My guest on this episode is Tom Birchard. Tom has spent a great portion of his career managing service and operations teams for Ingersoll Rand and Trane, and as of March 2022, has taken a president role with a family office to acquire home services businesses. The family office is Whitney Wilder and it’s technically a multifamily office based in St. Petersburg, Florida, that operates like a private equity firm, but without a fund, giving them lots of flexibility, investments, and timelines. The office was formed after some successful real estate investments and their next move is acquiring home services businesses with Tom leading that new effort.
Tom and I discuss managing projects and teams, getting to know a new team and designing successful transitions, how to handle having an iPad thrown at you, and involving family more in your career, among other team management topics. Enjoy.
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The First 90 Days by Michael Watkins
Buy Then Build by Walker Deibel
The Effective Manager by Mark Horstman
(4:44) – Tom’s career and background
(6:36) – What does IR & Train do?
(7:59) – Tom’s transition into family office & different roles he’s held during his career
(10:23) – What were some common themes you saw in successfully managing teams of different sizes?
(11:42) – How would you define the management role as the size of the team differs?
(13:44) – Are there nuances in managing teams with different missions?
(16:16) – How do you think about improving as a manager and getting feedback from your team?
(19:30) – How do you encourage teams to give genuine feedback?
(22:07) – What have you learned about managing difficult transitions?
(24:21) – What are some effective ways to build relationships with key team members early on in a new management role?
(27:15) – How do you start working on the early wins to build trust with your team?
(29:53) – How do you approach a team member who isn’t pulling their weight and determine whether it’s a firing vs. training solution?
(32:04) – Where did you get your interest in SMB?
(35:38) – How did you bring your wife into these decisions?
(38:38) – Do you involve owner’s families when potentially acquiring a company?
(40:45) – What college class would you teach if it could be on anything?
(41:41) – What’s a strongly held belief you’ve changed your mind on?
(43:41) – What’s the best business you’ve ever seen?
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