Leadership

Open-Sourced Homebuilding's Wisdom Of The Ages ... Perfect For Now

We asked your help to prime the pump in what we hope will be an ongoing effort to tease out, and coax, and cajole homebuilders and their partners to share their favorites among the precious quotes that elevate each day's endeavor.

Leadership

Open-Sourced Homebuilding's Wisdom Of The Ages ... Perfect For Now

We asked your help to prime the pump in what we hope will be an ongoing effort to tease out, and coax, and cajole homebuilders and their partners to share their favorites among the precious quotes that elevate each day's endeavor.

August 23rd, 2023
Open-Sourced Homebuilding's Wisdom Of The Ages ... Perfect For Now
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In The Builder's Daily's August 4 piece covering Atlanta-based Smith Douglas Homes' acquisition of Houston-based Devon Street Homes, Smith Douglas ceo Greg Bennett feathered into the story a gem of wisdom that says a lot about Greg's organization, its purpose, and ultimately, its broad community of rivals and allies alike: Homebuilders in the U.S.A.

The quote's provenance traces to Smith Douglas founder and self-described chief culture officer Tom Bradbury, one of the true icons in mastering the curious mesh between people and process that can add up – sensibly or miraculously -- to new homes for people to live in.

Tom's mantra is, 'it's not who's right, but what's right,' and with that almost 50 years in the business, he's still as passionate as ever about the business," Greg Bennett tells us. "He's created a culture here where people want to come and work for us, and they stay, so we're happy to have the Devon Street Homes team join the family."

It's not who's right, but what's right. It could be true of every field, at every moment, in every imaginable situation. It's how trenchantly this little turn of phrase applies to the mess and miracle of homebuilding that makes it almost feel such starkly practical wisdom can only be in and of homebuilding, and in and of the present moment in homebuilding.

It's a cornerstone of spoken and unspoken culture at Smith Douglas, which dominoes in its significance in an M&A combination with team Devon Street, and spreads further and faster as it gains purchase in ever-expanding market reach and impact.

The Builder's Daily spends a lot of its time trying to challenge business leaders to be and keep being their best selves, their most effective selves, and the selves that make them proudest and at the same time most-humbled.

Less often, we step back, and simply celebrate the selves so many people who work, and lead, and strive in homebuilding wake up and live in real time and in the real world each day.

In the DNA of the thousand or so homebuilding firms that build 10 or more homes a year – up to upwards of 85,000 or so from the nation's biggest – there are sayings and precepts and principles and rules-of-thumb that focus, inspire, teach, motivate, train, correct, remind, caution, improve, pray for, and guide the community's hundreds of thousands of team member associates to be and do their best selves every minute of every day on the job site and in the workplace.

That's cause to celebrate.

We asked your help to prime the pump in what we hope will be an ongoing effort to tease out, and coax, and cajole homebuilders and their partners to share their favorites among the precious quotes that elevate each day's endeavor.

There could hardly be a better way to jump into sharing the very first wave of wisdom we've been honored to receive in response to our bidding than to start with a reply from a dear friend and source of inspiration, Ronda Conger, vice president at CBH Homes, Idaho.

Here's Ronda's note, titled Amor Fati:

The current market is all over the board depending on who you ask. I get asked 10x a day 'How's the market?' always with a pained look on the question's face.
Here's my answer/quote:
'I love this market. It's the only one I got.'
It's one of my favorites, and here's where it comes from:
'My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati: that one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity.
Not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it - all idealism is mendaciousness in the face of what is necessary - but love it.' – Friedrich Nietzsche

Here's a litany of moment-by-moment mantras, offered up in each case from one of you to the rest of you. As we said, we're hoping this is just the first wave, because truly, the wisdom, grace, nobility, and resolve of this community run to the deepest depths. We're so grateful for each and every contributor's offering here, as each truth speaks to challenges all our team members experience on an hourly basis, every day they show up.

Let's keep the momentum going, shall we?

