Industry consultant Scott Sedam shares what he has learned over the years from working with more than 200 builders.
With the onset of considerable gray hair and age lines, it’s not unusual for young people at conferences or during builder visits to seek me out for advice. They expect a sage possessed of wisdom they don’t yet have, and at times they cling to my every word—the price of being introduced as a “noted authority.” That’s a bit scary because most days I don’t feel so much older than them. There are plenty of reminders, though, such as the blank looks I get when I make a reference to Vietnam, Sputnik, or the green-and-gold AMC Gremlin my Dad brought home in ‘67. Just this morning I heard a John Dean interview about Watergate, the single biggest political scandal in U.S. history—the one that took down a sitting president. Hardly anyone under 40 knows about it or cares. Yes, I have a lot of home building experience, and my many years in manufacturing before then contributed greatly to my understanding, but how much have I learned? Enough to earn the official sage merit badge for my Consultant Scout’s uniform? Larry Wilson, one of the great trainers of the ‘70s and ‘80s, always counseled that knowledge comes not from our experience, but what we learn from that experience. Thus, Larry emphasized, the first challenge is to learn—or how to learn—from our experience.