look at a menu, kind of close their eyes for a half a second and will be able to order immediately. They have learned to go with their gut instinct. And when Brett talks about choosing people and going with your gut, what he’s really saying is trust your own judgment…trust that the decisions you’re making are based in fact (and of course, that always means diligent research) and that they are based upon compatibility (surround yourself with people you like to be with, you’re going to be spending a lot of time with them).
Go to the internet, log on to any company profile of any public company and almost invariably you’ll find a listing of the company’s executives. In many cases, they are photographed as a group, standing by the front door of their building. In other cases, they are shown in the working environment, talking to people, listening to people, manufacturing something, writing something down, working at a computer…any of those things can identify what the person does, and if you look at the picture long enough, you’ll start to get a “feeling” about the quality of the person. If you do a little more research what you’ll find is that it’s true about what they say about gut instincts, you’ll recognize your own gut instinct just from a casual observation of a photo and a brief description. Sit down and talk with Terry Olah at ADS…or for that matter, any of the Bonifas boys. Call Russ Cersosimo at Guardian in Pittsburgh. Talk to Stan Oppenheim in New York. Call Steve Berniklau in Albuquerque. Call Rod Garner in Salt Lake. And ask all of them the same question: “Did you do it all by yourself, or is your success predicated on having a good management team?” Trust me, the answer you will uniformly get is “I couldn’t have done it without the quality people who surround me. They are what this business is all about!”
Brett’s idea is superb, and it’s an idea that you can use no matter where you are in your organizational structure…surround yourself with good people, even if they appear to be smarter than you are, better at their jobs than you are or any combination of the two, and you will invariably rise to the next level of competence in your organization. Have a good trip…and drop me a note if you have a “really great idea.”