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This blog is about getting stoked and getting worthwhile things done. There is a sea of useless information bombarding you, and this is a desert island where you beach your boat and build a hut. There are also some clever little construction tricks to be presented.



Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Visionary in search of integrators.

That word, "visionary", sounds better than it is. I don't think I'm better than anyone because I have a big dream. If anything, I know it sometimes pulls my life out of balance. It pulls me out of bed at 2AM. It makes me flog myself inside when I don't deliver. I want some help. Here is what we are all about again:

Why we exist (mission): 
Statement:
Because we were transformed by Christ, we now make artful things of “low-end” materials. We then teach others, and overcome local poverty with great jobs where artisans efficiently create durable, timelessly beautiful floors, countertops, etc. 

Expanded manifesto:
Better Jobs | Better Homes | Better World.
  • We need value to live (food, shelter, clothes cost money).
    • We can get value by extracting it or creating it.
    • Creating value makes our souls sing at some level. 
    • The more direct this process of creating value is, the happier we are at our core.
    • Making pretty things with ones hands is as direct as possible.
    • Therefore, doing (or facilitating) this work is the best job possible. 
    • A bird stands secure not because of faith in the branch, but faith in her ability to fly.
    • People need homes - homes need floors.
    • We can make the cheapest floors possible.
    • If we build this right, we can make the most resilient business imaginable. 
    • Come what may, our people eat well.
  • Flooring = element7concrete or future-garbage (tile goes out of style; wood goes bad if it gets wet, carpeting gets straight up nasty). 
  • People are shaped by their physical environments.
    • The way we improve that may positively affect them for years or decades.
    • Our model is to put physical roots in communities, (vs. competitors working out of their garages - ready to quit and move on at any time).
    • Our people become venerated over time because each year they leave dozens of homes better
  • Financial space for generosity: creating floors can be done by 2-5 companies or 1
    • The flooring manufacture, importer, wholesaler, retailer, installer, and their ancillary sales companies are replaced by us.
    • This vertical integration could create enough margin to afford to be generous in payment. 
Where we are headed (vision):
100 hyper-streamlined locations giving patrons the experience of commissioning a great independent artisan with unrivaled back-end support.
  • All customer relation management, pricing, planning, and scheduling is data-driven and supremely honed.
  • Purchasing and material management are Wal-Mart good. 
  • Everything that can be automated has been, every human interaction is more mindful because the human is insulated from the tedium.
  • The patrons’ experience when they commission an artisan is maximized by a deep understanding of psychology and a rich experience of making 1000s of raving fans. 
  • The sales and sales management process has been intentionally innovated, quantified and orchestrated for decades to produce raving fans like no other service business. 
Our values and how we live them:
  1. Stay safe. 
    1. PPE checklist - everyone on every truck has everything they need to protect themselves every day. 
    2. Best-practice wet polishing+slurry containment (nobody else does this!)
  2. Make Raving Fans.
    1. Note this is higher than creating value; if given the choice between making a fan and not spending more than the contract amount, we will make a fan every time. HOWEVER, IT’S HARD FOR PEOPLE TO STAY FANS OF LOSING TEAMS.
    2. This is fun to do
  3. Create Value.
    1. Every position, every day, the person filling it contributes more than they take out.
    2. This is good for the organization as well as for our souls.
  4. Uplift. 
    1. Leave everything and everyone better than we found them.
    2. Only speak when it may help somebody.
  5. Go Pro / Have fun.
    1. This is admittedly paradoxical: we know championship athletes play best when having fun, and that we have the most fun when we have been the least indulgent with ourselves.
    2. This is fun, creative work, but we do it professionally, so we grind when we have to.
    3. We give 100% rain or shine.
    4. We hold ourselves as a company to a Fortune 500 standard. 

Competitive advantages:
  • We are built for this: God made us to do this work.
  • Deep interest in material science, design, psychology, sales, and marketing.
  • Dual love for the front-line work and the deeper things behind it.
  • Systems mindset: we understand that there is a process to everything we do. 
  • Local market domination: plenty of test-cases to see what works without having to spend lots of energy on new leads, etc. 
Steps to get there:
  • Implement/customize CRM and “cosmic computer solution” brining all IT together in a cohesive system.
  • Continue to hone material management system; integrate with the rest of the IT system.
  • Capture/share/orchestrate all 7 team’s best-practices company wide in the field.
  • Finish revisions to element7concrete.com to automate selection/qualification process.
  • Track labor times / aggregate the data for better estimating, planning, and scalability.
  • Create scoreboard of tracked labor times and customer feedback with the following components:
Challenges:

  • Visionary with no integrator (Cory could use help organizing and executing).
  • Historically low margins. (May be a function of growth). 
  • Grew 20-50% every year without good systems; there is a lot of “in-the-business” work to do each week. (Hard for the best thinkers/communicators on the team to carve out time to work on-the-business).
  • Building custom IT systems and implementing them is A LOT OF WORK.
  • We want to do something that 99.99% of all business fail to do, despite their best efforts. 
If you are (or know) a good communicator with an aptitude for techology and growth, and want to be on a growing + inspired team, please email your info to Cory@element7concrete.com

Thanks again for reading.