A Lesson Learned from the Builder of the Year

June 16, 2012

We can all relate to great leaders, but we may fail to note what makes them so.  Harry Truman is quoted as saying, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.”  Such is the case with last year’s Professional Builder Magazine’s Builder of the Year, DSLD Homes and their leader Saun Sullivan who is a prolific reader.  His reading titles could be classified as the home building industry’s must read list, and he shares these gems with many (thanks Saun!).

It takes time to read and learn new ideas, and time is a valuable commodity, but effective leaders make this time to grow their skill set.  While almost all company leaders put lofty company earning goals out there, it is the smart leaders that know “earning” only comes before “learning” in the dictionary!  In home building, learning precedes earning.

In my view, DSLD became Professional Builders Magazine’s Builder of the Year, Builder Partnerships “Highest Distinction in Customer Satisfaction” recipient, and Louisiana’s fastest growing builder by virtue of this “learning before earning” mentality.  DSLD has also learned what works in their marketplace in terms of product, place, price, promotion and customer satisfaction.

Yep, Harry Truman nailed most of it...leaders are readers.  The only part Truman missed was that in our industry, readers are winners, too!  This week’s management meeting question: “Does our company leadership embrace a ‘readers are leaders’ philosophy, and if so, what lessons can they share with their peers and staff?”   

Charlie Scott has more than 30 years of first-hand home building experience, much of it in senior management positions with an award-winning, nationally recognized Midwest builder. Currently, he's director of Woodland, O’Brien & Scott for Constellation Homebuilder Systems. Scott helps North American home builders grow their own customer-centric cultures, pursue operational excellence, and increase referral sales. Write him at charlies@woodlandobrien.com.