April 21, 2021
“We started to create a strong bridge between inside and outside of the house; we were realizing that we needed to make both pieces great.” -Andrew Hartman
Teams flourish under teachable leaders. For proof, look no further than Andrew Hartman, president of Hartman Independent Company based in Canonsburg, PA.
As the third-generation decision-maker, his conscious efforts to remain open to new ideas and willingness to engage in challenging conversations have transformed this 70-year-old distributorship. Jason chats with Andrew about tweaking team roles, buying group advantages, and leading by example.
“I actually had to apply to the company where I was working part-time for a full-time position,” Andrew recalls, explaining that, in hindsight, the speed bumps his father put in place before he could join the family business served him better than having the keys to the kingdom simply handed over.
The experience reinforced the notion that he was applying for a “real job” and, if he wanted to rise in the ranks, he’d have to earn every rung. No spoiler here; Andrew did succeed. “To be a great leader, you have to first be able to be led. That’s not possible if you’re not teachable,” he says, with the self-assured yet humble style that’s at the core of Hartman Independent’s thriving culture.
Teachability is behind a recent shift within the company. Intrigued by the prospect of strengthening Hartman’s value proposition, Andrew split his customer service team and inside sales staff into two separate entities. While not without its challenges, especially during a pandemic, the change has allowed the organization to reallocate resources for potentially more significant returns. “I think, again, just being willing to learn and to grow and to change, it’s gonna end in success,” Andrew says.
The education doesn’t stop once Andrew leaves his office. In addition to STAFDA membership, he’s also active in several buying groups: AFFlink and Sphere 1. He’s a firm believer in the tools and services provided and the relationships fostered among members.
“There’s really a triangle effect that is going on, three strands if you will,” he says, “and it creates a strong bond driven by the organization but, still, with the distributor and the manufacturer at the core.” Here, too, Andrew approaches his membership with humility, knowing he’ll only get out of these associations what he puts in.
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Distribution Talk is produced by The Distribution Team, a consulting services firm dedicated to helping wholesale distribution clients remove barriers to profitability, generate wealth and achieve personal goals.
This episode was edited & mixed by The Creative Impostor Studios.