All leaders want more teamwork across the company. Fast growth companies know the principles of optimizing teamwork. Learn how you can develop the skills necessary to engage high-performance teams. Today’s guest is Joshua Bieler, President at Vector Force Development, LLC. Inc Magazine ranked his company #151 on the 2021 Inc 5000 list. Vector Force Development is a construction source for underground construction support services to include sewer camera inspection, traffic control, hydro vacuum services, and workforce solutions. Joshua shares how optimizing teamwork leads to happier employees and more robust company performance. He talks about what gets in the way of collaboration. Discover how you can lead powerfully and the power of optimizing teamwork.
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Joshua Bieler: The Transcript
About: Vector Force Development Is Your Construction Source For Underground Construction Support Services to include sewer camera inspection, traffic control, hydro vacuum services, and workforce solutions. We engage partnerships resulting in innovative, cost-effective, and quality utility construction. We create long-term value for our customers by understanding their goals and delivering comprehensive, innovative solutions that exceed their expectations in a safe environment.
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.
Joshua Bieler: [00:00:00] We, that’s kind of got different desks definitions from, from where we’re coming from. So we have a bunch of different partnerships in our, we, we refer to our clients with partnerships where, you know, they, they need to hire people to build out the business and, and we’re going to partner with them to do that, but also partnerships among our divisions within, within the company and really providing, our leaders in the company, individual empowerment and then ownership of risk. So they. They have some ownership in what they’re doing. And so they’re able to make those decisions, but also understand that, that they carry some of that risk on the decisions that they’re making. And so, as long as we’re all focused on, you know, the end goal, the past gone forth, and then they have that power to really make those decisions. And, and I think that’s a big part of what we try to do.
Intro: Welcome to Growth Think Tank. This is the one and only place where you will get insight from the founders and the CEOs, the fastest-growing privately held company. I am the host. My name is [00:01:00] Gene Hammett. I hope leaders and their teams navigate the defining moments of their growth. Are you ready to grow?
Gene Hammett: Today we look at collaboration specifically, optimizing teamwork across a big company. That’s growing fast. When you want to align people. It takes a lot of communication, a lot of leadership, and, but the payoff is pretty amazing. I work with companies to help them figure out how to do this all the time. But today’s interview is with a special company that I’ve seen, to just doing some amazing things in the world of veterans. And so I’m going to bring you this conversation with a lot of joy. We have Josh Bieler. Who is the CEO of Vector Force Development. They do. , they bring in veterans to help them find jobs in the energy sector of our world. And they have an incredible program. They have a lot of training that goes into this, and they’re making a big impact in the world. And we’ll talk about that a little bit today with Josh. The mission of the company is such an important thing. I really love what they’re doing, but also some of the things that they do to create optimized teamwork, and they do this [00:02:00] over and over again through values, communication, transparency, empowerment, you hear all those themes inside today’s interview with Josh.
When you think about your own journey of as a leader, are you concerned about being a people pleaser? Are you concerned about kind of what gets in the way of you being your best leader? Well, I hear this a lot. I love to help you figure out the blind spots, the fears that are, that really need to be understood so that you can move beyond them. You’d have to understand them first and being a people pleaser is one of those dangers inside of leadership that I hear quite often. When you think about your own journey of leadership, I want you to be very clear about what your next steps are. Most people know what their strategy is and steps for that, but they don’t know how they’re growing and becoming as a leader. That’s my job. As an executive coach, I want to help you figure out your next step, build a plant and support you and challenge you and do it all in a caring way. If you want to have that conversation with me, just go to GeneHammett.com and schedule your call, I’d love to support you. Hope you grow as a leader, the leader that your team deserves. Just go to GeneHammett.com and schedule your call. Now, all you have to do is keep tuned in here because we have Josh going to [00:03:00] talk about optimizing teamwork. Take it away, Josh. Hey Josh, how are you?
Joshua Bieler: Doing good. How are you doing?
Gene Hammett: I am fantastic. Excited to have a conversation with you about collaboration. We’re going to dive into some very interesting conversations today.
