Building the Mindset of a Leader through Growth with Sam Frank at Four Twelve Roofing
Running a business is more than just the right strategy and getting the work done. Leaders must have the correct thinking to create a team that feels empowered. The mindset of a leader includes the way they see themselves and see the world. It is all about the beliefs of leadership. Today’s guest is Sam Frank, Partner at Four Twelve Roofing. Inc Magazine ranked his company #122 on the 2020 Inc 5000 list. Established in 2013, Four Twelve Roofing is a roofing company in the Baltimore, MD area. Sam shares his perspective on the mindset of a leader. We look at expanding your thinking in this interview. Join me to discover how to create to shift the mindset of a leader.
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Sam Frank: The Transcript
About: Sam Frank is a Co-Founder and Partner at Four Twelve Development LLC. Working as “the inside guy” for our Roofing and General Contracting company, managing all aspects of business development. Tasks range from managing relationships, sales, marketing, estimating, finance, construction management.
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Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.
Sam Frank: Having those repetitions, those meetings to sharpen my ETQ my ability to communicate my understanding of our customers and our product and our messaging, I think has been extremely valuable in terms of so reading and then taking some of that, you know, sharpening of my sword to. How I approach CEO duties and leadership as a manager has paid more dividends than anything that I’ve done in terms of training myself for getting to a place where you’ve got, you know, a, a multi-million dollar company and you’re leading. Staff or say, 40 employees.
[00:00:42] Intro: Welcome to Growth Think Tank. This is the only place where you will get insight from the founders and the CEOs, the fastest-growing privately held companies. I am the host. My name is Gene Hammett. I hope leaders and their teams navigate the defining moments of their growth. Are you ready to grow?
[00:00:59]Gene Hammett: The strategy to drive your business forward is so important to your success. The strategy is all of the big concepts of you moving forward, your business model, your marketing approach, the sales approach, how you operate and position yourself in the market. All of those are very strategic initiatives, but you know what else is important to become a fast-growth company? It’s the mindset of a leader. The mindset of a leader is really different than those that are the mindset of managing others. And the mindset of a leader is what we talked about today with Sam Frank. He is the partner inside of Four Twelve Roofing. They were number one 22 on the Inc list. We talked about the mindset of a leader. He talks about leading by example and what that really means. He talks about some of that. Specific frameworks he uses inside of his company to, you know, provide connection across the company, not just at the executive level, but across the company. Every employee is doing these three things and answering these three questions specifically that I will share with you inside today’s conversation about the mindset of a leader. When you think about your own growth as a leader, you have to work on how you think about yourself. The beliefs that you have around leadership, the beliefs that you have around others, how much you trust yourself, all of that comes back to mindset. So today we’re going to talk about something really near and dear to me is the mindset of a leader.
[00:02:25] You may not know much about my personal story, but the very short version of it is, is I ran a fast-growth company and I wasn’t prepared to be a leader. Being honest with you. I had hired out a bunch of people to help me scale the business forward. And we were working really hard and I was working harder than everybody. And I felt more like a firefighter than a CEO. One of the big mindset shifts I made was getting out of that firefighter mode and becoming the CEO of a company and truly becoming a leader, not just someone who solved the problems of others. Now a lot of people get this confused. And I share this story with you in a micro version, because I want you to understand I’ve lived this myself. I’ve continued to live this and upgraded my own life to become a stronger leader through my mindset. And if you want to continue to evolve or you want to really push yourself to make sure you reach out to me, I’ve got some. No content on-site ofgenehammett.com that will really help you become a stronger leader.
[00:03:19] If you want to have a conversation, that’s the best way I know for you to really take your own leadership to the next level. Just go to genehammett.com and go to start your journey. No. Here’s the interview with Sam.
[00:03:30] Hey Sam, how are you?
[00:03:32] Sam Frank: Hey, Gene. Thanks for having me on your show. Really appreciate it.
[00:03:35] Gene Hammett: Well excited. Yeah. Have you on the podcast growth, think tank to talk about leadership and culture that drives fast-growth companies. And I’ve already let our audience know a little bit about you and what we talk about today, but I’d love for you to tell us about Four Twelve Roofing. What are you guys up to there?
[00:03:48] Sam Frank: So I think one of the reasons we’re on this show is because we made the Inc 5,000 lists for the fastest 5,000 private growing companies in the country. We ranked number one 22 on the Inc 5,000 list that we, we are a roofing contractor company. There were several roofing contractors on the Inc 5,000 list.
