Walking in someone else's shoes


It was once rumored that a popular fast-food chain had a unique process for hiring and promoting their managers. Before being hired as an upper-level manager or supervisor, the candidate was asked to work each position they would be managing in order to understand the ins and outs of each position.

The idea of having each candidate spend the day "walking in the shoes of others" so to speak, is an interesting one that I believe the HVAC industry could benefit from greatly because like the fast-food industry, HVAC businesses also follow a linear progression from one job to the next. From HVAC technician to HVAC dealer, the progression from one position to the next follows a pretty familiar path as the experience builds and builds with each career move up the ladder.

Want to apply this technique to your HVAC company? Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • First, start with creating an organizational chart of your company. Outline who reports to whom and the general flow of responsibility. This will help your new hire know exactly where responsibility falls throughout the organization.
  • Second, let the entire company know what is expected of them when these opportunities occur. This is an excellent teaching moment but only if everyone is on the same page.
  • Finally, facilitate the initial meet and greet between the new manager and the people he or she will be shadowing; then walk away, because this is your new candidate's moment to shine and establish their role within the company. Their management of this procedure, and, conversely, your employees' response to their management is something you'll want to observe, not manage.

From procedures and paperwork to employee names and faces, "walking in someone else's shoes" gives new managers the chance to re-familiarize themselves with each of the various positions reporting to them, ultimately making them better and more efficient leaders.

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