You Gotta Have FAITHSep 11, 2023
You Gotta Have FAITH
Go with us on a journey of a restorer who fired most of his team, and now is living the life of freedom that he designed... all in a relatively short amount of time!
Chapter 1 - Faithful
Chapter 2 - The Pivot
Chapter 3 - Big Moves
Chapter 4 - Culture Wins
Chapter 5 - Results Also Win
This blog is a detour of our normal content. But one that I think will deliver massive value. I love witnessing and celebrating the success of others. Especially when I was on the journey with them (for the wins and losses)
Let’s meet one of the main characters of this story. Nick Lambert owns and operates Faithful Restoration in Billings, Montana. He has built this full-service company with his wife Jennifer and a few key staff members that he would call family.
When we talk about Montana, it is important we not think of the popular TV show Yellowstone. While that stereotype can be found, it is not representative of the hard work ethic that most in this amazing state have.
A strong blue collar culture sprinkled with some land, cattle ,and oil money. But even those are hard to spot. They can be seen driving Chevrolet 2500’s with brush guards and attachments for snow plows.
Chapter 1- Faithful
Nick has lived a large majority of his life in Billings with 2 incredible parents and siblings.
His career in the first half was in restaurant management and other service industry positions.
He then opened a cleaning/ janitorial company. This was a major leap and undertaking. From a risk standpoint. Young family, children, responsibilities, etc. But Nick was confident that there was a need and they were perfectly positioned to fulfil that need.
“We just gotta have FAITH”, hence the name of the business even to this day. Nick and his family are firmly planted in their faith and spirituality. They were convinced that God would protect and reward them if they did their part.
And they were right.
The Lamberts grew their cleaning and janitorial company and that morphed into some carpet/ tile cleaning and then started diving into restoration. A very common trajectory.
Restoration really touched a part of Nick and the team's hearts as it elevated the servitude that fired them up. Over the years, restoration became the core service and the journey started with learning everything they could and focusing on Culture (more on that shortly).
Chapter 2- The Pivot
Around 2015-2017 the growth was stretching the company and the usual need to hire new key players was required. Nick recruited and hired people he knew and trusted and felt that would certainly be the right fit.
Over this period, his lead moved upwards into the GM role and things started to become a little strained. Growth is always hard but this was a deeper-rooted issue where alignment and core values were not front and center. The GM recruited more people who were more aligned with them and not the company's focus.
I don’t need to tell anyone reading what happened next, but I will. The GM and his tribe began to slowly take over the company. Things just didn’t feel right, the majority felt one way and Nick became frustrated, but possibly internalized that it was him and not everyone else.
Until the day came when he literally said “I didn’t even want to come into the office because of the negativity”. That’s a hard place to be. Then came hard decisions.
Nick picked a Friday and planned to bring in each employee (11 at the time), and lay down the law, fully aware that most of the team would likely need to be terminated.
That’s exactly what happened. Everyone but 3 people were fired that day. Severance and a friendly wave.
I am ecstatic to say that those 3 survivors are still there today and of course, in leadership positions, transforming the lives of almost 50 people.
So now with ⅓ of the team and the fact that they would need to drop capacity, revenue and of course profit was a staggering idea.
But “You Gotta Have Faith”.
Chapter 3- Big Moves
Sometimes, being at or close to rock bottom can be a huge relief. Nick was sitting, thinking, and praying. Not being a big fan of industry events, conferences, and such gatherings Nick decided that he was at a crossroads. Close it down and find a new path or find something or someone to help.
The Experience was in beautiful Clearwater Florida in 2019 and Nick decided to go (against our shared hate for the ego and chest thumping).
Nick and I might have been friendly in the Rebels. I honestly don’t remember. But he went with the plan to search for some inspiration and experts to fill the gaps on the things he might not have known.
We found one another and planned a 1:1 dinner. As I recall a few extra people showed up. Bryan Daughtry from Dry Patrol and Chuck Dewald Jr. But we had our alone time to discuss where he was, what it looked like and an idea that this was salvageable.
