Craig Johnson, store leader in Berlin,  and EB, yard coach had a chance to do a week long leadership training in Baltimore.

Craig did a recap to share with you all.  Wow, sounds like they learned a life time of knowledge in one week.  You might want to come back to this several times to digest it all.

Pictured left to right (EB and Craig) while traveling to Maryland.

Pictured left to right (EB and Craig) while traveling to Maryland.



Thank you very much for investing in me and EB and allowing me and EB to experience the LMC Conference.  It was spectacular.  LMC really set it up great.  EB and I learned lots, seen a lot of great things, and met a lot of great Lumber People.  I would recommend sending other Leaders in the future.  I know this was not cheap but well worth it.


Day One Morning Ryan Manion , President of the Travis Manion Foundation spoke to the group.  She is the sister of Travis Manion who is a Soldier who lost his life on a Second Tour of Duty in Iraq.  He lost his life trying save two other solders injured in a Sniper attack.  Ryan told a story about her brother as the family new that his second tour of duty was going to be different than his first.  This on was going to be more dangerous.  She tells a story of when her husband and Travis went to a football game shortly before he was leaving and when they were walking out of the stadium they were stading on top of a set of steps and her husband said “Should I push you down the steps so you break your ankle so you do not have to go”  and Travis without missing a beat said “If Not Me, Then Who.  If I do not go than someone else not as prepared as me will go and that will put others in more danger.”  She also talked about Brendan Looney, Travis’ roommate at the Naval Academy and best friend who was a Navy Seal and lost his life three years in a Helicopter Crash in Iraq.  There is a book written about them and their friendship called “Brothers Forever.”  The Foundation helps families of fallen heroes make a positive impact on others lives as they move forward from their tragedies.  There was not too many dry eyes in the audience after this opening speech.


Things that resignated with me was the character and dedication to this country that these young men and women have.  I am going to adopt the “If Not Me, Then Who Mantra”  at work, as a husband, and as a Father.  No more excuses.  I have room for improvement in all three areas and the only person that can make that happen is me.

It was also powerful how the Family on how they turned this tragedy into a positive impact on others.  Ryan talked about when they were in that position they could “Pull up the Covers, or Push off the Covers.”  When we face adversity at work or life time to “Push Off The Covers”.  If they could do it in this situation, my adversity is pretty miniscule to what they faced.  I have no excuses.

They also adopted the Losada Ratio of 6:1 Positive to Negative Interaction.  This reinforced what we learned from Ken on our retreat in North Carolina when he said 10:1.  This is a good remider as leader that we need to continue to positively reinforce what our Team does.  We have great Teams and we must continue to tell them how great they are instead of dwelling on the few mistakes they do make.  Positive Reinforcement.


Second Speaker was Bill Goodspeed, who was a past president for Huber.  Huber was a 6th largest OSB manufacturer in 1996.  He gave us some homework to do before the conference.  He explained his story of how he felt there was no future in becoming larger in the OSB market with LP and Weyerhauser dominating the market. His goal was to change there 80% OSB to 50% Specialty Products by the year 2000.  This was a whole Cultural Shift for Huber.  The homework was him explaining there situation and we had to identify there problems like changing the culture from thinking OSB and into specialty.  They had to hire differently to get there.  Spend more money in R&D and time in the field to discover the problems Builders were having.  This was a success story as they are mostly specialty products like Advantech and Zip Panels today.  My take aways were spend a week a quarter in the field.  I need to schedule time with account managers once a quarter in the field learning from our customers.  I sometimes struggle with our Ready, Fire, Aim Approach.  I have not been tolerant of us making mistakes.  I want to do it right the first time, but Bill talked about the mistakes they made and without them they would not have been able to Grow.  Tolerate Mistake.  Fail Fast, and Grow from them.  At least were trying new/different things some will be a success and some will fail.  But either way we are growing in the process.  He also talked about the importance of communication getting everyone on the same page.  As a Store Leader I play a very big part of this as we grow.  Engaging and getting
Buy In from the Team Members is very important.  When we have our Leader meetings how important is is to communicate the vision of where we are going so we are all pulling in the same direction.  They were very similar to us and that they are looking for Attitude and Aptitude not Experience.  I stole three interview questions they ask everyone.

