What 21st Century Leaders Do

In light of the COVID-19 global crisis, there’s been an outpouring of rich, meaningful, and caring leadership advice. Organizations like the Service Nation Inc., Service Titan, and the Go Time Success Group have gotten out front and provided useful leadership information for contractors.


So, today I am not going to write about leadership in times of crisis, instead, I am sharing leadership advice to help be better prepared for the next crisis. Because just as sure as death and taxes, we’ll encounter another situation down the road that will require your level-headed, calm, and reassuring leadership skills to navigate.


1.    Leaders are passionate about making a difference. To be of significance in the lives of people who rely on the leader, the leader must first believe and have the utmost confidence that they will make a difference. Next, the leader must take action in the difference they’re striving to make, even if it’s just a small step.

2.    Leaders have purpose. Leaders have a cause and or belief. It’s the source of their passion and inspiration. People crave to be part of a positive movement bent on making the world a better place. Leaders inspire like-valued people to join their cause and make a difference.

3.    Leaders must be warriors for the education of positive psychology. Grounded in science and not Pollyanna wish-wash, positive psychology has the power to transform lives.

4.    Leaders paint the picture of a world that’s living and benefiting from their cause. The picture doesn’t have to be alluring and enticing. But it must speak to the hearts of like-valued people clearly and concisely. 

5.    Leaders must be stewards of the picture they paint. In other words, leaders must walk their talk. In all settings and circumstances, leaders must model the desired behavior and nurture the vision. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said, “You can issue all the memos and give all the motivational speeches you want, but if the rest of the people in your organization don’t see you putting forth your very best effort every single day, they won’t either.”

6.    Leaders must be the change they wish to make. Mahatma Gandhi said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

7.    Leaders need great managers to get it done. Skilled managers, maximizing human potential, are the foundation of every great organization. 

8.    Leaders set the example of expectations for their managers. Expectations need to be continually evaluated, fine-tuned or tossed. Managers need consistent coaching and accountability to support, grow, and develop their people.

9.    Leaders are often not the star players. It takes an entirely different skill set to install and or repair a mechanical system. Leaders derive intrinsic satisfaction from orchestrating the spirit and work of others through a noble cause.

10. Leaders love chaos, mess, and ambiguity. There is no energy and creativity in neat and tidy rows of tin soldiers politely obeying orders. Leaders create hope and excitement by freeing, orchestrating, and channeling the energy of others.

11. Leaders thrive on diversity. Leaders know not much is accomplished with row after row of vanilla tin soldiers. Steve Jobs said it best, “Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

12. Leaders encourage and reward authenticity. Leaders cannot work with people who punch in and punch their true selves out at the door. Leaders thrive on engaging with like-valued people who let their souls dance about freely in the workplace.

13. Leaders power relationships by adding value. John Maxwell says, “We add value to others when we…”

  • Truly value others
  • Make ourselves more valuable to others
  • Know and relate to what others value
  • Approach and serve from a servant’s heart

14.          Leaders empathize. Leaders possess the ability to identify and understand other people’s emotions.

15.          Leaders listen. Leaders check the pulse of the world and others by listening. It’s impossible to make progress without an understanding of what needs changed, innovated, and or advanced.

16.          Leaders read books. You’d be hard-pressed to find a quality leader today who doesn’t read books or listen to books.

17.          Leaders perpetuate energy. Benjamin Zander said leaders need to be “dispensers of enthusiasm.” For leaders to persevere, they need to take care of their mind, body, spirit, and heart. 

18.          Leaders need to embrace technology. Technology facilitates change. As agents of change, leaders need to leverage technology to be effective.

19.          Leaders need other leaders. Jim Rohn famously said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Be intentional about surrounding yourself with leaders capable of adding value to your life. (Of course, you must give value as well).

20.          Leaders create leaders. Leaders can attract followers or they can develop leaders. In developing leaders, they exponentially increase company growth while inspiring personal fulfillment opportunities.

