Pathway to Success – Core Values

As you tackle your employee training and customer relations, it’s important to outline what you value to see the most success. We recently had a conversation with Nick Slavik, host of Ask-A-Painter Live, and he explained the five core values he uses in his company. These are the kind of values that are adaptable to any sort of business, especially a painting business.

Gain and Maintain Trust

In a business, you have to do certain things initially gain trust. Then, you must maintain without giving any sort of indication people cannot trust you. To keep track of this value, Nick asks his employees if their coworkers trust them and if they delivered what was promised to clients.

Continuous Improvement

You need to constantly be improving, and Nick Slavik makes it his goal to make the improvement curve happen faster. He makes sure employees master their skills and get better every day. He asks if employees became a better painter and a better leader to promote this value.

Quality Always Wins

Maintaining the highest level of quality in your work is always the way to see the most success. Nick asks his employees if they’ve maintained the quality standard of company and if they’re doing work that could win a national award.


One of the most important parts of Nick’s business, this value comes directly from a navy seal, stating that the more disciplined you are, the more freedom you will create for yourself.


In the painting industry, you need to hustle and put in quality hard work. If you’re not producing something great in your extra time, you need to be smarter about what you’re doing.

Ready to use these values in your own business? Download the Pathway to Success poster here.

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Pay Increase Based on Problem Solving

How do you decide how and when to give pay raises? We recently had a discussion with Jason Paris of Paris Painting who has found success promoting employees based on their problem-solving skills. He’s been able to create an efficient process, communicate how it works and regulate it objectively. Here are some of the highlights from our conversation with Jason:

  • Being less ingrained in the norm of business allows for the ideation of new processes.
  • Pay raises should be focused on how you work together.
  • Start with standardized positions, but branch off when you get to mid-tier management.
  • Your crew must be willing to help your business succeed to make this system work.
  • Make sure your crew knows about the paths to success and how to progress in different areas.
  • If you want to elevate your employees, treat your company as a partnership with them.

To learn more about this process, check out our podcast, Pay Increase Based on Problem Solving.

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Making Training Stick

Employee training can be a burden for companies, but it’s an investment worth your time and money. While your training content is important, Michael Smith of Teach Initiative explains how focusing more on the process of training can help make the most of your money spent.

To make the most of your training efforts, you should:

  • Create a positive work environment to make your employees feel supported and willing to learn. Be sure to teach the best practices, not just the fast practices.
  • Make sure you are providing employees enough time to learn and practice their new skills. Many things cannot be perfected overnight.
  • Be or provide a mentor to teach your employees skills and lead by example. Keep in mind, mentors should share knowledge in a positive way— a high level of skill does not always translate to good communication.
  • Teach, don’t tell. Training should include hands-on work with time for employees to watch their coworkers complete tasks, learning for the future.

To learn more about training, check out the recent PaintED podcast with Michael Smith.

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Building Your One-Page Strategic Plan for 2019

At the end of the day, strategic planning is making sure you and your team are working on all the right things, rather than all the things. In this webinar, Benji Carlson of BreakThrough Academy outlines the steps to creating and implementing an effective strategic plan for 2019.

The goal of a strategic plan is to break down your goals into a simple, week-by-week path. Your plan should start with overall goals. Create S.M.A.R.T. goals, meaning they are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timed.

Once you have goals in place, break them down into yearly initiatives. Each initiative should directly support the achievement of your goals. To further simplify, you should break initiatives down into actionable, how-to items called “rocks.” Your rocks will serve as steps to help you reach your annual initiatives.

Finally, break your rocks into tasks. Now that you have a goal, initiatives, rocks and tasks, you can fill out your calendar based on sense of urgency for each item. As your calendar is filled out, you’ll be able to work towards your overall goal and focus on what is most important in the year ahead.

PDCA members have exclusive to this webinar and more training resources. Listen to the full webinar to learn more about strategic planning and access a one-page strategic planning worksheet.

Join PDCA to gain full access to these benefits and more.

Already a member? Login here to see full details.

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Failing into the Future

The process of trial and error can be intimidating and take time, but Jason Paris explains how failure is a key step in growing your business for the future in this podcast. He explains that even though the risk of failure does not sound attractive, the learning curve that comes along with it is worth the risk.

  • In business, curiosity often inaccurately translates to “inefficiency.” Allowing curiosity in employees has been linked to business success, the ability to adapt to market fluctuations and the development of deep and rational thinking.
  • Balancing risk and payoff comes as a challenge for many leaders. Execution must happen along with exploration to make sure you see the right results for your efforts.
  • “Patches,” or changes in the market, are always forcing change in business. Successful innovation includes failure but leads to quicker and bigger return.

Continue to learn from Jason as he presents at the 2019 EXPO!

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Pathways for Employee Advancement

New employees can often find that their aspirations have been lost in the rush of starting a new job. In this podcastChristian Militello walks us through how he’s creating ways to give new employees attainable goals and how to overcome the problems he’s facing in the process.

  • Understand the epidemic of undervaluing what painting contractors do.
  • Think about the size of your company and the advancement of your employees.
  • Make a tree full of job positions and things you have to know to get there.
  • Understand employees are concerned with how much money they are making, and outline the steps to get where they want to be.
  • ALWAYS provide opportunity.
  • Break down how profit relates to job opportunity and advancement for employees.
  • Determine how you address training.
  • Encourage employees to document everything you do and pursue their curiosity.

Hear more about pathways for employee advancement and get other business insights on our PaintED podcast channel.

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Standing with the Standards

Contract language can be intimidating to those writing or signing contracts. In this podcast, Steve Skodak helps us understand how PDCA’s Industry Standards protect clients and businesses alike.

  • Residential Work Has a Common Language – Standards for quality are often lost in the jumble of a complicated contract. PDCA standards can create an understandable language for contractor and client.
  • Timelines on Commercial Work Have Guidelines – Painters coming in on the back end of a job can sometimes face unfair time restraints in commercial work. PDCA standards help protect your profit.
  • Distinction with PDCA Membership – Set yourself apart from the start. A PDCA membership will immediately communicate your dedication to quality and proper service.

Click here to learn more and download a copy of the industry standards.

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