Have you ever had an obsession that made you absolutely nuts? Nuts in that no matter how hard you tried, you just couldn’t quit thinking about that “thing” that was consuming you?
For me, this has happened a few times in life.
The first time I remember it happening was when I was 11 years old. My football coach gave our team a play-book. This was the first time ever that I had a coach that allowed, even required, us – a bunch of goof ball boys, to dig into the sport at this level. My “thing” was learning the playbook. I mean really learning it, staying up at night, flashlight under the covers, kind of learning.
We won the championship that year for our youth league.
12 & 13 year old kids were executing carefully crafted plays against another bunch of goof ball boys with no play book. It almost wasn’t fair.
The next obsession came about by way of the union apprenticeship school I attended. I had an awesome instructor for my first year. He knew so much and brought the theory of thermo-dynamics and electricity together with a ton of in-the-field experience. Oh yeah, he was also my father. He was quite awesome at that as well. He taught a tight-knit group of us for several years.
From our class, many went on to become industry leaders, subject matter experts and owners of companies. He prepared us to dominate, not just participate, in our field of choice… HVAC.
The third example that stands out for me? Planning, strategizing, planning and eventually starting a great company in Charlotte, NC called AirTight Mechanical, Inc. AirTight afforded me the opportunity to learn how to serve people at a whole new level. And not just our customers. I learned about girl scouts, child-care, family struggles and many other things. Serving at a high level became my Call of Duty, enjoyment and responsibility.
Never before had I viewed the entire family of employees, nor our customers. Tapping into the situation that I was forunate enough to have, we, as a group, were able to help educate young folks through an in-house scholarship system. We helped people get into a financial position to buy their first home. We created situations to allow a wife to finish school because AirTight was paying for the husbands studies. What an awesome feeling it was.
Call of duty. Obsession. Being as good of an owner and developer of people as possible. Call it what you will, the drive to be better than yesterday, last month or 16 years ago is the Kaizen way for me, it has proven to be a great tool. By studying Dr. W. Edwards Deming, I learned a ton about the subject.
Do, measure, adjust and repeat. Time and time again, tweak after tweak. We all get better. The first steps are huge, the middle steps are smaller, the more advanced steps are micro, yet each create forward movement, and the strive for excellence continues.
Until next time,
Stay attuned: You, they, we are worth the effort!