[00:04:11] We were. The highest-ranked roofing contractor on the list. So technically what I’ve been telling folks is we are the fastest growing roofing company in America. And we are based out of Baltimore city and specifically the city. I live in the city, my business partner lives in the city. And a lot of what has fueled the growth of our business, I would say is a Renaissance of people moving back into Baltimore city, investing in residential construction like townhomes. This is a city of townhomes. And particularly looking for a contractor that provides a very high level of quality and service when it comes to exterior construction projects, specifically roofing and deck projects in Baltimore city.
[00:05:03] Gene Hammett: So you have about 40 employees, Sam, is that right?
[00:05:05] Sam Frank: Yes.
[00:05:07]Gene Hammett: When you think about your leadership, and I know we’re going to talk about mindset today. I think a lot of leaders think that they have a pretty solid mindset. Was there a time when you can think back in your journey as a leader here where you weren’t focused on mindset, you were just focused on the other stuff that, that typically takes up our mind space?
[00:05:25] Sam Frank: Yeah. I mean, I think that’s a natural progression as you start a business, especially if you’re in a leadership role within the business. I mean, I think that, so basically our journey over the last couple of years, you know, we basically went from zero to $2 million in, in our first full year of doing roofing projects, which was about three or four years ago. And essentially to get from zero to that number we needed to set up the marketing to get the phones, to ring them. We needed to start, you know, getting out there and doing sales and then we needed to start just kind of fielding as the business grew, putting the pieces into place so that we could grow. A lot of that is building out the model, the operations of the business, and focusing on that. But as we’ve grown, we’ve hired more staff.
[00:06:14] We’re starting to get to a level where we’ve got departments and people that run departments. And there’s a great book called scale about growing a business. And it talks about, you know, different tiers of businesses as you grow. And one of the things that I’ve held on to is, Hey, as you grow and you get to this level where kind of we’re at now where you’re starting to get departments with different people and specialized functions is that you should be starting to look for lieutenants within your or VPS. Probably more commonly in, in the business of different departments. That can be people that have had longevity. Well LT. They’ve proven that they’re a good worker and that they can be a steward of these different functions of the business for you as an owner, and then starting to manage those people and their departments, as opposed to doing all of those things and kind of everyone bailing water out of the boat. You know, when you first start.
[00:07:07] Gene Hammett: Well, that’s what typically happens inside of scaling companies, but there gets a point where there’s a little bit of a breakdown and I don’t know if you had a specific moment you can look back to, but where you didn’t have the right mindset to continue to grow the company. Is there a moment that you can think of that you’d share with us?
[00:07:24] Sam Frank: I think that it’s all happened so quickly, so we’ve kind of just taken it in stride. I mean, now this year is going to be our fourth full year doing roofing and we’re projecting to do between five and 10 million in revenue. The last couple of years we did about two, three, four.
[00:07:41]So this year we’re really hoping to make a big leap. One mindset of growth going into this year is we find we had some marketing vendors and kind of campaigns that have worked really well for us. And our KPIs on those campaigns have shown us that we’ve got some really good like cost per lead acquisition. Doing those. And basically, I decided, Hey, I want to grow out of this smaller area where we are and become a big company so that we have people in departments with functions and can be more organized. And w like an example of a big leap is we increased the marketing budget substantially for things and doing campaigns that might not necessarily have as good of, you know, KPIs. But we recognize that we want to be a bigger brand to get to that level. And that was a mindset of growth where I was like, Hey, I know this has been working for us, but I know that this is what we need to do to get to this next.
[00:08:38] Gene Hammett: Now you talked a little bit about, you have a year-end experience you do for yourself, but also your employees where you’re looking and reflecting on what has happened. Tell us a little bit about that reflection. Yeah. So, we do a cool thing. We do, we do monthly meetings for the company.
[00:08:55] Sam Frank: We call it our all hands on meeting on the last Thursday of every month. And the last two years at the end of the year, we’ve done. Basically, we call it a time capsule and we have three questions for people we say, Hey, what are your goals for yourself professionally? What are your goals for yourself personally? And then what are your goals for the company in the coming year? And we basically have people answer those. And then we put them in the time capsule to read next year to see, you know, how we did. And I was just telling Gene, that basically, I realized that my goal for myself personally was the same last year, as well as this year. And I didn’t even, I didn’t even look at my time capsule until after I had written my one for this year. But essentially my personal goal for myself is that I want to be present as often as I can throughout my life. And I think that that’s one of the things I talked to. You about as well before we started chatting, is that you know, enjoying the process of building this business and joining the journey is something that I don’t want to be so bogged in the work and the stress of making sure the financials work and the sales and managing people that I can’t be in the moment to experience the journey and be a part of this.