When you, you made this ink list recently, 151, you have this company Vector Force Development. Tell us about what you guys do. ,
Joshua Bieler: I mean, we really started where we’re searching sales, veteran own business, you know, I’m a veteran myself. And so what we wanted to, the way we started this company was, you know, every business growing business has a workforce shortage. And there’s a lot of transitioning veterans that are coming out every day, of the different military organizations. And so we saw an opportunity that, Hey, these guys need jobs. Let’s, let’s be the liaison to get these military transitioning military members out into the civilian workforce as they’re transitioning out of their military careers. And, I have a background in the energy utility industry and, there’s a, there’s a workforce shortage there and we kinda put those two together and it [00:04:00] meant like a puzzle piece and, and started building this company, providing workforce solutions and building out and providing ancillary support services, utility, and energy construction site, just to provide more opportunities to place more veterans. And some different energy roles.
Gene Hammett: Love that. We talked a couple of weeks ago. I have a background in the energy industry. I’m not going to go into it cause, 25 years ago or so, different. I know more about meter reading than most humans on this world. ,
Joshua Bieler: there’s a lot of, that’s going to meet reading. ,
Gene Hammett: I wrote a book about the different technologies at the time. It was really cutting edge, and it’s not really useful that much, but you can send data through the power lines to read that’s one example. But, I won’t, I won’t bore the audience with some of those, those old school ways of thinking of data collection, Josh, you, really impressive with what you’ve done with the company and every company has different things that make them really who they are. You have shared with us, that collaboration is a central point part of your company. Why is [00:05:00] collaboration so important for your company?
Joshua Bieler: Well, yeah, it’s really, I mean, from the micro-level, it’s, you know, teamwork, teamwork, we, we, we have a bunch of different people, a bunch of different backgrounds, and we all have, you know, define a focal vision mission of the company. And in order to get that out there, especially as our company grows. And we’re not centrally located. So we have operations all over the place, across the US and so really, and we have different divisions, a different business units within the company. And so making sure that you know, from a customer standpoint, from a safety protocol standpoint, from a vision standpoint, That we are all collaborating from a company-wide perspective to ensure that yeah, our mission and our vision is not just at this executive level, but throughout the company, down to the people with the shovels in their hands, down to everybody across the company, that we’re all kind of tracking towards the same goal. And so, you know, from that company level, it’s, it’s collaborating that way, [00:06:00] but also. You know, from an individual management level, that our managers are being transparent with their employees on what’s supposed to be getting done and, you know, trust in each other that both they know what they’re supposed to do. And if they don’t that they’re communicating that and that we are listening to our employees and, and understanding what their needs are, , and providing that service from a leadership management perspective.
Gene Hammett: Josh, my job is to pick up on the things that you say that we need to go deeper into. I think I counted four times you said the word mission. I’m going to, I’m going to test you a little bit here. What is the mission of the company? And then I’m going to add some follow-up questions.
Joshua Bieler: Yeah. So the mission of the company is it’s very simple. It’s, providing opportunities for veterans to Excel in the energy industry. And so, you know, that’s kind of broad, but it really is a singular focus on what we’re trying to do and really in order for that mission to be successful. It’s, you know, listed in our core values where it’s a safety partnership, family [00:07:00] service, and focusing on those and by being successful at those core values, then we are increasing the opportunity. For a vet in that energy workforce. And that’s, that’s really what our mission is. And that the defining focus on, on, on what our team’s goals are starts with that mission and then understanding and building on those core values helps them be successful at that, at that mission and that, and everybody’s kind of driving towards the same thing.
Gene Hammett: You’re not familiar with my research, but I’ll clue you in, so the audience can be on the same page. I study fast-growth companies. And of course, you know, that, but one of the things that come out of this is every founder I know, says, you know, I really want our employees to take a sense of ownership of that. And what I found over and over and over is mission is a big part of that. If there were a formula mission would have to be in that, that sense of ownership you use the word partnership. Is that kind of the, a similar kind of word around ownership?
Joshua Bieler: Yeah, that’s good. I mean, partnership. , we that’s kinda got different definitions from, from where we’re coming from. So we have a [00:08:00] bunch of different partnerships in our, we, we refer to our clients as partnerships where, you know, they, they need to hire people to build out the business and, and we’re going to partner with them to do that, but also partnerships among our divisions within, within the company and really providing, our leaders in the company. Individual empowerment and then ownership of risk. So they feel they have some ownership in what they’re doing. And so they’re able to make those decisions, but also understand that, that they carry some of that risk on the decisions that they’re making. And so, as long as we’re all focused on, you know, the end goal, the past going forward, then, then they have that power to really make those decisions. And, and I think that’s a big part of, of what we try to do and what we strive for within, within that partnership around.