21.          Leaders continue to reinvent themselves. Leaders need to be prepared for change. And when the time is right, they need to take massive action forward, even if that means shedding their shell. 

22.          Leaders embrace the positive side of failures. Failures are learning and growing opportunities. Leaders coach and inspire managers to use failure to advance, they do not punish because of it. “Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” Winston Churchill

23.          Leaders make solid decisions. They apply critical thinking and use analytics-driven evidence to pull the trigger and achieve organizational objectives.

24.          Leaders take the seeds of the organization’s purpose and sew them into the culture. The sun (purpose) beams upon the culture, embodying possibility. Leaders cultivate, knead, and nurture the culture via the company’s core values.

25. Leaders lead by living their company’s core values. Core values are a North Star of beliefs that guides the behavior of leaders and employees.

26.          Leaders win through the deployment of adept and smart logistics. Tom Peters said, “It doesn’t matter how brilliant your vision and strategy are if you can’t get the soldiers, the weapons, the vehicles, the gasoline, the chow – the boots for God’s sake! – to the right people, at the right place, at the right time.” Strive to emulate this one-noun-visual: Amazon.

27.          Leaders laugh. And they laugh at themselves. Leaders who take action often get themselves in awkward positions. If leaders can’t laugh at themselves and focus on the positive, they’ll turn into miserly, miserable haggards of humans being completely ineffective. (If you turn into this type of human being, who will help you with your Depends when you get elderly? My daughters have drilled this into my head. I treat my daughters wonderfully).

28.          Leaders don’t immortalize their press clippings. No one gets into a leadership position without the help of others. They nurture, grow, and recognize those in their life who contribute.

29.          Leaders must execute consistently while fighting consistency. The same ole, same ole is not sustainable. Leaders support and encourage innovation. Leaders draw upon their outer circle to ingest new ideas and weigh their value against current operations – consistently.

30.          Leaders intentionally build their inner circles. These folks are influential, bring value to the table, add value to the leader and organization and positively impact others, especially others in the inner circle.

31.          Leaders intentionally build outer circles. The folks complement the leader’s strengths, they focus on tomorrow and are highly creative.

32.          Leaders use analytics to understand. Leaders use stories, however, to explain.

33.          Leaders hold people accountable. Like-valued people are grateful for this direction.

34.          Leaders lead with their strengths. And then surround themselves with others who shore up their weaknesses. 

35.          Leaders evangelize a strengths-based work culture. Read It’s the Manager by Jim Clifton and Jim Harter, the best book on management I’ve read to date.

36.          Leaders cultivate their brand. A brand is what the market and people say it is. Leaders lead and behave in a manner that perpetuates their desired personal brand.

37.          Leaders support those in their organizations who upset the status quo. Yes-men and women anchor leaders to yesterday.

38.          Leaders run for office every day. A leader’s title might place them in charge, but to stay in front, they must grind it out on a daily basis. If a leader wants to achieve something special, Tom Peters offers sage advice: “You’ve got to get the frontline commitment, the votes! You’ve got to get your customers to vote for you, your suppliers to vote for you, your employees to vote for you. How do you get them to do more than just show up? You enlist them and win their votes one $%#& day at a time!”

39.          Leaders see the world with a leadership bias. John Maxwell says that intuition is a combination of a person’s strengths and learned skills. Leaders develop their strengths and skills by observing others when they’re called to demonstrate leadership. There are some awfully good lessons to be learned in the world right now.

40.          Leaders are trustworthy. Leaders do not relent one bit, one iota, one smidgin from doing the right thing at all times.

41.          Leaders are the College Presidents of their organization. Leaders instill, cultivate, and nurture learning organizations.

42.          Leaders give respect. A byproduct of giving respect is gaining respect. Leaders build trusting relationships based on advice Mom’s have been doling out for centuries: Be respectful.

43.          Leaders attract who they are. John Maxwell says, “…who you attract is not determined by what you want. It’s determined by who you are.” Perhaps other than integrity, one of the most critical traits for a leader to possess is positivity. If the leader is lacking positive people in their organization, it’s time to look in the mirror. 

