Figure out ways to get the whole company engaged- Whenever you start a new role, you take a while to get adjusted and feel your place within the company. However, once that settles, I think it is important to build team unity and dynamics as best as you can. Whether at a corporate led level, or at an individual level, build relationships and friendships, and spend some energy investing in the people you work with. I think I did okay in this, but there is always room for growth and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone even more.
As part of my series about “individuals and organizations making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jon Jarvis.
Serving as the Director of Onboarding and Training within Footprints Floors, Jon Jarvis takes on much of the onboarding processes for new Franchisees coming in for training. Entering into a new business venture can be intimidating, and that is why Jon places a premium on supporting and adding value to our owners, by arming them with many of the tools and information needed to make the transition as smooth as possible. From setting up emails for new owners, getting marketing sources built out, and many other important tasks, to helping prep and facilitate our hands-on training week with flooring expert Jon Namba, Jon has his hat hanging on many different hooks within the company. Having a degree in Non-Profit Management, and a strong bend towards helping people, Jon finds great joy in seeing other people succeed, and better the lives of their families and communities.
In addition to his role in helping Franchise Owners succeed, Jon is also one of the senior advisors of the Footprints First Fruits Fund, which exists as the philanthropic and charitable arm of Footprints Floors.
Corporate. In this role, Jon oversees the fund, manages the relationships with existing nonprofit organizations, and seeks out new opportunities to support and engage with other like minded organizations. Personally, Jon grew up in Vienna Austria, but has lived in Colorado for the last twenty three years. He has a background in both Christian non-profit work and commercial construction. He currently lives in Castle Rock, Colorado with his beautiful wife Emily, and their three kids, with another on the way. He enjoys hiking, mountain road trips, building furniture (woodworking), playing music and spending time with his family in any way he can.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
In many ways I believe it was God’s providence in that as my wife and I were busy growing our family, the career path I was on at the time was about to reach its ceiling. I was looking for a change. It turned out that my wife and Bryan Park’s wife worked together. My wife got word that Bryan was looking to hire for new positions within the company because he wanted to start franchising out of state. To make it brief, I knew very little about flooring, franchising, or even working in an office environment, but I love people and love helping people, and that is primarily what my job was and still is to this day. So, while learning from Bryan in his basement (we have some humble beginnings here at Footprints) and then picking up skill sets and knowledge from other co-workers, we really began launching Footprints nationwide. I feel like I am still learning every day, but the great thing is that Bryan is gifted at assembling teams of people that are like minded and that work well together. I feel blessed to be a part of something like Footprints Floors.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?
I honestly don’t know if I can answer this question… It has been an amazing (almost) 4 years with Footprints Floors. I have learned so much and have been given all sorts of opportunities to grow and challenge myself in ways I had not before. I think the best thing for me so far has simply been the people I’ve had the opportunity to work with and learn from. We have such a great group of people on the leadership team, on the Denver Territory team, and then all of our customer service reps and Franchise Owners across the country… it truly is a blessing to have gotten to know and work with them all. I find myself learning all the time, and we really do laugh a lot at our executive meetings… that means a lot to me.
It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Probably one of the biggest mistakes I made was when I was preparing for a franchise owner to come to town for his training, and I failed to clearly indicate the exact dates with him. It was communicated the first week of the month in a prior email, but that never got confirmed. So, while I was driving on the highway on the way to another Franchise Approval Day breakfast, I got a call from that franchise owner saying he was in town with his employee and wanted to know where we were meeting for his first day of training. I literally had to pull over on the highway because I was having a minor panic attack that this owner just flew to Denver a week early. While I can look back at it and laugh now, at the time it was horrifying. Thankfully, Bryan was patient and undisturbed, and the Franchise Owner was full of grace about it. We worked it out and it turned out good for him in that he had some more one on one time with our staff! What I learned from that was to mention the exact date of training multiple times in my emails, texts, and phone calls to ensure that that never happened again.
Can you describe how you or your organization is making a significant social impact?
I think one of the ways Footprints Floors is trying to make a social impact is by us trying to influence and change the flooring industry as a whole. We really place a high value on integrity, honesty, and communication. We want to bring true professionalism to the industry, and the cool thing about our expansion and business model, is that by growing as we have, Footprints Floors has been able to provide work to so many sub-contractors and helping their families as well. We place a premium on the customer and their experience of each and every project. Essentially, we care about what we do, and we’re here for the long haul. Recently, Footprints Floors corporate has also created the First Fruits Fund, with the goal to give back 25% of our profits to local and global faith based nonprofit organizations that are caring for families, at risk youth, and fighting the orphan crisis around the world.
Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?