  1. Why are you here?
  2. Are you looking for a job or this Job?
  3. If were to offer you the job will you accept?  (how committed to this is this individual)


Weds in the afternoon we toured the Naval Academy.  This was really cool.  The buildings were incredible rich in History and Architecture.   The men and women that have been through the academy have done some amazing things.  Some are War Heroes, Astronauts, all tremendous Leaders in our Countries History.  One thing that stood out to me is these kids discipline.  All kids are required to play a sport, weather it is Division 1, Club Ball, or intramurals.  I am guessing they were not spending time in there room playing Techmo Bowl.  There commitment to this country is incredible.  There Culture is one of Self Discipline, Mental Toughness, Physical Conditioning, and Loyalty to this Country.


Weds evening the Academy’s Wrestling Coach, Joel Sharratt, spoke to the group at the Naval Academy’s Football Field.  His message was of knowing your purpose.  Know your Why with Faith, Family, Friends, Finance, and Fun.  Schedule time for all.  Know your why.  All in whatever you do.  Expect to win.


Day Two Morning Session.  Under Armour.  Two Gals from there On Boarding Team and One Team Training/Education Team.  This for me was probably my favorite session.  Under Armour is a true success story.  Started in the Owners Grandmas Basement in the 90’s and this year will push 5 Billion in Revenue.  I feel like they align with our beliefs.  Core Values.  Culture Eats Strategy For Breakfast.  They are all about Culture.  They start Everyday with a chant.  They are there for the athlete and start there day with a Locker Room Chant.  They get into an athletic position.  We Are.. Fired UP!  Do Twice.  Then two pats to the thighs than two claps.  They do that twice on the third one they they pat the thighs three times a little slower and lastley two quicker claps.  Than conclude with a collective Grunt “Ugh”.  The girls had the group do this and you could not help but be fired up and ready to go for the day.  There onboarding process is very similar to The SHU.  I think we hit the mark on that one.  You also get the sense that they are more than just a T-shirt Company Selling T-shirts.  There is a higher calling there.  A Sense Of Passion.  A Sense of Giving Back.  A Will to Win.  They are Drexel but on Steroids.  We are on the right path.  We are doing more than just selling 2×4’s.


Random sayings from the Girls @ Under Armor

*Choose to Bring Energy into the Building Every Day.

*Make a Great Product

*Tell a Great Story

*Build a Great Team

*Provide Great Service


Thursday Afternoon We went Baltimore Rowing Club.  Lets start by saying Rowing is Hard.  We had 6 people in a boat.  We also had a coxswain who faces the rowers and is responsible for the steering of the boat and coordinating the power and rhythm.  So important to have all six in snyc.  Paddles entering the water at the same time at the same depth.  Really hard to do.  Being in sync is way more important than having pure strength.  Communication is the key.  We as leaders at work are similar to the Coxswain in keeping the Team all rowing in sync and pulling in the same direction.  Key is in the Communication, always be Communicating and Effectively Communicating.  Can never Over communicate.  When we were not on the water we were playing some Team Building Activities which are good takeaways for Friday Meeting Activities.


Friday Morning, we had Kevin Rochlitz, Corporate Sales & Business Development for the Baltimore Ravens.  Probably the most laid back talk, very open forum.  The group asked lots of questions.  We got to hold there Super Bowl Ring.  Man they are heavy.  The Team is allotted 220 Super Bowl Rings the owner purchased additional ones for so Everyone, all the way down to the janitors got one.  That’s pretty Cool.  Reminder as we grow to remember everyone along the way.  Everyone Matters.  Everyone plays a Role in our Success.  The Ravens have a true family environment.  Owner pays


The other thing that I took away from Kevin was that Listening a a Really good trait of a Leader.  Sometimes the Team just needs us to listen to their ideas, problems, and etc.  I know this is an area I can get better at taking the time closing the laptop or putting down the phone and truly engaging with that Team Member.