44.          Leaders begin with the end in mind.Whatever the desired picture of the fruit of their work, they start with it and then work towards it.

45.          Leaders are intentional about building their legacy. They do not leave it to chance, if they want their work to live on, they identify it, live it, and embrace the kind of people who will perpetuate it.

46.          Leaders shift when necessary. Leadershift is the ability to make a leadership change that will positively enhance organizational and personal growth. Thank you, John Maxwell.

47.          Leaders bask in the light………..of others. Almost nothing pleases a leader more than when those who they’ve worked with succeed.

48.          Leaders are growth-minded. The quintessential bible on the growth mindset is written by Carol Dweck: Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.

49.          Leaders influence people to think, speak and act in ways that make a positive difference in their lives and the lives of others. Their actions inspire people to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more. These leaders are known as Transformational Leaders. When combined with sound business acumen, Transformational Leaders will end the skilled trade labor shortage.

50.          Leaders emulate successful role models. “I studied and modeled my leadership style after the greatest leader to ever walk the earth, Jesus. Jesus started with his inner circle of 12. He modeled what it looked like to be a leader. He spent time with them, ate with them, taught them, corrected them, and loved them. Then when they were ready, he empowered them and sent them out to do the same. He didn’t micromanage but continued to model and love them.” – Chris Hunter

51.          Leaders take massive action! 


It’s Go Time!



My work is influenced by Tom Peters, John Maxwell, Jim Clifton, and Jim Harter. Their voices shine throughout these 51 points!


Dave Rothacker is an author and specializes in Idea Cultivation for Go Time Success Group.

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area!

Can UVC kill the Novel Coronavirus?

As I was in the middle of writing my article for this edition, I kept getting interrupted by phone calls, emails, and texts about our take on the Novel Coronavirus and using it as a marketing angle for the use of UVC to kill it. We have received hundreds of inquiries on the subject, and they keep coming in daily. 

I decided to shift gears and save what I was working on for my next article and to address the Novel Coronavirus since it has been the main topic of conversation in our industry and all over the media.

The Short Story:

We have been preaching and training for 30 years that with the right intensity and contact time, UVC kills viruses, bacteria, and other micro-organisms. The Novel Coronavirus is a virus and UVC will kill it. High output UVC lights have the highest kill and sterilization rates available for residential applications. More on that in the details too. 

With that said, current UVC technology has not been tested specifically against the new strain of coronavirus (COVID19), and your marketing should not make any direct claims that it has been or that it kills the coronavirus. Also, be careful with any new claims that any manufacturer of IAQ products are making as well.

The Details:

 With the right intensity, UVC energy can kill any kind of bacteria or virus. We presently don’t know the specific UVC dose necessary to kill this new Novel Coronavirus, yet viruses are some of the easiest micro-organisms to kill. Testing will have to be done to determine this kill rate, yet UVC will also disrupt its DNA sterilizing it rendering the virus harmless at even at lower UVC dosages. The amount of UVC intensity, measured in microwatts, necessary to kill viruses varies from virus to virus.

Here are a few examples, measured in Microwatt Seconds per Square Centimeter, of the number of microwatts it would take to “kill” certain viruses:

  • Adeno Virus Type III 3 – 4,500 microwatts to kill
  • Bacteriophage – 6,600 microwatts to kill
  • Influenza – 6,600 microwatts to kill
  • Infectious Hepatitis – 8,000 microwatts to kill

As you can see, some are easier to kill than others, but all are killed by UVC. Sterilization of most viruses and bacteria will occur at the 1000 microwatt range.

