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Last Update: Friday September 17, 2021

Key Idea: Deploy the Four Steps of Execution

Tom Gegax's success is based on a well thought out and faithfully executed people strategy.

Key Question:


Tom believes that teammates can contribute to the team success most effectively if they are:

1. Fully aware of his expectations of them,
2. Motivated
3. Educated, and
4. Provided with constant feedback.

What we've learned from Tom and Don is as applicable to any business as it is to Tires Plus. The challenge is in determining how to move through the four steps within your organization. Let's look at each one separately.

Setting Expectations Provide each employee with a written job description and a copy of your company's organizational chart as part of his or her first day's orientation. In addition to increasing the employee's productivity, setting expectations very clearly and in writing provides the employee with a level of comfort and knowledge of his or her role in the business.

Motivating employees
Every employee in the organization should meet with the person to whom he or she reports at least annually. This meeting should include a historical evaluation of performance since the last meeting as well as goal and objective setting for the next period. The employee should be made aware of how his or her individual goals are part of the overall goals of the business. Finally, the anticipated award, e.g., promotion or bonus, for successfully achieving those goals should be clearly stated. Both the evaluation and prospective goal setting should be in writing and signed by both the employee and supervisor. Subsequent years' evaluations should include a review of goals set the previous year.

Educating employees Every position in a company requires a certain minimum skill set. That skill set should be included in the written job description. Improving the skill set with additional training for the current position or for a position in the company that the employee is working toward should be discussed in the annual evaluation and goal setting session. Every employee in the organization should benefit from training each year.

Providing feedback
Annual evaluations and goal setting, formalized and documented, are an outstanding way for even a small business to effectively manage its human resources. However, once a year is just too infrequently to provide employees with the constructive feedback they need. Positive feedback should be provided publicly, with recognition given to the employee throughout the company. Negative feedback should be provided privately, behind closed doors, and documented if it is considered to be grounds for dismissal if not corrected.

Think about it

How would you implement the four steps in your company?

Clip from: Tires Plus with Tom Gegax and Don Gullet

Minneapolis: In 1978, Tom Gegax and his partner Don Gullet, bought a few gas stations and opened for business. By 1998, they had 150 tire stores with 2,000 employees generating $200 million in annual sales.

That's a good story unto itself, however, in this episode of the show, we learn from a master entrepreneur about the meaning and value of life. Tom Gegax is pulling and pushing us up the ladder. When they sold this business, he became an author. His third book, The Big Book About Small Business  builds on his first two,  By the Seat of Your Pants: The No-Nonsense Business Survival Guide, and Winning in the Game of Life.

The first editorial title for Tom's book was The Enlightened Executive. And with all these self-help books and continuous improvement cycles within our lives, enlightenment is actually breaking out all over.

Tom Gegax was a founder, the Head Coach, as well as Chairman and CEO.  In 1999 they were being courted for acquisition.  In 2000 Bridgestone/Firestone sealed the deal to buy 100% of the company.

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Gegax Management & Tires Plus

Tom Gegax, founder

Gegax Management Systems
PO Box 16323
Minneapolis, MN 55416

Visit our web site:

Office: 612-920-5114

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Deploy the Four Steps of Execution

TOM: There's one other concept I'll share, it's what I call the four steps of execution. And if any one of them are not done, you can't get proper implementation.


TOM: The first is to define the expectation of the people. "Okay, now here's what needs to be done in order to implement this program."

The second is to motivate them. And you say, 'Hey, here's why we're doing this program.' Because people are so tired of, 'Oh, yeah, the boss has got a new deal. He's bringing something out.'

HATTIE: The motivation comes from the why.

TOM: And everybody's also listening to W-I-I-F-M -- What's In It For Me.

HATTIE: Exactly.

TOM: So for them to be able to be able to say and here's how it'll help our other teammates. Here's how it'll help our guests, and here's how it'll help you, too. So that second step is motivation.

The third is to be able to educate them. Do you know how they educate?

HATTIE: Throw the person in the pool and hope they can swim, right?

TOM: Or tell them. Just tell them. But that only gets it 25% effectiveness in my school of thought. The second step that gets you into the next 25% is to show them. In other words, actually show them. An example of how to do it. Either write it out or something that you would say to a customer or somebody, show them. Then watch them do it.

HATTIE: And then coach them.

TOM: And then give them feed back and watch them again.

HATTIE: Which is the coaching.

TOM: Exactly. That's the four steps to be able to execute. So, in order to execute, you need to define the expectation, motivate, educate … and the fourth is follow-up. You see if it is being done well. And then congratulate or go back into …

HATTIE: Coaching.

TOM: ... into coaching which is either reminding them of the defining expectation, motivating, and educate.

HATTIE: It's constant.

TOM: Yes.

HATTIE: It never stops.

TOM: And which one of those four steps can you ignore and still get it done? still get execution?

HATTIE: Most people go from one to four. They skip the two and the three.

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