The Realities of Business: Flipping Out Edition

Few reality show stars speak to us as loudly as Jeff Lewis. Originally he appeared on Bravo’s series Flipping Out, and now has a new series called Interior Therapy.

On the surface, Jeff seems to be a narcissistic jackwagon who obsesses over his appearance and his pets while treating his staff like dirt. If you ask us, that’s not the real story.

First of all, he’s a good looking, single, successful gay man with the perfect amount of botox living in Los Angeles. How could he not be, as he calls himself, “a great narcissist?”  It’s virtually impossible. In fact, it’s kind of a lifestyle requirement for a guy in his position.

The way we see it though, he’s actually very centered on relationships and he can be pretty thoughtful and sensitive. At the same time, he’s a talented and savvy businessman, and that’s why we love him.

So we love him… but what can we learn from him?

Over the years, we’ve followed both his reality shows and we feel like we’ve gotten to know him pretty well. Beyond being a pretty face with a flair for interior design, at the end of the day, Jeff is all about relationships, forming close bonds with his team and his clients alike.

We at GLAD WORKS are always reinforcing that it really IS all about relationships, so we couldn’t agree with Jeff more!

Here are some of our favorite Jeff Lewis take-aways.

Surround yourself with loyal people

Even though they appear to take a fair amount of abuse from Jeff, he is extraordinarily good to the two main ladies in his life: Jenni and Zoila. They’ve both been with him through the days of Flipping Out, and they’re now on his new show, Interior Therapy. Jenni is Jeff’s executive assistant and after ten years working together, they’re a well-oiled machine. Zoila is Jeff’s live-in housekeeper. He adores her and she puts up with his neurotic and occasionally inexcusable behavior. They’re clearly very good friends and their banter on the show is priceless.

Be loyal to your team

There have been times when clients have attacked members of Jeff’s team.  Jeff stands by his team members—putting jobs on the line to protect them from cranky or difficult clients.  So, just as your team has your back, they need to know you’ve got theirs.

Reward loyalty

Jenni and Zoila work tirelessly to keep the Jeff Lewis machine running, and he rewards them for their efforts. Jenni has received several promotions and has been rewarded for her loyalty over the years, even though Jeff constantly jokes that she’s just lucky to have a job. Since Zoila can’t really get a promotion, Jeff has rewarded her with wonderful birthday gifts like a mini-cooper and even plastic surgery. If that’s not the world’s best boss, what is, GLAD WORKS friends?

Pull together during dark times

When contractors don’t do what they’re supposed to, when things don’t happen on your timeline, you have to be resourceful and put in the extra work to pull it all off and meet your deadlines. Many times on the show, Jeff is faced with nearly impossible situations and he sometimes risks losing a client due to circumstances that are beyond his control. When these things happen, the entire Jeff Lewis team works to meet their deadlines. Even Zoila will be called in to help out in desperate times, and they always seem to pull it off—even if they’re up all night with paintbrushes in hand.

This demonstrates why it’s so incredibly important to be prepared for things to fall apart (and they WILL). You have to have a good team on your side that’s willing to pull together and go the extra mile in a crunch. Without that, you’re nothing, because you can’t do it all yourself.

Working with a small team is a blessing…and a curse

Jeff’s team is relatively small with only about six people working closely with one another. This can sometimes be a blessing as your team feels like family, and functions like one, but it can also be a curse. When things get tense, the team can fight like family too, making any tension between team members a major distraction. And it’s not fun at all when you’re the boss and you love everyone on your team! Since he is all about relationships, Jeff has struggled with agonizing decisions when a team member isn’t working out. It can be very difficult to separate friendship from business within an intimate group.

Always say what you mean

Anyone who’s ever seen him in action knows that Jeff Lewis does not mince words.  He says what he’s thinking even when it’s something difficult that nobody wants to say or hear.  Lots of times, people tend to sugar coat things, ultimately sending the wrong message.  While Jeff can be harsh and doesn’t always choose his words as carefully as he should, he’s usually right.  You’ve got to respect somebody that isn’t afraid to be direct.

Being neurotic isn’t always bad

It only takes a few minutes of watching Jeff for a fact to become obvious: he’s neurotic. In any given episode you’ll see signs of obsessive-compulsive disorder and a laundry list of anxieties.

Jeff’s propensity for worrying ends up driving him to perform better. His obsessive focus on making a house perfect (in Flipping Out) or pleasing his client/customer (in Interior Therapy) is a prime motivator for his success… and he IS successful.

But we wouldn’t know anything about that because nobody at GLAD WORKS has any neurosis at all…

PS: did you check out his website?  It’s so “him.”  Talk about great branding…

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