What we do know is it takes a considerable amount of UVC dosage to kill germs and viruses. The principle of UVC kill and sterilization is related to the intensity of the lamps used. The more powerful the lamp, the better the kill. Longer ducts with more opportunity for contact and dwell time create an environment for a better kill per pass. The slower the air is moving, the better the kill. So, we do have some variables here. High output UVC lamps are designed to meet or exceed the design parameters set forth by Westinghouse and RTI labs. These labs tested and reported that you need a minimum of a 110 Microwatt lamp in an airflow, up to 2400 CFM, to get a 70 to 85% kill on most airborne micro-organisms in a duct system. The Novel Coronavirus would fall into this category. 

A lamp’s intensity is measured at one meter from the lamp. As germs get closer to the lamp, the intensity increases. At two inches away from high output UVC lamps, the microwatt intensity can be at or above 5,814 microwatts and 963 microwatts at 14 inches away. The best application is to have the lamp shine up and down the duct to give us the optimum time and distance to allow the germs to absorb the UVC light as they flow through the duct. 

Although a 100% kill rate will not be obtained per pass, with high output UVC lamps, deactivation of the virus through sterilization is probable on every pass. Either way, kill or sterilization, the net effect is the same. If we kill it, it can’t harm us. If we sterilize it, it becomes deactivated and rendered harmless, incapable of reproducing.

The bottom line is that with high output UVC lamps, in the range of 180 microwatts at one meter from the lamp, the lamp can kill and sterilize surface and airborne micro-organisms that pass by the lamp in a typical residential HVAC system, up to five tons. 

Marketing Purposes: 

Since there are so many variables to take into consideration with UVC applications and kill rates for any virus, and the fact that UVC technology has yet to be specifically tested against the Coronavirus (COVID-19), I would suggest that you be careful on how you make direct claims using the current Novel Coronavirus situation as a marketing approach. I don’t believe you should let it ride and say nothing. You should be talking about virus and germ control on your calls, with or without an outbreak like we have with the Novel Coronavirus. Giving kill rates or making any exact claims can be problematic due to the variables involved in killing any micro-organism with UVC lights.  

Be sure in your marketing messages you are educational, clear, concise, and accurately informing your clients regarding your product’s capability. Also, attach the products to a whole strategy for prohibiting transmission. 

For best practices, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the daily precautions for preventing the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) caused by the Novel Coronavirus. Please visit:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/high-riskcomplications.html for more information.

Educate yourself on what can be done to prevent getting any virus.

 “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” – Ben Franklin

It would be okay to promote being “proactive” or “reduce the likelihood” and installing a high output UVC unit in your HVAC system is part of being proactive.  


Steve Mores is the VP of Training and Sales at Dynamic Air Quality Solutions

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area!

How to Limit the Coronavirus’ Negative Impact on your Business

News about the Coronavirus has spread far faster than the disease. More than 1.29 billion online articles have been written about Coronavirus (Covid-19). Considering that the first major outbreak occurred in December of 2019, it’s amazing how quickly it has taken over the public mindset.

I think a big reason why the news of the Coronavirus spread so quickly has to do with timing. The coronavirus came on the scene as the trade war with China was heating up. They were already in the thoughts of the public when the news released that the virus came from the Chinese providence of Wuhan. The combined force of the two news events emerged, and the news spread beyond China’s censorship control.

It’s in Your Clients’ Top of Mind Awareness

The news flowed out of China, and into the minds of your clients. And, this news has them worried! Your clients are questioning whether or not they should call their service providers. Many clients may choose to wait until after the outbreak has subsided to take care of their non-emergency.

This negative impact is already hitting contractors in a big way. At this point, I’m going to advise you on some approaches to get in front of (or at least limit) the economic impact on your business.

Three Keys to Protect Your Business During the Coronavirus Scare
#1: Have a Plan of Precaution

At this point, it is unclear how bad the coronavirus will be. I’d like to think it no worse than anything else, and it will just fade away. Yet, I don’t want to look back at these words I’m typing and regret not taking the proper precautions.

So, creating a precaution plan is prudent. Let’s start with your field reps.

To protect your field reps, you should assemble a safety and disinfectant kit. This kit should be packaged in a professional carry bag.

