Team-building principles: Our Forbes case study

August 8, 2021

A year ago, Tony Piloseno was just another college student without a job. He’d been fired from Sherwin-Williams and was mixing paint for 1.6 million TikTok followers. Just a few months later, he received job offers from America’s biggest paint manufacturers – offers he ignored to work for a regional Florida manufacturer. According to Tony, Florida Paints co-founder Don Strube “was the only one who talked to me about our shared passion, who understood what I was trying to do.”

Tony has received a lot of headlines for his story; but in our opinion, the unsung hero of his entrepreneurial adventure is Don Strube. Don didn’t follow Tony’s social media; he learned of Tony because of Florida Paints’ Director of Manufacturing. Don pursued Tony as an employee because of the recommendation of Florida Paints’ HR lead. And since hiring Tony, Don has trusted him to:

  • Launch an online Tonester Paints product line which is in one Florida Paints retail store.
  • Experiment with new target markets through YouTube and Instagram.
  • Grow the TikTok channel from 1.6 million followers to 1.8 million; his YouTube channel from zero followers to 460,000; and his Instagram channel from 20,000 followers to 129,000 followers.

Don Strube is a 60-year-old lifelong businessman who knows how to lead. He doesn’t need to know everything; he hires, trains, and incentivizes senior executives to give him the right advice at the right time to make the right decisions. It’s why Florida Paints is projected to gross $50 million in 2021, and why Don was the star of our founder’s recent article on building great teams.

Tony Piloseno is Florida Paints’ gateway into first-generation and next-generation paint buyers. But he’s part of the Florida Paints family only because Don learned three critical leadership principles:

  • Let go of control and hire the right executives. There are only so many hours in the day.
  • Create effective processes to retain, incentivize, and hold executives accountable. You don’t want to waste time and money hiring, training, and firing the wrong people – or fail to correct hiring mistakes by keeping the wrong people in the wrong seats.
  • Develop a culture for long-term success. Strube’s personal culture of dynamic thinking has become Florida Paints’ culture, which is why his new Generation Z employee is creating the company’s future customers.

Many early and mid-stage business owners struggle to achieve what Strube has accomplished – the ability to let go of control, build a trustworthy team, and create a culture for long-term growth. Through interviews with Strube and Piloseno, other leaders of multi-million-dollar companies, and several consultants, the Forbes article lays out how a business owner’s growth as a leader can be the lynchpin to faster, more durable company growth. We hope that it helps you and your team create the next level of success.

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