There are many people that have helped create and shape what Footprints Floors is today. I think with regards to what we are trying to do from a philanthropic standpoint, that it was more a partnering organization than one individual that has impacted our direction and/or cause. We have a great working partnership with a wonderful organization called Real Wood Supply and Design, and what they have done recently with regards to their company culture and global impact has been amazing. We took a trip to their headquarters in Missouri and had a great meeting with them in which they shared their heart, vision, and desire to make an impact for kids and orphans around the world. They have a vision, and they hire people that they hope align with that vision. I think we all learned a lot from that trip, and it inspired us to take the calling of being good stewards that much more seriously.
Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?
I’m not sure I’m going to dive into the world of politics here since I think this is a bit of a loaded question. Essentially, what we are passionate about is seeing families cared for and if necessary restored, hurting people healed and thriving, and working towards a world where things like extreme poverty aren’t forcing families into dire straits where children then become orphans or victims of sex trafficking. We choose to partner with Christian organizations that are doing this work, because we believe that just changing circumstances or trying to modify behavior is insufficient in bringing about meaningful and lasting change. We believe that doing those things in conjunction with the gospel of Jesus Christ being shared is what really makes a difference in this world.
How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?
The best way I can define leadership is to lead by example, and to lead as a servant. The leaders I have been most willing to follow in any task, is the leader that’s not afraid to get their hands dirty and be the first to do something others don’t want to do. I think having the mind of a servant when you lead people, means that you have a healthy understanding of the fact that you are in that position of leadership, often because of the hard work of many other people, and being willing to serve those that work for you means you place a high priority on their well being and needs. It means not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Develop your company’s purpose early — I think as a company, we have a cool, relaxed and family-oriented culture. I think that is one of our true strengths, and I think that we hold to that closely. What has been harder is trying to figure out what our purpose is a company. We want to be a company that has a purpose other than just making a profit, but once you grow to a certain size and have 60 plus employees to consider, working backwards trying to figure out what drives your company can be tricky. I think the earlier you figure out what you want your company to stand for the better.
- Figure out your values and stick to them — Same as above really, company values should be your guideposts along the road of business, and they should lead in every decision you make. I think, Footprints Floors has stayed true to itself, but having clearly defined value statements can be an excellent way to ensure your business stays on course to what you want it to be in the future.
- Speak Up — I believe everyone has opinions and feelings that at the very least deserve to be heard. I know not everyone is a major decision maker, but all thoughts and feelings are legitimate and should be valued. I think I lean more on the side of talking less and letting other’s opinions take the lead. I wish I had been more obliged to speak up… not because I think things should have been done differently, but because I believe a team is stronger when more people engage and join the conversation.
- Learn to set goals — I am a terrible goal setter. I live too much in the immediate, and don’t trust myself too much in dreaming bigger. I wish I had learned earlier to set goals and to dream, just for the fun of it.
- Figure out ways to get the whole company engaged- Whenever you start a new role, you take a while to get adjusted and feel your place within the company. However, once that settles, I think it is important to build team unity and dynamics as best as you can. Whether at a corporate led level, or at an individual level, build relationships and friendships, and spend some energy investing in the people you work with. I think I did okay in this, but there is always room for growth and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone even more.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
My heart is broken for families affected by extreme poverty, substance abuse, and/or domestic violence. The statistics of how many children are in the foster care system due to unsafe or volatile family situations are staggering, and I wish there was a way to bring more stability to these kids’ lives through the turbulent times. I know that there is a stigma and fear that comes with being a foster family, but I wish more people would be willing to open their doors and hearts to kids in the foster care system. I know it is not for everyone (my wife and I are waiting till our youngest is a little bit older), but I believe tremendous good could come from children given stable and loving homes to grow and develop in, all while hopefully reconciling to their true families when possible.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I probably have dozens of things that I could use as a “Life Lesson Quote”, and most of them are probably bible verses… but being the Lord of the Rings nerd that I am, I will quote my favorite character — Samwise Gamgee. “But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something… That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo… and it’s worth fighting for.” The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
I think the explanation is clear enough… it is easy to get discouraged day in and day out by the news, the anger, war, hatred, and brokenness we see all around us. But there are good things too, and we can’t lose sight of those things, nor stop fighting the good fight to preserve them.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
I am a simple person, but I think if I had to choose, I would want my wife to join me for breakfast with my favorite musician Josh Garrels and his wife Michelle. I have followed his work for a while now, and have listened to every podcast he’s done, and I just love listening to how he sees the world around him. I love the intentionality in which him and his wife lead life and parent their children, and I would love to just sit there and pick their brains about so many things.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Well, we are just getting started with the First Fruits Fund, so we don’t have a huge web presence yet. You can find us online at footprintsfloors.com/first-fruits and also on Instagram. But in all honesty, the whole idea of what we are trying to do is not to draw attention to what we are doing, but what these partnering organizations are doing locally and around the world. We are just a vessel in which funds and some volunteer hours can be given to these people doing the real work on the ground. So, our vision within social media is to highlight less of us, and more of what they are doing… I hope that makes sense 😊 .
This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!
Social Impact Heroes: Why & How Jon Jarvis of Footprint Floors Is Helping To Change Our World was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.