“Excellence is a game with endless innings. At best we partially succeed – and that makes all the difference.” Pascal Dennis
Connections impact everything! Everything we have and are today, is connected to what we thought and did yesterday in some tangible way. This is not so much about social connections that dominate much of life today, nor about the things we cannot control, as about the connections between what we think and do and become as a result.
For example, business results experienced today are directly connected to the little decisions leading up to today, both good and bad. In other words, your business is giving you exactly what you’ve designed it to. Whether intentional or not, we have to live with the results of the way we think and behave day-to-day. This is an irrefutable principle.
Connectedness is about the direct relationship between the behaviors we choose every day and the goals that are most meaningful and motivational to us. Doesn’t it make sense then, that without clear compelling goals, we most likely cannot make the best decisions, choose the best behaviors, and produce the best results? It’s amazing to consider how our thinking habits, and the way they influence the people around us, can literally make tomorrow (and the future) look much different than today!
The Three Most Important Connections
Here are three important connections that change the way we behave and soon drive excellent results:
- How we are connected to our work:
Matthew Crawford, in his excellent book “Shop Class as Soul Craft” distinguishes between what he calls intellectual (cognitive) virtue and moral (emotional) virtue, and how most view the two as separate and unrelated. In his view (which I wholeheartedly support), work that is impersonal, or performed on an intellectual or cognitive basis only, is not real work at all. Work can only be meaningful when there is a moral connection to the end user and his or her best interests.
So, the first connection lies in our willingness to test our assumptions, being constantly aware of the fact that we may be wrong, ensuring that our work isn’t just intellectually driven by our skills and abilities. Otherwise, we become merely self-focused, incapable of reaching our individual and corporate potential. Crawford refers to this as “careless labor”.
There is an underlying moral imperative, that cannot be ignored. It actually informs and directs technical abilities and expertise to do what is right, fitting and just every time.
- Connecting what we do every day to what the end user really values:
In the construction industry, busyness tends to be an overwhelming motivator and even a tyrannical master. Jeffery Liker and Gary Convis note in their compelling book “The Toyota Way to Lean Leadership“ that “If you want to start on the path to true lean leadership the most important question to ask yourself is “Do I really want to be excellent?”.
Setting compelling goals is one way to offset the counterproductive demands of busyness. Goals should act as servants not masters, serving the best interests of all constituents.
In this regard, we must connect the work that we do and the decisions we make every day to the best interests (goals) of our end users; the value they are willing to commit to and/or pay for. Any work that is not directed in such a way toward value (however the end user or beneficiary defines it), prevents us from identifying and overcoming root issues and should be considered waste. Customer driven; profit focused.
This connectedness is as true for those we mentor, train, and develop as for our trades partners and end user customers. In fact, it is hard to imagine we would rigorously pursue Truth in any situation with intellectual virtue alone and little or no moral commitment.
- The interconnectedness of the people and parts
Every business is a system, the sum total of all the interrelated functions, and how they therefore produce the best results. This is also known as the value chain. The value chain for a builder primarily consists of marketing, sales / design, pre-construction, production, and warranty. To think that any of these could function independently (or vertically) without a very clear and tangible connection to the others (horizontally) would be like saying that a professional football player could do whatever he thought best on any given play, without any thought of how impactful his performance may be to winning the game.
Systems thinking for a builder requires maintaining a very purposeful and tangible connection throughout the value chain, with a shared moral commitment to end users and coworkers. A system after all is a group of interrelated steps designed to accomplish a specific goal.
Value as a Driver
Connectedness is dependent on one important word: value. To achieve what we really need, want, and expect from a business requires a different intellectual journey perhaps best fueled by humility and self-examination. If we aren’t clear on what we and our people really value, we end up contenting ourselves with running around in circles, recycling a lot of old problems.
Values, clearly defined, are drivers that pull our behaviors towards them like a magnet. And if we don’t pay attention to what is most valuable to all of our constituents, in fact very close attention, then we lose sight of what’s most important and work quickly becomes unproductive.
Builders leverage technical expertise to connect a lot of components, in the right order, to create enduring structures that deliver value. For most of us, the easy part, the fun part of the building business, is physically building stuff. But looking carefully across the landscape of the industry, you quickly find that the most successful builders have mastered and prioritized the best connections.
Connect With Legacy!
Is your construction company well-connected? Legacy Business Leaders has the answers you need to help make your epic leap to self-sustaining success in the building industry. Feel free to head over to the Legacy website and schedule a no-obligation conversation to find out if coaching could be a good fit and strong ROI for you! Or check out and download any of the Builder Templates there as well. We’re here to accelerate your path to blazing profits and lasting success – results guaranteed!
Wishing you the best!
Legacy Business Leaders, LLC
Fred Reikowsky, LPBC