[00:10:09] Gene Hammett: I know there are benefits for me when I’m present, but I’m kind of curious what, what are the benefits for you when you’re present with your team?
[00:10:15]Sam Frank: I think that it creates a softer side of myself as a manager. I can think about, you know, my, my employees not just in terms of their function as staff members, but Hey, what makes this person successful in terms of how I nurture them as a person how I lead them as a person? I think that. Also, there are so many fun things about growing this. You know, you hear all these like rappers when they talk about rapping, they always, the glory days there are when you’re a nobody, and you’re coming up and you’ve got that chip on your shoulder. And then eventually, you know, you become someone, but I think you know, appreciate, even if you’re not making money as an entrepreneur, starting a business, you got to hope that, you know, if you’re doing this. That the ROI of building your business is going to be substantial enough for you to want to pursue this journey. And you, you know, I think that in any person and grows a successful business, you look back on those early days and really have a lot of appreciation. So I just want to be in the moment. For this journey, you know, like for instance, we moved into this amazing facility where we bought some real estate and have converted it into this state-of-the-art roofing business shop and being there to put like the bulletin board in the lobby and putting interactive.
[00:11:34] Fun things on the bulletin board to interact with staff being available, not just booking myself for sales call after sales call and operational meeting after operational meeting, but actually having some downtime at the office to chat with people about what they’re working on to bond with staff and being available as a boss. And I think those, those things about the process, those are really a treat that, that you get to experience as someone building a business. And I want to be there for those moments.
[00:12:01] Gene Hammett: I appreciate you sharing all this with us. Sam. I want to go deeper into this whole issue of mindset because I think a lot of leaders think they have a strong evolved mindset, but three reality I’ve seen is there’s always another level. And let’s just look at maybe confidence. Have you reached a point where you realize, okay, there’s even more confidence beyond where you are today to take the business to a new, yeah.
[00:12:23] Sam Frank: So I think about this, I listened to a podcast with Will Smith on the podcast and basically will, Smith’s talking about how. When he first got into acting you know, you don’t, you don’t necessarily, you might not necessarily believe that you can become a character or own it and be the tt man in Hollywood. And basically one of the things that he talks about is he got to a point where there was nothing that was going to whittle down his confidence, that there was no wall that he could not break down in terms of taking on a role, new role, new assignment, new movie. And one of the things he talks about as, as like a contributing factor to doing that is proving it to yourself over a long period of time through all the things that you accomplish. And I think that you bust down one wall, you bust down the next wall. You figure out how to get through this accomplishment, this hurdle.
[00:13:18] And then once you have, you know, enough notches on your belt, You really recognize that, Hey, with hard work and, and you’re, you know, the right approach that you’ve had the success at this, and you know, this is going to be part of your model now is to have these wins, have these successes and break down these barriers that are in the way of you continuing to progress upward.
[00:13:40] Commercial: Hold on for a second. Sam just said you’ve got to believe in yourself now at some level, you already believe in yourself, you’ve been successful. You’ve taken your business to the next level, but here’s the question I want you to really think about. What would it be like if you truly believed in yourself that you could overcome anything in front of you? Well, you’d become unshakeable, but I find a lot of leaders get to a point where they either get complacent with who they are. They start to play, not to lose instead of playing to win. And they don’t have the confidence that you would say is unshakeable. They’re overthinking things. They’re letting other stuff get in the way of them being the strongest leader that could be for their team. I put a spotlight on that today because I really want you to think about your own confidence level and believing in yourself to the highest degree I’ve done. Some of the inner work on this with my coaches. I’d love to help you, you know, really take your confidence and believing in yourself to the next level you have any questions? Make sure you reach out to me. genehammett.com. When you think about your own leadership, I really want you to think about how do you become unshakable and the impact that would make a back to Sam.
[00:14:45] Gene Hammett: Does that make you a better leader? When you understand that confidence that you have, and all these little walls you break down, you can actually convey that to those VPs that you talked about, right? The leaders inside your company.
