“Thanks for Things Past”
—Giving Your Best, Your Very Best—

2017: Your Winning Season                     Part 6

Gary MicheloniWords: “Coach” Gary Micheloni

November is the month we set aside for celebrating Thanksgiving. Yet, here on the first of October, as I write, thankfulness seems so far away. How about you?

This column is one that I never expected to write; neither did a majority of Americans, I suspect, ever think they would have similar thoughts. Almost like the not-yet-published country song, with lyrics about football and such, our nation being turned upside-down… and how we are much more likely to hear a ‘moment of silence’ at a football game, honoring the victims savaged at a music concert. What the…?

But I digress. What I really want is to be thankful for:

  • Opportunities still before us, but not yet seized, but which may quickly slip away, if they are not
  • A time for savoring the sweet spirit of community, comradeship, and of country…of this great country…that ‘shall not perish from the earth’.
  • 2017, the Great Recession in our rearview mirror, with gas in the tank and prosperity ahead. It is THAT time of year again. Seize that time.

I once wrote in this column that Thanksgiving of 1945 was “the greatest Thanksgiving ever”. Happy people at the family table, all with a chance to fill their plates, gathered in a warm home, some of them sad, others still grieving, the War finally over and mankind deciding to live in peace, at least for a time. Truly a great time to be alive.

Honestly, Team, I really had no intention of writing about football and its stupid players, yet in this Season—not of football, but of Thanksgiving—my gratitude is subdued. In the past, I was a huge fan of the great game that football once was, yet today I sorrow over its passing. More on that in a moment…

But let me first ask you this: Am I the only one ever to have worked for an evil boss or client? I learned this lesson from the world of business, that if I wanted to keep working for the client, I had to pay attention to what I said or did as well as what the client wanted. Without the needs of a client, I have no reason to be in business! I certainly did not have free reign to act out or do less than a great job. My BEST job. Did you?

Not only did my client/boss demand such, but so did I. And you probably did, too. We should hold ourselves to a very high standard. Sure, it’s harder, but the reward WE get is so much greater.

My mother taught me to bite my tongue. “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all!”

Now, let’s get back to that football thing, because I believe that I just might have figured it out. And it has huge implication to those of us in our construction industry, because it is all about, ultimately, serving the client. Let me try and explain. And it’s really very simple.

Fans love the game—the pure, simple game, the athletic skills involved. And at the pro level, we have expected majesty, and in a spectacular way. Because we appreciate it, we pay for it, and we expect results. Namely, the product needs to look like what we expect. But when it comes out NOT looking like what we expect, we reject it.

In our world, we deal routinely with specification for our products and projects. We have to pass inspection. Straight lines, everything plumb, the proper texture. Pass or fail, and we have agreed, in advance, to do just that. Everyone’s cool with it.

I dare say that, should a contractor build a custom home for, let’s say, a professional football player, the contractor would be required to meet spec—for the home to look like the plans and the renderings. And if the contractor didn’t perform to that level, and meet those expectations, he would be penalized. The contractor would not have the right to say something like, “Hey, this is my platform. This is my chance to say something to professional athletes, and I think they should respect my right to speak. Never mind the specs!” How do you think that would go? Right!

Whether pro athletes or pro contractors, we are held to a higher standard. Greater precision. Appearance is important. The results—spectacular—because we are being paid to be spectacular. Your best efforts.

As I close, can I encourage you to check out something? It’s a video, just a few minutes long, but it really sums up what is going on—at least in my mind—regarding this issue and why it is such a big thing. If you search on YouTube for “give me your best, your very best”, you’ll see a clip from one of the best sports movies ever, “Facing the Giants”. But here’s the teachable moment in the clip, and in the movie: the coach encourages a high school player to give his ‘very best’ effort, promising him that his best effort will accomplish the goal. Truly inspiring.

[Funny thing…as I write this, I am listening to a YouTube compilation I put together of synchronized Christmas lights and music. Getting’ in the mood…at least trying. It’s helping.]

In closing, my thoughts for the November issue would normally have been on the subject of thankfulness. The marketer in me typically would admonish those of you who send out holiday cards to your clients, to actually send them out in early November, and focus on ‘thanking’ them for their support. That way your message can be longer lasting, and also be different from those from your competitors—which will arrive later.

Above all of the noise, remember that you and your company, as well as your family, community and country, have the challenge and the obligation to rise above it all. Sometimes it seems impossible, even hopeless. But give it your best…your very best, being thankful for what you have, and even those challenges.

I don’t know about you, but my most satisfying projects have been those, which seemed the most daunting, problematic, impossible—dangerous, even. In a time of darkness, your shining efforts can be seen by more people.

And in this very season of sorrows, also see the incredible joy and blessings of love and family, community and country, so evident to anyone looking for them.

Coach Gary’s Corner:

Coach Gary’s Corner: Gary Micheloni is a construction company marketer, speaker, author, consultant…and a coach. Video compilation “Mannheim Steamroller Trans-Siberian Orchestra – A YouTube Christmas”. Get Coach Gary to speak for your group. FullContactTeam@gmail.com And be sure and tell him about the best efforts in your own life!