Becoming Adult

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The process of stepping into adulthood is the same for organizations as it for individuals. Beginning building firms require the most support and guidance. They lean hard on their suppliers for quality information and guidance that will enable their yo...

March 01, 2001
Dean Horowitz, Publisher

The process of stepping into adulthood is the same for organizations as it for individuals. Beginning building firms require the most support and guidance. They lean hard on their suppliers for quality information and guidance that will enable their young company the opportunity to mature and grow.

With adolescence, comes questioning. Is this really the best way for us to do business? Why are we working this hard and still not getting the margins we need? Do we really need to build so many houses? How can we build more profitable houses? Are our suppliers really our partners?

Becoming an "adult" business means recognizing the "finite" aspect of time. The child-like viewpoint sees the vast possibilities while not feeling the value and limits of time. With adulthood we do. With adulthood we also feel the responsibilities that time carries.

The process of becoming an adult, I mean really an adult and not a ceremonial one, establishes time measurement in seconds. We discover there is only a limited chance to find and establish a loving relationship, to raise the family we envision, to do something meaningful, and to make the world somehow better than it was before us.

Becoming an adult also means realizing we cannot do it alone. The ones who move the fastest down the correct path aren’t the ones who travel alone so we seek out the others who share our vision and values and drive. The ones who, together, know they will do something greater than any can accomplish separately. These people bring a passion and energy to the formed organization that cannot be rivaled.

Finding these people and creating this environment is difficult - seemingly impossible at times. Having a clear mission, vision and value statement as well as a long-term strategic plan establishes a path for hiring new team members and for making the hard judgements on who will be on your team for the future.

Creating a high-performance organization is essential. It was clear during the last few years as the volume of opportunity presented a level of workload that was not necessarily met with quality execution. Today it is mandatory as we face this economic slowdown that could turn out to be an evening of those same incredible opportunities.

Jack Welsh, soon former CEO of General Electric, in his closing letter to shareholders instructed companies to "love and nurture" the top 20 percent of its employees and work at eliminating the bottom 10 percent. It is Professional Builder’s belief that our team - our readers’ teams - should be the top performers in our industry when measured against others in the industry.

Welch also says top performers should be "rewarded in the soul and the wallet because they are the ones who make the magic happen. Loosing one of these people must be held up as a leadership sin."

While the middle 70 percent should be worked with to improve, the bottom must be eliminated because not getting rid of them "is not only a management failure but false kindness as well - a form of cruelty." They will eventually be fired and "stranded" in mid-career.

How do we know the individuals we travel with on this path are the right ones? One of Abraham Lincoln’s greatest speeches states "with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in."

While he spoke of battle and the rebuilding of a nation, how often we all feel the same within our adult businesses. How often we rely on some unexplainable knowledge of what is right. As this issue discusses customers for life, let’s also consider the idea of creating a business for fulfilling life.

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