[00:14:58] Sam Frank: Well, I think I think, you know, different people lead in different ways. There’s a lot of ways to lead. You can lead more silently, more vocally, you know, more through doing. And I think that one of the things I’ve realized is the more that I lean into owning the idea that. My actions and my words impact the outlook of the people on our team, at our company, and the importance of shaping those to be positive and contributory. The more I realized that it truly does impact what we’re doing, my you know, what I’m doing. And I think one of the things that have been another resolution for me recently is to lead by example. So, you know, if I’m asking people to do certain things I’ve realized that it’s a lot more effective, or this is the wise part of myself that I’m trying to learn out. Maybe I admittedly don’t do this enough and I need to do it more. But leading by example, I think is a great way to show people as a leader, how, how you want them to be.
[00:16:11]Commercial: Sam just said something really incredibly smart. You’ve got to lead by example. When you lead by example, you truly are showing up in a way that you want others to show up as when you are overthinking. When you have doubt when you’re not quite sure of yourself and your ability to rally through any challenge in front of you. You are actually giving others an example of leadership that has doubt that has really chinks in the armor. If you will. I want you to really think about, are you leading by example to the fullest extent, are you truly connected to your own values? Are you truly connected to exactly what it makes you, who you are and how that authentic leadership is? What your team needs the most? Maybe you’re not being transparent enough mean because you’re holding back. Maybe it’s because you’re, you’re not really working on the communication of being present enough. All of those things matter leading by example is one of the most critical things that you can do as a leader. And most people don’t understand how to do that. I put a spotlight on it here for you, because I really want you to understand that when you lead by example, you have the biggest opportunity to impact everyone around you. Not just in your work, not just in your home life. Everyone leading by example, rock shoe at your core and provides a foundation for who you are. When you think about that, you want to always lead by example and take it to the next level in every interaction. Right. I have with others, come back to Sam.
[00:17:36] Gene Hammett: I always have a strong mindset allowed you to be the person that you want to be, whether this is personally or professionally. Having that mindset that really drives you forward.
[00:17:47] Sam Frank: So we talked about, you know, the the the analogy I was talking about will Smith getting reps in terms of practicing and breaking these hurdles, these, these brick walls that are in front of you. I think it is related to mindset. But wait, hold on. I’m losing my train of thought. Gene, could you repeat the question one more time?
[00:18:08] Gene Hammett: How has strengthened your mindset improved your life? Whether it be personally or professionally, just continuing to work on the mindset, to be the person that you want to be.
[00:18:18] Sam Frank: Well, I think one of the things for our business I’m really big in sales. So I think that in certain businesses, the CEO or the leader of the business should be the top salesperson, training people on the sales process, and should be heavily focused on sales. One of the things I love about sales and particularly our business, we do a lot of sales is that it’s given me lots of reps to practice my ability to communicate and verbalize and, and behave around people and figure out the messaging of what I’m trying to communicate to customers and to staff about like our identity. And I think that one of the things I’ve realized is. The more I thought when we got to a certain scale that I would pull out up-sales and what I’ve realized is that I need to be involved in sales all the time. I don’t need to be, as we grow. I think I’ll probably not be involved in as many smaller sales or as many like consultation appointments. Maybe it’ll be a different form of that. But essentially having those repetitions, those meetings to share. And my ETQ my ability to communicate my understanding of our customers and our product. And yeah, our messaging, I think, has been strongly valuable in terms of leading and then taking some of that, you know, sharpening of my sword too. How I approach CEO duties and leadership as a manager has paid more dividends than anything that I’ve done in terms of training myself for getting to a place where you’ve got, you know a multimillion-dollar company. And you’re leading a staff of say 40 employees.
[00:20:06] Commercial: Most people listen to this interview on their phones. Maybe you’re listening in your car. Maybe it’s at the gym. Maybe you’re on a walk, but when you listen on your phone, you can probably get just exactly what you need. But did you know, we have a YouTube channel? We have some content over there that you won’t find anywhere else and now, you’ll see the visual aspects of it. We’re really helping you become a stronger leader, more effective. Make sure you go genehammett.com/Youtube, and you can subscribe. And become a better leader immediately.
[00:20:33] Gene Hammett: Well, I can tell you what’s on your horizon. If you want me to kind of give you a peek into what you’re interested in. So you have a sales, natural ability, and I think you’re absolutely right. You need to hold onto that as long as you can, until the point where it’s really time to let go and empower everyone else in the company to do it without you because there will be a time when. You know, when you guys are maybe 40 million that you won’t be involved as you are today. But you’ll still be there and they’ll still respect you for what you’ve done and what you’ve created and how you’ve. And you may still go on the occasional sales call, but you’ll be so pulled into so many other things that you’ll eventually let go of that. Does that scare you?
