Award-winning plumber Matt Reynolds takes lessons from the BRW Rich Listers, athletes and icons to help you set goals, develop people and understand your limits.

In the past 10 months I’ve produced a podcast called Trench Talk, which has meant travelling the country and visiting the homes and businesses of movers and shakers. I set out to discover what makes high-achievers tick and how they do it.

Here are three of the most important lessons I’ve learned:

Anthony Koutoufides

Through his football career, Kouta learned to be open to anything that could help him improve and perform better.

At one point, he explained, he was advised to see a club psychologist, so he did it.

Kouta followed the advice he received and, every day, he wrote in his diary “I can, I will, you just watch me”, then he highlighted it.

Although he initially found the process embarrassing, the daily practice helped him to focus and his training immediately improved.

Instead of just going through the motions, he began to look at his weaknesses and train specifically to turn them into strengths. It worked, his self-confidence soared, which carried through to more consistent performances on the field.

Phillip Di Bella

“What business are you in?” is a question Phillip often asks business owners.

Despite their response, he quickly reminds them that they’re in the people business, regardless of their industry.

Phillip credits a lot of the success he had growing Di Bella Coffee to the team he built and offered a ton of advice on the subject.

The simple things like learning how to build relationships, how to emotionally engage with people, how to work with people and being authentic in how you deal with others are all important aspects of developing company culture.

If you have a problem with an employee you should tell them, he told me, and let them tell you if they have a problem too. He understands that everyone wants to feel important.

Good people may be hard to find but you should hire people whose values align with both your own and the company’s. It’s a daily task to reinforce those values, so you also need to live them yourself to be an effective leader.

Phillip doesn’t believe in closed doors and secrets, and although there is a direct correlation between your willingness as a leader to share information with employees and employee buy-in to your overall vision, you need to share only what’s relevant.

He also encourages employees to share and express their own ideas.

Communication is the key to an amazing culture and that includes allowing employees to choose their own rewards.

Ryan Trainor

With results comes confidence, that’s perfectly natural, but you need to be careful not to fall into the trap of believing you are the centre of all good ideas, according to Ryan.

It’s easy to start creating a false narrative around the success you enjoy and begin to overstate your influence on your outcomes. Often, that then means you start overreaching in your own capabilities.

To make better decisions, you need more data. You need smart people in the areas you are not strong to help you. You cannot grow and make all the decisions yourself. The mindset needs to shift and the more you scale, the more you need expert help because you have less influence over things yourself. Intuition still plays a part, but the further you go, the more you need people to challenge your thinking and you need to start putting your ego to the back.

It’s worth asking yourself; what could happen in your business if you wrote your own goals down every day, you developed your people skills, invested in relationships, remained self-aware and surrounded yourself with smart people?

All three interviews can be found in full at xrm.com.au/podcast.

Matt Reynolds is an award winning plumber who writes about the game as an industry insider. You can connect with him on Twitter @MrMattReynolds or find him as the Director of XRM Plumbing Services on LinkedIn.

Matt will be speaking at Master Plumbers Victoria next breakfast on July 17 at The Meadows, Broadmeadows. He will be discussing the rise of Techno Tradies and how technology is changing the plumbing industry he might even reveal some more tips from the rich list.

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