Our Facilitator was Dr.  Steve Bannon who is from Austrailia but recently moved to the states.  Couple things I took from his teachings was the What,  So What,  Now What, from each session we took time to reflect on each session.  What was important.  How did I interpret that.  And Now What is my action plan.  Really good thing to utilize with team in meetings.  For me taking a time to reflect after the Store Leader Meeting and putting the action plan in place for communicating what is important to the team and how to do it effectively.


I also like his SBI for delivering feedback.  “Shovel the Pile when it is Small”.  SBI is Situation/Behavior/Impact.  Address Right away the situation.  Focus on the Specifics of the Action or Behavior and the Impact it had.  His theory was that this was a better way to communicate effectively with Teammates.  Rather than delivering the “shit sandwich”  between two positive pieces of bread.  Sometimes the message gets lost.  His thought was Honest, Timely Feedback is always the best way.


Just some Random Things:  I met a lot of great people and leaders in this Industry.  Our Culture is out there.  A few people asked me about it, what do we do.  I think we are ahead of the curve on this.  I also learned that you and your father have done a wonderful job in the succession planning and how important that is not all companies have done so.  I heard some nightmares at the conference.  Thanks you for noticing the importance of this.


Thanks again for the opportunity.



Processes, procedures, work time off, core values, mission, parking spots, Christmas parties, team break rooms, downtown area, team members, team blue…



Some key motivational and thinking points from Megan Rinzel as part of her book club challenge.  Thank you Megan for always being awesome.

As a team member recently told me about Megan:

“She is dedicated to the team. I see her work and the core values are rolling with her everyday. She thinks of teammates and cares about others. She is always willing to step up to new tasks. Manages her time well and is a grinder. She is in everyday early and stays till she pushes thru the 4th quarter. We are very lucky to have Megan and she makes the quality of my life better. She reminds and helps me to stay focused and positive when things get a little tough (maybe the teacher in her). Joel I could carry on and on but she definitely is a top percenter in team and core values!”


How can we treat our customers as they absolutely certainly deserve?


These days, rotten service is expected. Having a satisfied customer is pretty much the standard.  Good, not great.  That’s not the way it should be.  If you’re business is built upon giving your clients an “OK” experience than it’s doomed to fail. And unfortunately it’s a pattern among businesses.  As long as the service and abuse isn’t worse than they expected, then they’ll be back for more.  Because it’s No worse than the competition.  Bologna I say I can think of numerous times going out to eat or any store where I wasn’t as treated as well as I would have wanted to be, but then later shrugging it off like, oh well,  That’s just how it is now a days.  It shouldn’t be like that. Lowering our standards as consumers, enables business to get away with mediocre service. We should demand the best.


All good customer service stems from healthy and efficient systems.  Organized processes helps keep everyone on the same page.  Here at Drexel, it’s installed on day one how important it is to make your customer’s feel like they are the only ones that matter.  From procedures such as answering the phone on the first call, to offering water, to delivering materials when asked for it.  Everything we do revolves around the supplying happiness (or great customer service) to our clients.


Create a vision for your service – and that vision needs to be centered on the customer.  Know what you can and cannot do to exceed your customer’s expectations. Once you know what your vision is, you have to find out who your customers are and fine out what they want.  Find out what they want by asking them sincere questions.  Most customers do not have complete visions, but they do have a focus.  Help them by narrowing down what that focus is, discovering what means the most to them, and agreeing to make it happen.


When a client says ‘fine’ it is not a good thing It means trouble.  Silence is also not a good thing.  If you’re not getting a response it probably means that they are ignoring you for a reason. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them and find out where the problem lies.


Deliver!  Don’t make promises that you cannot keep. Be consistent in all that you do to make a satisfied customer become a raving fan.