[00:21:15]Sam Frank: Well, I already feel it happening, I think this year. Yeah. We’re making a big push to, grow top-line it’s it’s one of our major objectives this year is to take probably the biggest leap in the top line that we’ve ever taken as a business. And, you know, we’re talking about resetting over the weekend and, and getting off on the wrong foot, you know, coming into Monday morning. I think one of the things that are going on with my schedule right now is between sales calls and all of the other things that I’m doing as. One of the owners of this business. I need more time to be able to do things that the business needs that might be outside of running individual sales call appointments. So already, you know, we’re making a push to hire more sales staff. And to figure out how to make the business financially viable. If I, as the owner if I pull out a sales and I think that that definitely, I mean, that’s the dream of entrepreneurship. If you can have a business that can be sufficient with the owner, pulling out more and more. And so definitely that’s a goal that we have. I just think that it’s a, it’s something that’s going to take you to know, years to do if we want to do it truly great.
[00:22:28] Gene Hammett: Well, I agree with you. But it will happen if you put your attention to it. And really here’s what the team wants as well because I talked to a lot of founders just like you through my work. And through those interviews is they want to be empowered. They want to do it themselves. They appreciate your help. They want to do that, but they don’t necessarily need it at, you know when you get to the moon to a certain point. And so. Your job is to get them to believe in themselves, just like will Smith has allowed you to believe in yourself and you, when they believe in themselves, they’ll sell maybe even better than you. That would be awesome. Wouldn’t it?
[00:23:03] Sam Frank: Yeah. And I, and I totally agree with Eugene. I think that through different business books that I’ve read and my vision of the entrepreneurial journey that I want to have. I think of rich dad, poor dad which is one of the most famous, you know, financial, personal finance books ever in terms of the like mindset of how you, how you want to start a business and how you can succeed in business. And basically other people’s time. Other people’s money is the, is one of the main principles. So, Hey, how can you. Take stuff off of your plate, have it be managed by people that are hired to do those jobs. And then how can you leverage, you know, financing say from a bank to grow your business to the next level. And I think for certain, but you know, as, as we’re thinking about our business, the dream.
[00:23:58] The absolute dream would be that we’ve got loyal, you know, very talented people that are departmental heads. And I tell people that like our staff, the people that I’m looking for are people that are going to take care of this company. Like it’s their baby in the same way that the owners take care of it.
[00:24:19] We’re looking for that agency to see who holds this with the tenderness and care that we do as owners. And, and once we build that over time trust, you know, like working relationships that develop over a long period of time, that’s, that’s kind of the staff that we’re looking to put into place to hopefully take on more responsibilities so that we can continue to scale and, and be less involved in, in certain day-to-day operations.
[00:24:46] Gene Hammett: Sam, thank you so much for sharing your journey and sharing your dream as well because I think. A lot of people listening in today have the same dream. They want people to feel like owners inside the organization. So it starts with your own mindset. I appreciate you sharing all your insights.
[00:25:03] Sam Frank: Absolutely Gene, anytime we can be interviewed or be on someone’s podcast or be featured, obviously you know over the moon, excited too, to do set. So thank you for the opportunity. Really appreciate it.
[00:25:15] Gene Hammett: Perfect. I want to wrap up here a little bit while Sam still listening in. Okay. What have we talked about today is about mindset, but it’s more than just about what you’re thinking and what you believe. It’s about how you’re showing up for your people. If you’re not showing up fully present and fully aware, of who they are and what they can do and contribute how they want to contribute, then you are missing an opportunity. And I think that. Anyone who wants to evolve as a leader has to look at their mindset differently from what got them to where they are. But then on top of that, you want to create a culture of ownership. And this is the core of the work I do. When I’m speaking with big audiences, I talk about creating that culture where people feel like owners, then they’re inspired to go beyond responsibility. So if any of that, you know, kind of interest to you, I’d love you to check out the brand.
[00:26:01] You can go to genehammett.com. If you want to get a conversation with me about what your next step is, let me help you get really clear about how you can involve your company. Just go to genehammett.com. You can find, start your journey there. I’d love to connect with you when you think of growth and you think of leadership, make sure you think of Growth Think Tank as always lead with courage. We’ll see you next time.
Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.
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