One of my favorite habits in Stephen Covey’s “Seven Habits for Highly Effective People” is the seventh habit, the one that instructs us to “sharpen the saw”. This is the habit where we get to recharge and take some time out to assess where we are, where we are going and to renew ourselves physically, mentally, and spiritually. A more official although abbreviated definition of this habit is to: “take time out from production to build production capacity through personal renewal of physical, mental & spiritual dimensions.”
At Smet Construction Services, the seventh habit was in full force this week as several of the Smet staff joined over 200 contractors from all over the United States and Canada in Orlando Florida for the annual Jack Miller Network conference. In existence since 1987, members of the Jack Miller Network, come to exchange best practices and share their success stories and failures. Over forty topics are discussed during the three-day event as contractors “air-out” their trials, tribulations, and success stories. The focus is on problem-solving and it isn’t uncommon for contractors to come away with assistance from out-of-state contractors and develop joint venture opportunities.
At the heart of the Jack Miller Network, the core principle is actually another of the seventh habits, habit number four about “Win-Win”. The trust and openness required for “Win-Win” allows contractors to develop quality relationships. Paul Belschner, Smet’s CFO, talked about the importance of the network and said it “provides an opportunity for Smet employees to gather face to face and share best practices with other contractor/developer organizations.” He said the relationships built “have a residual effect throughout the year as members communicate through the network’s e-forum” and other network resources.
There is a genuine willingness to share ideas and experiences on topics facing the construction industry. And Smet did its part in the sharing arena by having two of its employees present on three industry topics: Property Management & Economic Development and Computer Technologies & Software. Smet’s Karen Klevesahl said, “The experience was amazing! We participate in an e-mail forum with the members of the Jack Miller Network throughout the year – but being together, bouncing ideas off each other and sharing information in a live setting is so beneficial.” The result was a renewed sense of purpose. And looking back on both the positive events and mistakes gives you a sense of accomplishment. But more importantly, the result is new found energy. Good positive energy needed to move forward which helps us to accomplish those new goals we’ve mapped out.
No wonder, the Jack Miller Network has emerged as the construction industry’s premier organization! It provides us with the chance to “sharpen our saws”!
Greg Polacheck, Director of Market Development