After The Experience, we had another call, I made a proposal, and he accepted and within 2-3 weeks I was flying out.
To shorten the story, it was 3 long hard but powerful days with whiteboards and his remaining superstars.
We worked on the Foundation. What is now Phase 1 of R[OS]™ (Strucure).
- Who are we?
- What do we do?
- What do we stand for?
- Who do we help?
It was tough but I think I speak for us all…I left and we all felt like “We had Faith and it’s going to work out”. And it did.
Over the next few years brick by brick, Nick and the team rebuilt. Stumbled but kept going and growing.
Oddly enough, they really never slowed down and the 4 of them got the same amount done as the previous 11.
Chapter 4- Culture Wins
Over the next few years, growth continued. New team members but that nagging little fear of repeating the past was always there, lurking.
Trust was there but it was also guarded. But more than anything else Nick discovered that for a company based on his principles and making claims that they made, it would have to be the right people. And the ONLY way to get the right people is CULTURE.
On one of my annual deep dive visits, we were a local favorite (shout out to Pickle Barrel) and we started to talk about Nick’s view on culture. I literally told him to stop.
I was in the first year of my podcast and KNEW this was a conversation others would love to eavesdrop in. So we planned it for the end of the day.
We set up in the Contents Center. You can find that podcast here. To this day, it is one of the most downloaded we have.
Culture is how he has grown. Always needing quality team members, buying back his time to move into the position where he could do the most and grow the company in the way he was best positioned.
It’s a proven process and the next section will show you the numbers.
Chapter 5- Results Also Win
To bring this incredible journey to its fruition, I want to loosely share some trajectory.
Here are notable metrics.
Started at 1.5 mil
Projected 2023 10 mil 6 years
From 3-48 people.
A new beautiful building and a gorgeous fleet.
Super active social media brand,
And the ability to claim “Montana’s HIGHEST RATED disaster company” with more reviews than any by a long shot.
General Manager- Fully integrated
Ops Manager- Fully Integrated
Division managers for each service (fire, water/ mold, contents, recon)
Human Resources Ambassador.
Faithful Disaster Culture Program:
- First-time home buyer assistance
- Car repair allowance
- Great insurance
- Liberal vacation
- Use of company boat
- Use of company cabin
- Incredible Profit sharing for goals and stretch goals
All of these (and more) are available inside of a tenure/ performance/ credit system.
Most notably (get jealous), Nick is fully integrated into the CEO/ Visionary position. Doesn’t work at the office daily. Does not handle many or any client affairs.
He focuses on training with leadership, culture, keeping finances on track, and new strategic plans.
He has been known to not work in December and take a SUMMER OFF with his family. Available if needed, but not directly required to produce the business.
In a few times away, they have record months and he returns to no major issues to solve.
Nick (and all his leaders) move through asking those who work there “How can we help you?”.
Now you know these are not to brag, but they are to celebrate. To inspire.
This is possible. You can build the company you dream of if you are willing to take the path and endure the hardest things.
Beautiful new Florida Coast house to escape those brutal Montana winters
To say I am proud would be a major understatement. While we were a guide, this didn’t happen without the risk, the long days, the setbacks. Nick and his entire group have had to grow and stretch, oftentimes being uncomfortable.
I also mentioned it earlier….but the 3 team members who stayed aboard are still there and running a division with other managers under them.
What’s next for Faithful?
There are a lot of possibilities. But at this point, the company runs so much smoother and it’s simpler to pivot and scale without an abundance of daily BS. Of course, issues arise, but those are easily repaired and everyone moves ahead in the same direction.
If you have any desire to be the owner of a company in your market with possibly the same or better results, give us a little of your time and let us show you our Restoration Operating System- R[OS]. We love what we do and we love to share these stories with others to inspire them. Use this link to book a call to learn more!
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