Enthusiasm - the little difference that makes the big difference in life
Dan, a superintendent for a large local general construction company, told Session 7 of the Leadership Development Lab:
"When we were challenged to apply five times more enthusiasm and commitment to one particular area of our work lives, I immediately knew where I needed to make the application. We had a particularly fussy landscape architect on a college addition project I was managing who carried the reputation of being picky to the point of never being satisfied. When I got back on the jobsite the Wednesday morning after our Tuesday night class, I pulled my project assistant into my office. I told him, 'Although this may sound impossible, we need to set a goal for ourselves that when we have completed the landscaping portion of this project, the architect will say this is the best overall landscaping job he has ever been associated with.' I explained to my assistant that we could have 11 months of a 12-month project go perfectly, but if the last month went badly, everyone - the owner, the subcontractors, the architects - would remember it as a bad project. So it was doubly important that the landscaping go well because it would be the final part of our project.
"Our planning and scheming on how to achieve the goal resulted in a pre-landscape coordination meeting conducted by the landscape architect. All of our subcontractors and various representatives from the owner and consultants attended the meeting. We sat through a long presentation, two hours of lecture on acidity and pH levels of soils, composting and how phosphorous and other elements could have detrimental effects on plantings if not mixed correctly. We also reviewed ten exposed aggregate sidewalk samples, and although it was not exactly the gradation the landscape architect wanted, he was able to grudgingly accept one that required custom aggregates we had tentatively arranged to be shipped in from out of state.
"The meeting was lengthy, but it gave the landscape architect a higher level of comfort with the work we were preparing to do. He could see that his values, interests and perspectives were invited and listened to. More importantly, it made our subcontractors aware that they would have to perform at an extremely high level to have an acceptable finished product.
"We received the following feedback from the owner after our first sidewalks were completed: 'Not only are those the best looking sidewalks on this campus, we have the best looking sidewalks in the city of Portland.'
"Although we have yet to hear the architect make a favorable comment, the lesson I learned from this experience is that enthusiasm, when properly applied, is very contagious. It spills over onto anyone and everyone in its' path. Enthusiasm can't be hemmed in. The action I call you to take is choose an aspect of your work, a project that may seem at first completely outrageous or unobtainable, and apply five times more enthusiasm and commitment. You will be amazed at how quickly people jump on board to help you in obtaining your goal."
Today is the day for you to take charge of your attitude, for you to apply 5x more enthusiasm to some challenging project. Enthusiasm will clear your path forward.
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"Attitudes That Get Results"
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