Almost right is wrong.” – John Johnson, David Weekley Homes (offered by Scott Dettmer, Division Manager, Dallas-Fort Worth, William Ryan Homes)
Homebuilding is a noble profession.” – Larry Webb (offered by Daniel G. Martin, President, PSM Communication Arts)
The true secret to Homebuilding is not land or sticks and bricks, it is the quality and commitment of your people." – Larry Webb
No pro forma [plan] survives contact with reality [the enemy].” (attributable to various sources) (offered by Scott Cox, principal, SLC Advisors)
If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything.” -- Ronald H. Coase, a renowned British Economist (offered by Scott Cox, principal, SLC Advisors)
A lot of what you've seen in the news, especially in the on-site manufacturing space, is more failures than successes. The grave yard is massive. The hall of fame is small." Andy Mest, managing director of Modern Living Solutions. (offered by Scott Cox, principal, SLC Advisors)
If you don't have time to fix it the first time, when will you have time to do it again?” -- W.J. Perritte – (offered by Dewey Hennessee, VP Purchasing, Partners In Building)
It’s a wise man who knows what he doesn’t know.” – Bob Toll (offered by John E. Peck,
Senior VP - Community Planning, Toll Brothers)
In homebuilding … anything that can possibly be misunderstood … will be.” -- Scott Sedam, President, TrueNorth Development
The best builders are the best schedulers, and the best schedulers are the best builders.” -- Bill Pulte (offered by Scott Sedam, President, TrueNorth Development)
Bid Price, in the absence of understanding True Total Cost, is worse than meaningless – it will lead to bad decisions.” (Scott Sedam, President, TrueNorth Development)
Most leaders keep making the same mistakes because they think they are right!” -- S. Robert August, President, North Star Synergies
Organizations tend to do the things they are organized to do. If you need something different done, you probably have to change your organization.” -- George E Casey Jr, CEO, Stockbridge Associates, LLC
There is high value to the elimination of loneliness.” -- George E Casey Jr, CEO, Stockbridge Associates, LLC
There is no substitute for hard work.” -- Stephen Sherrill, owner Steve Sherrill Construction
Think right, plan right, and do it right the first time.” -- Stephen Sherrill, owner Steve Sherrill Construction
Today’s accomplishments were yesterday’s impossibilities." – Robert H. Schuller (offered by Will Edgington, Managing Member, Richfield Homes)
If the response to the question 'Did you do it' is 'it's almost finished', 'just about done', 'practically complete,' or 'tomorrow should do it' the answers are really all the same. They translate to NO." – Sayings, Alan Trellis, President, Home Builders Network
Never underestimate the power of referring a difficult client to your competitor." – Sayings, Alan Trellis, President, Home Builders Network
Increased Productivity and Innovative Technologies cannot substitute for Proper Planning, Detailed Preparation, Exceptional Employees, and Extraordinary Effort." – Sayings, Alan Trellis, President, Home Builders Network

What's more, Bloomfield Homes co-founder and chairman Don Dykstra leaves us with this note, suggesting in so many instances, it might just be a good idea to catch up with Don:

These aren’t all quotes, but are potential chapter titles for a book i hope to write someday. They are all my sayings / stories with exception of attributed quotes."
  1. First Steps
  2. The Garage Band
  3. Have a Plan that is scalable
  4. Ask for advice
  5. Make money on the Buy
  6. The One House Rule
  7. First Positive aspects, then negative
  8. See the show, don’t be the show
  9. Tee yourself up
  10. Don’t get cute
  11. It’s not medicine, nobody dies
  12. Your legacy is people impacted, not file cabinets filled
  13. Legality vs Morality
  14. Enjoy the journey
  15. Most companies undervalue the Best
  16. Graciously pay commissions and referral fees
  17. Bless Your Heart
  18. Make your money work hard
  19. Pay it forward
  20. Do business with the good people and let everyone else try to screw each other
  21. Ask What new projects are you working on
  22. Deal with decision makers
  23. Be the House not the Player
  24. Be a quiet Contrarian
  25. People are biased towards the current condition
  26. Solicit raw honest perspectives
  27. Fill the gaps
  28. When S… Happens
  29. First, do what you don’t want to do
  30. Run on time
  31. Dealing with the Media
  32. Chase dollars not percentages
  33. Compensation should be aligned with profits
  34. Avoid scheduling recurring meetings as much as possible
  35. Use a payroll service
  36. Likes hire likes - be careful
  37. Interview questions
  38. Your worst employee is mediocre and loyal - from Good to Great book
  39. Go home and think about it
  40. How to fire someone
  41. Stock the office Kitchen - it may be someone’s only meals
  42. Try to meet at other person’s shop
  43. Take advantage of time driving
  44. Know your sound bites before important meetings
  45. Kids having the most fun play harder, whoever plays harder usually wins
  46. The team taking the most shots usually wins
  47. 4th quarter is Winning Time - Magic Johnson
  48. Be Quick but Don’t Hurry - John Wooden
  49. Car buying theories - buy less expensive New more often
  50. Say Yes when someone else takes the trouble to plan a trip
  51. In for a nickel, in for a dollar
  52. High Performance Low Maintenance people
  53. Learn from our mistakes
  54. Partnerships
  55. Every Day is a gift
  56. Start and Finish each Day with a prayer

You've made it all the way to the bottom of this story. Which probably means you've thought of some gem you'd want to see added here. Just email me: john@thebuildersdaily.com and we'll make sure to build on this amazing start.

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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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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