During the past 13 years of owning a small remodeling company, I have experienced firsthand how teamwork is essential to our success. Unfortunately, the term teamwork is often misused, just as the term quality is trivialized by some contractors.
Simply put, teamwork is the process of working collaboratively with a group of people to achieve a goal. The project featured in this issue of QR (page 28) is a perfect example. It clearly required the contributions and talents of our project manager, clients, architect, carpenters, trade partners, vendors and our bookkeeper. At the center of the synergy created by a team are several prime characteristics, but loyalty is the most important.
Danny, who has worked at Huseby Homes for the past five years, is an example of how one team member’s loyalty and spirit propels all of us here to greater levels of teamwork.
In 2007, one of our trade partners introduced me to a young man who had made a bad decision to associate with the wrong kind of people. Danny paid the price for that choice when he was jailed for a crime he did not commit. As a 17 year old, he dropped off his buddies at a local hangout, knowing full well they were up to no good, and he went home. What he did not know is they would commit a serious crime that could never be reversed and one for which Danny would unjustly share the blame.
I communicated this information with our most senior carpenter, Steve, and we decided to give Danny a job performing general labor and cleanup. At this time, Danny had been out of prison for only two weeks. Day by day he earned our trust and respect. He was quickly moved up to work as a carpenter.
Danny has always been thankful for the opportunity, eager to learn and willing to do anything to benefit the team. Steve has taken time to mentor Danny and share decades of carpentry experience with him. Danny’s spirit has been contagious, boosting the morale of those around him and giving them a greater appreciation for what they do each day. Danny has become a fine trim carpenter in his own right.
As I was writing this article, our bookkeeper happened to speak to Danny on the phone. “Danny wins on attitude; he never has a bad day!” she exclaimed. Her comment sums it up: Danny goes above and beyond what he is asked to do and does it in a way that encourages others. In short, he makes our team stronger. He is consistently there for those who are going through a hard time, whether by sending a kind text message or calling to see how they are doing. He treats us as family because this is how our company has treated him. Danny has a profound appreciation for his job and his second chance in life. His spirit infuses our company with energy and inspires all of us to follow his example.
I would like to offer a tribute to someone who always believed in Danny and helped him become the man he is today—his father Buster, who passed away in 2011, 10 days after attending the Master Design Awards presentation in Chicago that honored the project featured in this edition of QR. Buster also demonstrated loyalty; he fought a terminal illness so he could see firsthand the success of his son and how much he meant to our team. Our entire team traveled to Chicago with Buster to receive our Master Design Awards.
I hope this personal account helps my fellow QR readers appreciate what teamwork means in each of their organizations. I know every context is different, but teamwork is vital to successfully serving our clients and prospering as a company. I hope Danny’s story will motivate each of us to make the most out of every opportunity to serve those with whom we are privileged to work. Our companies will surely benefit, as will our clients.