Contractor Tip Of The Month: The First Night of Sleep is On Me, the Second Night is On You

Contractor Tip Of The Month: The First Night of Sleep is On Me, the Second Night is On You

Damian Lang

My wife Rachelle teases me about the simple policies I have for us. Some of these include: 

  • When we are having a drink, always put mine on the right side so I know the right one is mine.  
  • If we are out somewhere and get separated, always go back to the last place we saw each other until we find each other again 
  • Never lock the door on any vehicle without using the remote key lock so you have the keys in your hand, and you never lock our keys in the vehicle 

At work, I have simple policies too. Here are some examples: 

  • No friction in the hallways. 
  • No assholes allowed. 
  • The first night of lost sleep is on me. The second night is on you.    

Many of us spend as much (or more) time with our coworkers than our own spouse. To make a marriage work, you have to get along, and the workplace is no different.  

If you ever get a chance to tour our operations at Watertown Enterprises, you will see a lot of harmony among the staff, and people who love their jobs. I believe a large part of this is due to the three policies I mentioned 

Here is how they work:  

No Friction in the Hallways Policy: The friction in the hallways comes from a feeling I get walking up and down the hallway at work. I have managed people so long that when I walk by them, I can sense if they are in a good or bad mood by the way they walk or their body language. In some cases, I can feel their tension, even when they are behind me walking down the hallway. I let the staff know that if I feel this friction, I will address it. So, it is best to stay stressfree if you want to remain on our team.   

If someone is stressed at the company, it usually starts with the person at the top. Yes, that’s on me. I must be the cheerleader for the staff. Therefore, even when I am under a lot of stress or going through a difficult time, I can’t let it show. If the staff sees me in a bad mood, they will be stressed too, and that leads to overall uneasiness at work.  

The same goes for each department within the company. If there is friction among the employees, it’s because the department head is stressed, or doesn’t know how to handle his or her people properly.  

One sign of friction within the team occurs when people leave the company for no apparent reason. This is usually due to the department manager not having the right relationship with his people. (See my previous contractor tip, “People Don’t Leave Companies, They Leave Managers” to learn more on this topic.)  

No Assholes Allowed Policy: There’s an old saying that if you don’t remove a spoiled potato from the basket, it will spoil the whole bushel. It works the same when there is an asshole on the team.  

At Watertown Enterprises, if you have a pinch of asshole in you, you will need training on how to solve your own issues first. No one can direct a team efficiently if they have personal issues getting along with others. Therefore, they must fix themselves first, then they can help the team. If they refuse to fix themselves, then they will be removed.  

The First Night of Sleep is on Me, the Second Night is on You Policy: Little problems, if not addressed immediately, will become big issues. If I lie awake at night thinking about something that someone is doing that is bothering me, it will be the last night I lose sleep over the issue. That’s due to my policy to go straight to the source the next morning, get the issue out on the table, and resolve it immediately. Then, if that person doesn’t make the proper adjustments to fixing their issues, we will be having a much deeper conversation. After that conversation, they will be the one losing sleep that evening, instead of me.   

Everyone I talk to these days seems to be having trouble finding employees who want to be on their team. It is just as important to keep the team you have happy, and you do this by not requiring them to work with someone who refuses to be a team player. When you have happy people – when they go to parties, dinners and such with other people – they express how happy they are with your company. This encourages those they associate with to want to come to work at your operation as well.   

Think about how my three work policies may help at your job. Then when you get home, have a drink (always on the right side) and do whatever it takes to keep your spouse happy too! This way you will sleep like a baby (and I don’t mean waking up every hour crying.) I am talking about sleeping with peace of mind, knowing you have addressed any people issues that will rot the core of your team.   

Damian Lang is CEO at Lang Masonry Contractors, Wolf Creek Construction, Malta Dynamics, and EZG Manufacturing. To view the products and equipment his companies created to make jobsites more efficient, visit his websites at or To receive his free e-newsletters or to speak with Damian on his management systems or products, or call 740-749-3512.

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