In the kit, you want to include the following items:

  • Medical Gloves
  • Respirator Masks
  • Paper Towels
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Soap
  • Floor Savers
  • Property Protectors (like mats and covers)
  • Spray Disinfectant
  • Trash Bags

Distribute the kit to each field representative and train them on the proper use of the kit.

Here are a few tips that will be helpful in your training:
  1. Washing hands: you must remove all debris, and wash for at least 15 seconds for the wash to be considered effective.
  2. Sanitizing your hands with alcohol is more effective at killing germs and viruses.
  3. Facial hair: I hate telling you this, but beards cause a huge problem with respirators. And not just beards, but any facial hair that prevents a proper seal on the face of the wearer. Here is a hilarious guide provided by the CDC.

#2: Communicate with your Clients

Now that you have a plan in place, you will want to communicate with your clients about your plan. I recommend that you communicate your plan in the following ways:

  • A Mass Email: send an email to all of your clients letting them know that every field representative has a truck stocked with a Health Safety Kit that includes gloves, air respirators, and disinfectants. Let the client know that every rep will thoroughly sanitize their hands before any work is started. Also, no service rep will be sent into your home if they show symptoms of illness, or if they have been exposed to anyone that has symptoms.
  • An Individual Email: before a service rep goes into the field, send a modified email with the information above.
  • Over the phone: cover these details with your client when they call in for service.

You will want to make sure that your field reps and client service reps practice communicating this information with the client. When done properly, this will build trust and assurance. When done improperly, it may cause concern.

#3: Adjust Your Marketing

This is the time to get into the studio and record your new radio ad or shoot your new video. One of the classic rules of marketing is to leverage the TOMA (Top of Mind Awareness) of the public. You may find a boost in your business if you adjust your marketing message to include your safety precautions.

In closing, you need to make sure you have a plan. The three steps above is a good start, but it may not be enough. I hope that it is enough because that will mean that the threat is being contained. As with all plans born out of a situation: keep your eye on the threat, adjust as you need to, and never panic.

Todd Liles is the Founder of Service Excellence Training and creator of the PRESS PLAY Training System.

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area!

Back to the Basics

Recently on LinkedIn, a political post and the 13,000+ comments that responded to it showed up on my home page. As I started scrolling through them because as much as I know I shouldn’t go down this rabbit hole, I really couldn’t resist. The reality of how we talk to each other was mind-boggling. I started getting angry at people I didn’t even know because of their rude comments. 

I realized we need to go back to the basics. What we were taught when we were younger is (still) important. We need to take a lesson from our earlier selves. The things we were taught and the things we preached to our children are still relevant, whether you are communicating in person, through email, or online. But it isn’t just communicating, it is how we interact in general. Here are a few that I think are important:  

    • When someone calls your name, ANSWER THEM. When someone emails, calls, or texts you, ANSWER THEM.  
    • Clean up your own mess.  
    • Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
    • Relationships require effort. Not a Christmas Card once-a-year effort, but consistent, mindful effort.
    • Be on time. If you are going to be late, let them know.
    • Be honest. 
    • Learn to manage your time.  
    • Work/Life balance is important. Cue Cats in the Cradle by Harry Chapin. If you don’t know what I am talking about, google it. Grab a Kleenex first.
    • Communication is key. Whether written or oral, work at being able to articulate your ideas and present them clearly and concisely.
    • Manners and common courtesy go a long way. Say ‘Please’ and ‘Thank You’.
    • Listen.  
    • Learn to play well with others. Teamwork is important.  
    • Sometimes being right isn’t as important as the issue at hand.

Some of these you learned in grade school, but some you didn’t realize the importance of until you were older. 

They all are relevant in today’s world, whether it be professional or personal. It’s not that I think the world is rude, or that Generation Whatever is better or worse than any other Generation. Sometimes I think we become busy and lose sight of the basics. Your turn, what ‘lost basic’ do we need to remember?

Lynn Wise is the Founder and CEO of Contractor in Charge.

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area!