On My First Job I Learned ...

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My father was a builder, and I was on job sites in my hometown of Memphis, Tenn., when I was 12 years old

June 01, 2002

 

Joe Powell, 70, has been a builder for 55 years. He has been with Centex Homes for the past 38 years, including 27 as vice president of construction. Today he is construction manager for Centex’s Marquis Homes division in Las Vegas.

My father was a builder, and I was on job sites in my hometown of Memphis, Tenn., when I was 12 years old.

He would let us work and pay us for it. And if it was wrong, he’d make us tear it out and put it back in on our own time with our own materials. You learn pretty quickly after you do that a couple times.

Over the years I’ve learned:

 

 

 

 

  • Be curious. If you know why you are doing a job, it makes the job a lot easier. This requires a curiosity about why things are done a certain way.

     

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  • Understand people. If you don’t manage people well, you don’t get your job done. People are managing you at the same time you are managing them.

     

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  • Follow up. That is the biggest mistake a lot of people in this business make. After you delegate, follow up and make sure things are being done the right way.

     

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  • Build it right the first time. If it is wrong, you have to tear it out. Then you have to put it back in. Those two costs are usually accelerated. Then there is the unknown cost: the irritant to the homeowners. They remember it forever.
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