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Last Update: Thursday September 23, 2021

Key Idea: Be A Team Player

Strong  owners we have studied here know that the buck stops on their desks but at the same time they are able to position themselves are a key player or coach rather than as the boss.

Key Question:


We have always said that boss is a four letter word and we mean it. Tom Gegax, founder of TirePlus confirmed this. After growing the company to $200 million in revenue, he told us how he did it.

First he said you build team by coaching via clear communication. Very few people can read your mind. You might think your spouse or partner can. However, we doubt an employee can know you so well and be in such sync with you that you can float through the business and the things you want to see happen just happen.

In the very funny movie released in 2000 called, "What Women Want," Mel Gibson played a Chicago advertising executive who was able read women's minds. This ability turned out to be a tremendous asset but sadly, most of us can't do it.

: How does Tom "do" communication?

First he tries to understand the expectations of the other person. Next he gives his instructions in clear, plain language. Third, he offers feedback. Finally, he asks the person he is working with to tell him how he is doing. This fourth step is hard because people at first are shy to tell you the truth especially if they have something negative to say. Tom says that to get true feedback from another person may mean you have to ask at least three times!

Think about it

What are your strengths and weaknesses with it comes to your communication skills? Which of these four steps do you do well? Which do you do poorly? What can you do to improve?

Clip from: Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOP)

Meet Ray Smilor, Rady School of Management, Univ. Calif. San Diego

SAN DIEGO: In this special episode you will meet many people who understand Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOP).   ESOPs are keys to the future for any growing business.  Though each word is quite operative, the most important is ownership.

To understand ownership, we have to understand something about the value of what is owned. It is a lot more than a  business valuation.  It is about business sustainability. 

Ray Smilor and Dr. Robert Beyster (SAIC) are experts on the subject.  Once a person is actively participating in the bottom line or the profit line of the business, once they are vested, don't you think they'd act differently and care more? Ray Smilor says that typical productivity increases 4-5% per year.

What would that do to your profit line?

Go to all the key ideas and videos from this episode...

Hot Dog on a Stick, Inc.

In Memory of Freddie Thode, a very special person, CEO

5601 Palmer Way
Carlsbad, CA 92008

Visit our web site:

Office: 7609300456

Business Classification:
Beverages, food services, retail

Year Founded: 1946

Be A Team Player

NED: My whole mind-set is that we're a team to get a job done and find challenging work.

And we really have no chain of command per se. We are all professionals. And we are focused on the number one, our customer. And our second focus is on the people that support that customer.

RAY: Even if you're the one who's the shining light at the beginning, even if you're the one on whom everything depends, five or 10 or 15 or 20 years down the road you have to think, `When I step out of this, what have I built that has value?'

And you have to begin that value-building process now, not wait until you're ready to sell. Those entrepreneurs who have built great companies are a remarkable resource for our country and for others around the world, Hattie.

I'd like to see them take their knowledge, their experience, their insight, their wisdom that has come from building a successful company and find ways to share that with others, to in fact never retire, but find the next career, the next opportunity, the next way to make a difference in the lives of other people with whom they come in contact. And if they do that, not only will they be better, not only will their companies be better, we'll all be better.

HATTIE (In the Studio): Freddie, Rick and Ned are proof that sharing ownership can pay you back a rich dividend. Whatever you think you might be giving up is small compared to what you will gain. We've learned today that sharing ownership increases employee loyalty and productivity. You can harvest and become more liquid, and the icing on the cake, your business can outlive you.

To learn more visit the Beyster Institute at, and the National ESOP Association at, and the National Center for Employee Ownership at Or just come to our site, (goes to other pages about ESOP programs).

We'll see you next time.

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