Leadership

In A Blur Of Change, What Binds Builders Together Stays Timeless

"Look how many people have changed history because it wasn't broke. But they did fix it." — Bill Pulte

Leadership

In A Blur Of Change, What Binds Builders Together Stays Timeless

"Look how many people have changed history because it wasn't broke. But they did fix it." — Bill Pulte

March 18th, 2022
In A Blur Of Change, What Binds Builders Together Stays Timeless
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Left: Bill Pulte, late-founder of Pulte Homes
Right: Bill Pulte, Principal/CEO of Pulte Capital

All that's churning, volatile, fleeting, gyrating, rushed, and mutable could almost fool us into believing that what's timeless, an eternally renewable bedrock that spans epochs "as is" has gone away.

It would be naive to observe a moment immune to the cross-current riptides and head-on collisions of heads and tailwinds that form a backdrop to the conditions people who make a livelihood of making homes, and buildings, and communities, and places ply their trade, and shoulder their burden of responsibility.

Still, this simplest, truest of real-life equations – a person or household, a builder, a site, and a home – nests its own kind of blessed quiet, stillness, and timeless power, fragile in its way, and indestructible.

We hear that in what motivates people who embrace the related livelihoods whose outcomes and throughput are places people live, love, grow, and die. It bores through the shifting, dynamic relativism of who's smarter, who's got more, who's trying harder, who's got it right, who's discovering, and who's not and finds a way and bind them all into a single, shared, cohesion of nobility.

What never changes in this livelihood, in this calling, is a time-released seed that fuels everyone who enters the journey to strive to improve today versus yesterday. To find a detail that can be done better. To imagine a "best" and expend effort to ladder better and better and better on the way there.

The Japanese have a term kaizen, for that.

Homebuilding icon, innovator, mentor, empire builder, ... and grandfather Bill Pulte talked about it this way:

Look how many people have changed history because it wasn't broke. But they did fix it."

We hear kaizen in that. It's the mental and visceral itch to always improve that always is in homebuilding, in every dimension – despite the business and industry's wide and deep reputation for change aversion.

When volatility and timelessness inflect, a bubble can happen.

Seth Godin tells us that "Inside The Bubble" may build risks:

Culture is “the way we do things around here.” The very nature of a bubble is that there’s an inside and an outside, an expanding reality-distortion field that assures people inside the bubble that they’re doing things that are rational and normal.
If you’re confident that the bubble is here for the long-term, perhaps we shouldn’t hesitate to play along.
But when the bubble bursts (and speculative bubbles always do), be prepared for reality to disagree with your assertions."

Wanting to fix what isn't broken, it strikes me, is a homebuilding culture characteristic that tries always and all the time to break with a comfort zone inside the bubble.

It's not easy. But what's encouraging is the timelessness of motive and purpose that spur people in this livelihood to strive – inside the bubble or out.

Bill Pulte, the grandson of Pulte Homes founder Bill Pulte writes:

Whenever you are working with my grandfather, [it was clear] he genuinely enjoyed what he was doing. Whether he was drawing up a plan with me to help clear out blight in inner-city Detroit, or working on floor plans. He absolutely loved what he did. We'd be working with each other for a period of hours, and, unexpectedly, it's almost like we woke up. We were in a spell."

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John McManus

John McManus

President and Founder

John McManus, founder and president of The Builder’s Daily, is an award-winning editorial, programming, and digital content strategist. TBD's purpose is a community capable of constant improvement.

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John McManus

John McManus

President and Founder

John McManus, founder and president of The Builder’s Daily, is an award-winning editorial, programming, and digital content strategist. TBD's purpose is a community capable of constant improvement.

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