Treat your customers right – not because you have to, but because you want to.  The paying consumer is what keeps us all in business.  Don’t treat them as just another number, but value them as a person and give them the best service you possibly can.  When they choose to buy with us, they are trusting that they made the best decision for them and they are willing to put their hard-earned money into our business.   You can thank them for that by treating them with care, diligence, and appreciation.   Try to make your customers become raving fans, and remember a raving fan is most likely going to be a returning fan.



– Joel Fleischman.  Joel is Head Coach of the solution providers for Drexel Building Supply.  (drexelteam).   You can follow him on twitter:  @JoelmFleischman.   Our mission is to be a supplier of others happiness.  I hope this little post did just that.





This post is from Jon Gordon.



How to Deal with Energy Vampires

Over the years I’ve heard many stories from people who read The Energy Bus about how they dealt with Energy Vampires. Some successfully transformed them. Others let them go so they could no longer sabotage the team. And some unfortunately abused their power by labeling anyone who disagreed with them an Energy Vampire. I’ve learned a lot from these people and have garnered lessons from their successes and mistakes. In this spirit I wanted to share some thoughts about how to deal with an Energy Vampire (EV):

  • First and foremost, love them. No one really wants to be an energy vampire. He/she is likely negative for a reason. The first step should always be to love, understand and transform. For example, Martin, from the company Seventh Generation, told me that he put a sign on his door that said Energy Vampires Welcome. Expect to be filled up with positive energy.
  • While I love Martin’s approach, I also know from personal experience and the work I do with teams and organizations that not every EV is willing to change. If your efforts to transform an EV are not successful and they are sabotaging the team and organization then they should be let off the bus.
  • If you don’t like the thought of letting people off the bus you are not alone. That’s why I always tell leaders and managers that you won’t have to let EV’s off the bus if you create a positive culture where EV’s are uncomfortable being negative. If you create a strong, positive culture that attracts positive people, fosters positive communication and generates positive energy, the EV’s who are unwilling to change will walk off the bus themselves because they don’t fit in. Energy Vampires don’t like the light.
  • The best way to deal with Energy Vampires in your organization is at the culture level where you set the expectation that people who drain the energy of others will not be tolerated. One college football coach did this with his football team a few years ago. He had all his players read The Energy Bus and had an artist draw a huge picture of an Energy Vampire on the wall of their team meeting room. Any time a player was being an EV they put the player’s picture on the wall. No one wanted to be on the wall. In essence, the coach was telling his team that we will not allow negativity to sabotage our team and goals. While I don’t recommend business leaders and school principals utilize the Energy Vampire on the Wall strategy I do believe they must make it clear that negativity that drains others and sabotages team performance is not acceptable. Leaders/managers/coaches/principals must create a positive work environment where their people can do their best work without being affected by an EV.
  • If you are not a leader or manager and you’re not in a position to define the culture or hire and fire people you are likely wondering what you should do if you have an EV on your team or in your office. In this case you can influence your team and office culture by sharing The Energy Bus with your manager/leader and encouraging them to utilize it to create a positive culture. I’ve witnessed many organizational transformations simply because an employee shared The Energy Bus with a leader and the leader invited everyone on the bus. Please know I’m not trying to be promotional here. People tell me all the time that The Energy Bus is an effective tool that creates a common language for organizations to talk about and address negativity. Since it’s a tool that works I believe in helping others use it. You can read some quotes about it here.
  • If you are not a manager or leader and you have EV’s on your team or in your office it’s also important that you decide to be more positive than the negativity your face. A simple rule is: Your positive energy must be greater than all the negativity.
  • If you encounter Energy Vampires in your daily life remember Gandhi’s words “I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.”
  • If you have a personal friend or a friend at work who is an EV you may decide to talk to them about their negativity. If you have a strong relationship with them and they know you care about them, they may be open to your advice. But remember Energy Vampires can’t see their own reflection. They may not realize they are an Energy Vampire.
  • Proceed with caution if you decide to go this route. And if you do, do it with love.
  • If you have a neighbor that is an EV and it’s one of those days where you just don’t want their negativity to impact you, run away as fast as you can when you see them. Just say you have something in the oven. : )
  • Finally, if you have Energy Vampires lurking in your family I recommend you become a positive force of positive energy that demonstrates to others what real positivity, in the form of love, patience, kindness, and care, looks like. Honestly it’s something I’m still working on myself. It’s not easy but it’s worth the effort.

