Roland Strick Jr. wants to make every moment count. The second-generation owner of Service by Medallion is growing his company at a steady pace, from $18.5 million in 2006 to $20 million in 2007, and he projects his building maintenance company will hit $25 million in revenue by 2009.
However, the company’s consistent growth, environmental initiatives and constantly changing industry are too much for one guy to keep up with on his own.
“You sit for four hours in a conference, and so many things can transpire in those four hours,” he says.
To keep it all straight, Strick relies on his management team to stay up to date on issues concerning his 600-plus employees.
Smart Business spoke with Strick about how to build a capable management team and how to find the right role for an employee.
Q. How do you build a strong management team?
Whether you’re a pro football team or a company, you’re always trying to produce the best team. The way that I do that is (by staying) in tune. Our industry is very unique; people that come from the outside don’t usually succeed or last, so I really try to stay in tune with industry people.
I court people. I build relationships. I feel out people and try to figure out who would be the right fit. Depending on what we’re trying to accomplish is where I go.
I look at running a company like being the quarterback of a football team. You’re leading, but everyone has their roles. You have to have everyone on the same page and feeling accountable for their roles.
I surround myself with people who are going to be better than me at that role. If I’m the quarterback, it doesn’t make sense for me to go play line-man. I try to find people for the right roles.
Q. How do you decide who will be the best fit for a role?
You move people. ‘Hey, you’re not really a running back, you’re a receiver, let’s get you out to receiver.’ It’s just trying to find the right fit.
The way I go about that is just intuition. It’s just picking people’s brains, talking to people in the industry or vendors.
Most of our company is organic in the sense that we have built these people. In the early stages, we didn’t have the budget to bring on the people we have today.
Now, with the growth, we’ve been having and at the level we’re working at, I’ve been able to hire some higher-level people and bring them in from the outside. But, for the most part, it’s teaching (employees) the business from scratch.
Q. How do you earn your employees’ trust?
By starting from the bottom up. I grew up in the business. My parents are from Chile, and they started off as janitors. They really did the hard work of setting up the foundation.
My first six months out of college, I was cleaning buildings from 6 to 2:30 in the morning.
It’s different being the owner’s son; you have to really go above and beyond to gain respect because there’s a stigma that something is just being handed to you.
From the beginning, I’ve been taught to respect everybody. That’s what’s helped me be successful in life and in business. Treat everyone with respect, work hard and deliver results.
(When you do that,) people feel that sort of comfort that this guy’s got my back, and I’m going to let him lead the way.
Q. How do you develop a vision for the organization?
The vision is constantly changing. You have to anticipate the changes, develop your mission, and discuss challenges and issues.
Trying to fine-tune it really is communicating with the outside, but then I bring in my key players and discuss what I’m seeing out there, what I’m hearing and what I believe would work. I bounce it off people, and then we make our move.
Q. How do you balance input from outside sources with what you hear from your management team?
I’m very involved with everyone, constantly keeping in the loop with everything. I’ll get vibes from people, and I’ll go to a director and say, ‘Hey, I think this person is unhappy with the situation, can you get involved there?’
You might find that they don’t believe in what they’re doing, so it’s readjusting. Most of our development of our mission or goals happens within.
I reach out to the outside world, colleagues and friends that run businesses in different industries. I pick a lot of people’s brains. I try to come up with some common denominator. Then I say, ‘That would work in our business. That makes a lot of sense.’ I try to incorporate that in my business, but you can’t do that without getting buy-in with everyone. So I’ll brainstorm with them, and we’ll elevate the original idea to something that’s better.
HOW TO REACH: Service by Medallion, (650) 625-1010 or www.servicebymedallion.com