Gene Hammett: You mentioned core values too, and this is near and dear to what we do here on the show is, is telling stories of how companies are using core values in our unique way. Anything that comes to mind about how you’re bringing this up in a day-to-day [00:09:00] conversation or a weekly conversation that you could share with us.
Joshua Bieler: Yeah. So, I mean, again, our core values it’s, it’s really, I mean, we, we kind of have even a, a logo that has our core values on it that we put into our briefings or put into our discussion notes. We always start our meetings with the, with the safety point where, you know, we talk about, Hey, out on the job site, what are some hazards that we run into or what’s something, Hey, there’s a change in weather. You know, let’s talk about that. Or, Hey, you know, I read someone on texting while they’re driving. Let’s make sure that, that we’re focused on that because you know, our, our number one core value is safety and getting people home at night. So that’s always what we’re talking about all the time. And then family, that’s a big part of it. You know, a lot of our employees come from the military and understanding that. You know, we’re not put on this earth to work for Vector Force Development. We’re put on this earth to be with our families and friends and enjoy life. And the Vector is helping provide opportunities so people can enjoy their lives, but, you know, that’s a big part of it. And the [00:10:00] support structures, all the employees, family’s, a big, is a big part of the Vector family too. And so we want to, we want to look at that service, you know, that brought on as part of our core value where, you know, we are providing specific services, but we’re also serving our employees, you know, and I think that’s a big part of leadership.
Is being able to service those employees and understand, you know, what they need, where they’re coming from and, and having some of that empathy and really getting down and listening to what people need, what people want and you know, what is working, what’s not working. And that really goes into back to our first core value of safety is, you know, if someone goes on a job site and they don’t feel comfortable, what are we doing to fix that? Or is it voicing hurts when they want to stop work or, you know, those types of things. And then with partnership is one of our core values, , that is just adhering to being a good partner and mutual respect with the different teams and organizations and groups that were working with.
Gene Hammett: We came here to talk about collaboration. And you mentioned we really it’s all about [00:11:00] optimizing teamwork. What else do we need to go over in this, this world of leadership? When you think about optimizing teamwork.
Joshua Bieler: Well, I mean, collaboration’s, you know, a big fee where the other big C words communication and, you know, there’s, there’s really no collaboration without communication. And I think that’s, it’s a blanket word within when it, with leadership, it could become a cliche, you know, but I like to define it as, you know, what is good communication and from a leadership perspective. And I touched on it a little bit, but I think it’s very important to make sure that we’re really listening to each other. And, , I think that’s a big part of how we run our meetings, how we run our get-togethers is letting everybody have a voice and understanding that everybody truly does have something to offer. And a lot of times, if we, if we just put, open our ears and listen, that a lot of problems could get solved pretty quickly. Cause there’s a lot of people, smart people up. And understand that everybody has something to offer is, is it is a big point of, of growth and [00:12:00] success. And, and building that trust, you know, to go forward because as you know, you know, running a business, you can’t be everywhere at once and you can’t be making every decision at once.
So you gotta build that trust throughout that, that they are understanding that those leaders all the way down are, are establishing that, that trust and, and, transparency amongst the team.
Commentary: Josh just said, what is good communication? I want to challenge that a little bit, because I think good communication is, you know, it works inside of companies, but what fast-growth companies need and companies that are really driven, they need explicit communication. They need communication that can’t be misunderstood. You want to make sure you’re practicing this. We want to make sure your executive teams are practicing it. So it cascades down across the organization. So what is explicit communication? Well, there’s a lot of elements to it. There’s listening. There’s the word choice. There’s really understanding what people are doing, but there’s also frameworks you can use to, to make effective request, to listen better. And all of those are inside of a program that we offer to [00:13:00] people. I’m not trying to sell you the program, but I want to make sure that you understand that you don’t have to just rest on the, where you are right now with your communication. Doesn’t have to be just good. You can take it to a level of explicit communication and I’ve seen the companies that don’t. It really does help align people. It creates a safer work environment when communication is not holding them back. Back to Josh.
