Replicating Greatness

Replicating GreatnessWhen I created Crimmins Construction, I wanted to flee the norms.  I wanted to embrace new methods, create magnificence, and work alongside true craftsmen.  Not only that, I wanted team.  True synergy worthy of rivaling the greatest companies out there.  I wanted to use this synergy to change the experience for the clients we worked with, from previous disasters to the positive anticipation for future project. I wanted to bring out the best from the workers around me by placing them in appropriate roles and calling out of them the greatness that resides in our profession and in themselves.

From my previous experience in the construction field, all to often workers and leaders use negative means  to elevate themselves to a greater position than the one laboring next to them.  This is carried out  in a multitude of ways.

1. Constant bickering or inward fighting.

2. Withholding important knowledge or information from co-laborer for selfish gain.

3. Badmouthing the co-laborer to foreman, head boss or team member.

4. Resisting new information that contradicts their existing knowledge.

For leaders it is easy to blame this behavior on outside influences.  “Lack of education, their lower middle class ways.”  The lack of action has a few consequences: Continued stress, reduction in energy, and ultimately discarding the failed relationship.    How will those around us change if greatness is not called out of them. The dissolution off the relationship only enforces their incorrect attitude towards the world.  This then is our challenge, to call greatness out of all people we interact with.

The definition of a leader that I hold on to is how many lives you change for the positive. Changing lives by calling greatness out of those around us not only takes guts, but it takes energy.     Here are a few ways I want to do this:

1. Teach and model celebration for the successes of our employees and subs.

2. Creating a team mentality that will foster a mentoring attitude.

3. Never discipline a failure where the aim was to invent and create new.

If performed correctly, this will spread much further than our immediate company.   I spoke with an architect a while back and was recounting  a lunch meeting with another builder that I had.  The architect said, “I can’t believe you want to know them, whenever I meet another architect I think negative things about them.”  Even though this particular architect delivers a decent product, he will only ever produce, not multiply!

What are ways you use to replicate greatness?

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9 Responses to Replicating Greatness

  1. Michael S. Hyatt March 4, 2009 at 1:10 PM #

    This is a fantastic post, Chris. I also applaud your desire to build a truly great company. It is awesome that you are being pulled toward a greater vision of who and what you and your company can be. I know you will accomplish this, because it is deep inside your DNA.

    For me, the most powerful way to change a culture is by changing my own behavior. This is hard work, but people under us will replicate who we are. If we don’t like the way our organizations are, we need to start by looking in the mirror.

    Again, great post. Thanks.

  2. Jim Oberschmidt March 4, 2009 at 1:22 PM #

    Awesome Chris,
    Leadership demonstrates values and serves lives every day. Your encouragement is contagious, and bears retweeting.
    My brother Tom, http://www.njlandsmith.com is a character like yourself, and unique talents the both of you and your results will be multiplied by your activities.
    Thanks for your direction, and feel free to join and share with me.

    Jim

  3. sandy cathcart March 4, 2009 at 1:34 PM #

    Good words!

    I used to work as document coordinator for 3M. One major thing I learned is that relationship is important in bringing out greatness in fellow workers or employees. Most employees who are listened to respond with something more because they feel what they’re doing will actually matter.

    We set up group meetings, took surveys, talked personally with employees. Then we really looked at their suggestions and started implementing them whenever applicable. The change in buy-in was amazing. A lot less complaining. A happier work environment.

    On the other hand, employees who are always told what to do and never asked their opinion…or worse…asked their opinion and then ignored! become grumblers.

    I discovered that the person closest to the work often had a lot of wonderful suggestions. Skill and education do not always go hand in hand.

    Just a thought…

  4. ron March 4, 2009 at 2:47 PM #

    Thought provoking and nicely done. I want to think about what you have said and respond after that.
    My first impression is that this is not normal. I understand because I am of the same mind. The construction trades are populated by a type of macho attitude that I have tried, in my own way, to gently counteract. I am mindful of the way that the product of our labor is influenced directly by the attitude and disposition of the people performing that labor.
    I want to address the actual theme of replicating greatness. I will be back.
    http://thewizardofit.com

    • chriscrimmins March 4, 2009 at 4:00 PM #

      I am definitely looking forward to your continued comments. You are absolutely correct that the journey’s outcome has much to do with the attitude along the way. What are enforcers or re-enforcers that we can use when dealing especially with sub-contractors?

  5. darlene March 4, 2009 at 4:08 PM #

    I loved your article – what would you do if you are in a position in an organization where you are not being called to greatness?

  6. Calum Maclean March 4, 2009 at 4:41 PM #

    Chris, I love what you are saying. I had a terrible experience in California with a contractor but I took a lot away from it. If only he had an attitude like yours.
    With your work ethic and by reaching out the way you are you are going to do very well for yourself.
    Have you ever read pillars of the earth by Ken Follett?

    Keep up the god work.

  7. Kevin March 4, 2009 at 9:57 PM #

    Great stuff Chris. I have a lot to learn about being a leader that can replicate greatness. Since I am still in school, I don’t think much about this. All that I worry about is if I am developing the skills and disciplines that will enable me to succeed on the job. Your post reminds me that the “how” matters as much or even more than the “what” in what we do! Thanks.

  8. Ron March 5, 2009 at 4:16 PM #

    Chris,
    As I hinted at in my comment yesterday I am really impressed by the overall idea you are posting; that people in the building trades can (and hopefully are) accepting a greater responsibility for the work (and I mean this beyond the basic ideas of craftsmanship and responsibility though not everyone even honors that!). I was, at one point in my life, involved in the restaurant business. We had team meetings every afternoon including front and back of the house staff (basically management, cooks and servers). We used these meetings to go over menu and management issues but also to center ourselves as a cohesive team. It was normal for us to re-affirm everyday that actually our job was to feed people both physically and in many respects spiritually. I know that it was odd for some of the staff to be reminded of it every day but I found it essential to make it clear that our attitudes, feelings and mood (our presence) was being transformed into food. That if we were disturbed, angry, distracted or agitated it would in some subtitle (or not so subtitle) way become part of a diner’s meal.
    I can see this in the science of creating spaces for people to live in as well. The form defines the function, yes, but the attitude of the designers, origin of the materials and “presence” of the craftsmen all become ingrained in the final work. For a space to really be great all of these aspects must be lined up.
    That tells me that Replicating Greatness is the mindfulness of this understanding guided by the leader, contractor or conductor. Because it really counts. You, as the leader, are responsible for all of these aspects. Your team will follow you and pay attention to these details only so much as you do. That is only natural.
    I applaud you. Because even thinking this way is a tremendous step toward transforming all work into a demonstration of pride, excellence and, well, GREATNESS.
    My hats off to you Chris, keep up your effort and your pursuit of this important work.
    R

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