Meticulous Framing

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During a recent conversation with a close friend, we discussed the importance of building things that last.

Relationships.

Businesses.

Creative Stuff.

Sometimes we don’t always start the right way.

Sometimes we have to go back and fix.

In order to build on what exists, you have to make sure what is underneath is strong enough to handle what comes next.

Strong enough to last.

The very next day I was on a job site for the construction of a new home.

I met the team responsible for framing the home.

It wasn’t my first job site, but this site/this work stood out.

Clean, straight, and beautiful.

Meticulous Framing.


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After the tour, there were many compliments directed towards the framing team.

The leader of the larger team and company responsible for the project told a quick story.

“My former partner used to say ‘this is framing, not finish carpentry’. I would remind him that if I did a crappy job framing, I’d end up spending more time messing around trying to fix things when I installed the finish trim, cabinets and doors.”

Everyone nodded in agreement.

The framing team agreed and spoke of how important it was to get this step done well.

I found it interesting, that once complete, no one will see the Meticulous Framing.

This Meticulous Framing is not glamorous: other things that sit on top will ultimately get all the credit for how this home looks.

This Meticulous Framing will be hidden from view, seemingly forever, or until someone makes a drastic change.

This Meticulous Framing will set the stage for the next several decades.

This Meticulous Framing may take a few extra days, but may save weeks later on.

The leader tells this story in the larger context.

“I like to say what you do in one part of your life is pretty likely to show up in other parts of your life…”

Couldn’t we use Meticulous Framing when building relationships?

Couldn’t we use Meticulous Framing when building businesses?

Couldn’t we use Meticulous Framing when doing creating stuff?

The next time you build something, ask your self:

“Am I building this in a way that will last, or will I be spending a lot of time messing around trying to fix things?”

Maybe Meticulous Framing is exactly what we need, so what we build will last.

Making Soap: A Lesson in Being a Serial Entrepreneur

Breakfast with a few close friends is always welcome on my calendar. During yet another snow storm, we made our way out to find a new place to eat. The one friend came from far away, the other from right down the road.

We talked. We connected. We laughed.

One friend is always traveling, and has great stories.

The other friend is a Serial Entrepreneur. They are always coming up with new ideas, new businesses, new ways to make something happen.

As we were eating our food, the Serial Entrepreneur gave us both small packages. Homemade soaps in nicely decorated packaging. Not only have they been experimenting with making soaps, they have already started selling them.

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While reading Seth Godin’s new book “What to do when it’s your turn (and it’s always your  turn)” I was reminded of this other friend.

They are always taking an idea and running with it.

They try, fail, try again, succeed, think of something else, and keep moving.

Did they wait for someone to tell them it was their turn? No, they just keep doing.

Do they have all the answers? No.

Do they have a complete plan with all the details before the move? No again.

Do they take risks? You betcha.

Did they wait for everything to be perfect before they shipped? Nope.

Do they do more in a few years than most of us will do in our lives? Yes.

After breakfast I thanked this friend for the lesson: Keep Trying New Things, Take the Risk, and Ship.

I wonder what their [your] next idea will be?

Playing with the Bumpers Up

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Bumpers.

You have seen them. Bumpers stop bowling balls from taking a trip down the gutter.

Pins are knocked down. Scores are recorded.

But those scores are inflated, not entirely real.

I have noticed something similar in business, specifically in the hiring process.

The position is vacant. The field of candidates is narrowed. You want to fill this position.

The questions get harder. You dig a little deeper. You want the right person: the right fit.

Suddenly, the bumpers appear.

“I think the candidates will struggle with that question, what if we soften it, or explain it a little more?”

“Why don’t we go easy on them, help them relax, that way they will be successful?”

Maybe it is the thought of having to start over, re-advertise, and try again. Maybe you have to admit to your boss, or their bosses that it didn’t work out. Maybe an unsuccessful process will reflect poorly on you.

The pressure to fill the position becomes stronger than filling it well.

The real problem with bumpers is they mask the downside risk. Bowling with bumpers is all upside. You knock down pins. You are invincible. Your scores are amazing!

Bumpers are okay if you are new and need some practice. But when the real game, the hiring process is being played, you need play with both upside and downside risk.

Once the process is over, the bumpers come down anyway. They will be in your organization and will bring both the upside and the downside.

The next time you are hiring or interviewing, look around to see if you are playing with the bumpers up.

 

 

The List, the Life, and the Legacy

The List

Today is the first time I am removing someone from my subscription list.  Why am I telling you?  It is important to the story.  The removal is not for anything they said, or anything they did.  Removing them is more of a painful housekeeping process because they passed away this week.  It seems like the right thing to do, so these posts are not just one more detail or item to be dealt with by the family.

The Life

I have a friend who is currently writing a book called What Will They Say?, about the lessons learned by attending funerals of 30 strangers.  Over the past year I have attended a few funerals/life celebrations and yesterday marked another.  During these events, I find myself sitting there amazed at what you learn when people talk about those who have passed, and wondering how to apply some of the lessons you learn from others’ lives.

Yesterday was no exception.  I learned about generosity combined with grace.  I learned about a person who led in all aspects of life with a quiet perseverance that impacted many of those around them.  I learned that despite being taught to take the safe route and to avoid disappointments in life by not dreaming, this person went to college, started businesses and the packed service was a testament to someone who impacted many.

The Legacy

Their passing was not a complete surprise, some illnesses are not swift and take us over a period of years.  Because of this, there was some preparation for the recent events including the passing of the company to one of the children.  A month or so ago, while celebrating the transfer of a business it became clear that the end was near and the night included celebrating the contributions and impact of this life.  Unlike yesterday, they were still with us.

This event had a greater impact on me than imagined as I watched a business person, spouse, parent, and friend pass down a legacy to each group.  I witnessed the gracious generosity of a less celebrated form of leader: one who is gentle, cares deeply, and does the right thing. 

I will be taking them off the list today and it is harder than I thought.  Perhaps that is part of my own grieving process to write about this, and challenge myself to live differently today.  We don’t always know the impact we have on others (for good for bad) and while reflecting I wonder if this person knew how much impact they were having on me.  Their impact on me was subtle, but there is something to be said about the impact of a life well lived.  Maybe that was the best lesson of all.