Gene Hammett: Oh, I keep picking up the keywords that are part of my research, transparency, inclusion, go back to mission and values. You’re hitting on all of them almost even said empowerment. So you got almost everything in there. If we could throw in one more time, we we’ll have everything covered. I want to go to this piece and this is very basic foundational, but sometimes the best learning are just really looking at this from a fresh perspective, safety is your number one con, value. We understand why that’s important. What is something you’re seeing people and talking to people about listening that we could learn from and maybe carry that back into our own teams?
Joshua Bieler: Yeah, I think a big part of it is I touched on it a little bit, but it is [00:14:00] that empathy part of it. And so I see this a lot where, you know, you, you could say that you could tell people, you know, have empathy and really what does that mean? Really understanding that you know, the story that’s going on in your mind different than what’s that story that’s happened in someone else’s mind. And so really, you know, or what you think you’re, you’re presenting could be different than what they’re hearing. And so really getting that feedback and opening up that, you know, there are people, people are doing things that you might not know about. There could be. That is a reason for someone to decision whether it’s good or bad, but understanding why they made that decision. You know, it’s the cliche of, Hey, you know, the good leaders, they, they, they know my kid’s name, they know my spouse’s name, they know all that. Well, there there’s something to that where it’s showing that they are listening. They are understanding where that person is, where that person’s coming from. And I think that’s very important, you know, of really being a true leader and understanding, you know, what, what makes everybody tick. And it, and it is, it is [00:15:00] going back to listening and really putting yourself in other people’s shoes.
And it’s, it’s a lot times easier said than done because, you know, being an entrepreneur, starting a business, you know, you got to that point because you had a vision and you’re going to go there. But as you grow you, as you know, you, can’t, you’re going to fail. If you try to just do that yourself. And so you really have to understand the people that, that you’re bringing along with you and what their weaknesses are, what their strengths are, and to be able to do that, to be able to understand that. As a leader, you have to, you have to understand what you’re getting bad at and know that and help bring in the people, you know, going back to the beginning that are going to be good collaborators, with you, you know, drive, drive in that fear and, and, the people that are gonna bring help bring you along and, and show you the better, more efficient ways of doing things, to help grow out that, that initial vision that you did have.
Commentary: Josh talks about listening Listening is one of those skills that leaders think they’re pretty good at, but they really have a lot to learn because they’re not paying attention to it. They’re not listening [00:16:00] to what’s going on behind the words. They’re not listening to what’s going on with their body. They’re not listening with what’s available to them, cause they just don’t know too. They’re so busy and what they’re doing, and that really is dangerous. Here’s what I know too. Employees want to be seen, heard, and understood when you create a space for them to be seen, heard, and understood. You have a very good workforce that is really aligning together. Because if they go home and they tell their significant other that I really feel understood. I feel like my voice matters. That’s gonna mean that they’re going to think twice about leaving your company. Everyone’s talking about the great resignation. You want to make sure that you and your team truly listening to people. So they’re seen, heard, and understood. Think about those three words. Now, back to Josh.
Gene Hammett: Well, I’m going to ask you one of the big questions I get to ask every once in a while, and that is, we’ve all made mistakes in our journey of entrepreneurship and leadership. I’m sure you’ve made a few, you’ve hired 500 people. I’m sure it’s not a perfect run across this board. I’d love for you to share with us one of those mistakes [00:17:00] that you, you, you felt like you really learned from. And that you really became a better leader because you understood a different perspective or a new understanding. , what does that mistake that comes to mind?
