As a kid growing up, I spent a lot of time in my step-dad’s shop (aka the family garage) with him. He was a handy guy. He did a lot of woodworking. Woodworking takes so much time and patience it it unreal. It is definitely a slow and steady craft and a skill that is built up over time. Very much like the construction industry that I work in today.
I personally think people in the construction industry are some of the smartest people I know. I started thinking a lot over the last weekend about all the life lessons I learned in my dad’s “shop”. I would like to share a few of them with you. Most are probably not new to you, but let me tell you how I see them.
#1: Measure Twice, Cut Once
Okay, so anyone who knows anything about construction or building something can tell you this. We have all heard this saying all our lives. But here is something more that I have gotten out of it. I spend a lot of time talking to people these days. Not everything I do is all measurements and power tools. When you talk to people you have to LISTEN. I don’t mean hear their words. I mean listen. Listening is hearing, absorbing, and understanding what they are saying. Measuring twice is recapping to make sure you are both on the same page before engaging in the action required by the conversation. There is a great need to cut out misunderstanding especially in the construction world. No one wants to spend 3 months building a square peg that doesn’t fit in a round hole.
New York City Subway Stairs – the value of measuring twice
#2: The Job Ain’t Done Until You Draw Blood
I admit it, I can be clumsy sometimes, who isn’t? But no one wants you to actually draw blood. For me, drawing blood is being engaged in your project. You can not do a great quality and wholly satisfying job without CARING. Get more involved emotionally. You may have done this a 100 times or even a 1000 times but for your client this might be the only time in their lives they build a brand new dental office or a brand new home. They are EXCITED and probably a little nervous. It is our job as the expert to put them at ease and be excited with them. Don’t leave their hand hanging in the air for the high five that never comes.
#3: Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day
Well duh. Anything that is worth doing is worth doing well. And anything worth doing well is worth doing right. There is great value both financially and in your customers satisfaction in doing a job on schedule. But don’t undercut yourself. If the job is going to take two weeks, tell them it will take two and a half. That way when you get it done in two you come out smelling like roses.
#4: You’re Not Totally Useless, You Can Always Be Used As A Bad Example
You have no excuse for this one. Please DON’T be a bad example. I don’t need any bad examples. There are plenty of those out there without adding one more. That is all on this one. There is no other deep life meaning. It is self explanatory.
#5: 90% Of Any Well Done Job Is In The Planning
I’m a planner. I will admit it. I am literally OCD about it. That is not a bad thing though. In my line of work it is a REALLY good thing and highly beneficial thing for my clients. It is also really beneficial for my clients that I have everything from the architects to location planning to the actual construction people all housed under one roof. With this all in one system I can control every aspect of the planning from start to finish. Makes it easier for everyone all the way around.
There is a lot to be said for the life lessons we learn at our parents knees. The best part is we don’t even know we are learning them. So the next time you start to reminisce on what you learned in the “shop” with your parents, no matter what that shop was, thank them. You never knew how much they were teaching you at the time.