Joshua Bieler: Yeah, I mean, it’s, I mean, it was a big mistake and again, like, you know, you don’t really learn without making mistakes, so you, you try to be perfect and there’s innovation goes out the door, right. But some, you know, from the very beginning of a vector, the start of our formation, we, you know, pretty early on we had to do really a business plan pivot. So a complete pivot on, you know, what our initial business plan was, what, what we’re looking to do. And pretty quickly we had to change that. And that was very difficult for me because, you know, I think I can make things right. I think I could fix it. I have this vision. We’re going to go here. I’m going to get us there. Whatever way we’re going to do it. I’ll get us there. And so for me, you know, it was understanding that, yeah, this isn’t going to work. We got, we got to do something different. And the biggest point for me there was learning to fail fast. [00:18:00] Okay. This isn’t going to work. I got to understand that this is failing let’s, let’s hit it quickly and move on instead of trying to dig our heels in and really move past my own stubbornness on tape. This is, this is what is gonna, this is what I envisioned. This was where we got to get there. And, you know, making that mistake of, you know, probably waiting a little bit too long. I mean, we’ve come out of it now, but looking back, it was like, Hey, I’m gonna make this. work
And now knowing that, Hey, sometimes we do gotta fail fast that, you know, there’s this business I might not be working. Let’s let’s adjust let’s this person might not be working out let’s let’s move on for them. Or, you know, a client might not, might not be good for our core values or our mission and let’s move quickly from there. So that was, that was something, you know, a big learning experience for me is sometimes don’t things don’t work out, you make mistakes and, and, you know, sometimes it’s good to be hard-headed on other things. It’s not, and being able to understand that and the personality to make this happen, you know, you’re going to try to drive forward and make it happen. But understanding a lot of times you gotta be flexible and pivot and listen to other [00:19:00] people. And, that will help you with that collaboration growth. I guess,
Gene Hammett: Josh, one more question for you. We’ve been talking about teamwork here and optimizing. You had this big lesson of failing fast, how do you communicate that lesson to your team so that they get it and they don’t have to learn the hard way? Like, like stubborn Josh.
Joshua Bieler: Yeah. I mean, it’s, it’s really communicating, being transparent on, you know, what I’ve experienced, what I’ve done. Hey, here. Here’s the mistakes I’ve done. And it’s, you know, not trying to hide your own weaknesses, your own failures, and making sure to understand that it’s okay to fail sometimes it’s okay to make a mistake. , and that that’s, you know, that really gives people a sense of that empowerment that, Hey, I do have some ownership, I do have some responsibility and that, you know, I’m gonna go try and do what I can, and I’m going to have a score either way. , you know, especially on the business side of things, if we’re going to be successful if we’re going to be if we’re failing. but the communication is, is, Hey, if this isn’t working out and it’s, you know, it starts with that intuition. It’s that intuition, you know, you get that gut feeling a lot of times that turns out to be true. And if [00:20:00] it’s you’re, you’re fighting your, your brain fighting your heart a little bit. A lot of times it’s, Hey, you need to listen to that heart. And, or you need to listen to the brain, whatever. It’s tracking correctly and revalidate and pivot on what that decision may be and, you know, move on quickly. And, but it’s really trying to empower those people to be able to make those decisions and understand it and, and letting them see your weaknesses are now.
Gene Hammett: Now again, you, you wrapped it up really strong there, Josh. Thanks for being here on the show and sharing your journey of leadership across a fast-growth company.
Joshua Bieler: Thank you so much.
Gene Hammett: I want to recap here what I’m hearing from Josh. , interview. I love to be able to look back at this, and maybe he even gets a benefit out of what I see as valuable across his leadership. And that’s first, first, it starts off with a mission. He started a company, not for him, not to make money, not to do something. He saw a need inside our community with veterans, and he saw an opportunity that he could actually match up a business to filling this need. And that’s a big mission that others are willing to get behind overcome challenges. He also was [00:21:00] able to use values consistently across the brand and really tie them into the day-to-day, which is a necessary emphasis on communication and listening across the brand to align people together, optimize your team doesn’t happen without, you know, effective and explicit communication. And finally, we talk about failing fast. It’s all of these are common things across these interviews and hopefully your tuning in. Because you want to be a better leader.
My job is to help you figure out what’s next for you. Figure out where your blind spots are. Many people don’t have a sounding board. They don’t have someone in their corner to support them, to challenge them, help them see new perspectives. That’s what I do for my clients. That’s what I can do for you. If you, if you’re interested in what an executive coach would look like and the impact it would have on your business, make sure you check out GeneHammett.com. Schedule your call with me. I’d love to help. That call will give you much more clarity than you have right now about what you’re facing.
Just go to GeneHammett.com and schedule your call. When you think of leadership and you think of growth, think of Growth Think Tank. As always lead with courage. We’ll see you next time.
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