    – Joel Fleischman.  Joel is Head Coach of the solution providers for Drexel Building Supply.  (drexelteam).   You can follow him on twitter:  @JoelmFleischman.   Our mission is to be a supplier of others happiness.  I hope this little post did just that.


Good morning!


Yes, I’m emailing on my day off (my birthday) but my husband gave me a gift this morning that made me think of both of you and Drexel. A hand carved wood bowl that came with quite the inspiring letter from the creator. See the attached pictures. We sell lumber for a living but it’s so much more than just that. We take a simple thing (a piece of wood, piece of siding, etc.) and help to turn it into a thing of beauty. Someone’s home. Someone’s happiness.


We come across people that aren’t always the most fun to deal with, may scream and holler some days but at the end of the day they are people too. It’s always easier to write these people off and move on to the next.  May each of us look for the beauty within each contractor, client and team member and always remember each person has a hidden beauty inside that shouldn’t be overlooked.

As leaders we should always remember to give each person we encounter a chance and look for that uniqueness they posses.

Thanks for the day and allowing me to be a part of Team Blue.    — ALICIA SCHIESS




– Joel Fleischman.  Joel is Head Coach of the solution providers for Drexel Building Supply.  (drexelteam).   You can follow him on twitter:  @JoelmFleischman.   Our mission is to be a supplier of others happiness.  I hope this little post did just that.




After attending the National LBM Journal 2016 strategies conference in Charlotte with Doug and Caitlin- where Caitlin and I both spoke… I’ve got a lot to share with you.  You always get a new perspective on things when you talk to other dealers and the perspectives you get traveling.


We are known nationally for what we are doing.  I had people come up to me from Florida, Iowa, California, Texas, Louisiana and more and all said basically the same thing.  We watch you guys, you are an inspiration to us, and keep doing what you are doing!

However, I also felt we are getting fat and lazy.  Things are working pretty good.  We are busy, we are making money, we laugh more than we used to.  What a dangerous position to be in.  We must continue to get 1% better.  In every way.  One thing I’ve noticed from my perspective is our standing operating procedures (as they say in the military) can be compromised quickly when we make EXCUSES  because we are busy.  One example, we have builders that one a full house delivered, the next day… that’s nuts right?  Yet, we love to make miracles happen so we allow it.  Why?  Will the builder leave if we explain we just can’t do that, that is takes up to 6 hours to pull a house start.  I don’t think so.  Or are we simply not being organized on their behalf as we promised?  Hmm… I wonder.   I do know it’s certainly not a healthy situation.  Or in one store we had 28, 28 DWI’s in one week.  What’s a DWI?  Deliver when in.  It’s lazy at worse, careless at best.  Just because an item is in doesn’t necessarily mean GET IT TO THE JOBSITE SOON AS WE CAN.  Yet, 28 is the reality.  We can certainly improve in many ways.  That’s my job to make sure we are.



Here’s a neat thing.  On the movie “Finding Nemo” there is popular scene which I quote often, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…”  What does that mean?  That in the act of believing, and in the act of doing you will figure it out.  Going FORWARD is the MOST IMPORTANT thing.   The rest happens along the way.  Dory does end up finding her way.

In another scene fish stuck in an aquarium are encouraged to find a happy place.  See they are stuck and afraid and never leave the confines of the glass.  They are stuck.  So they get frightened and retreat.

Are we Dory or the star fish?

What is the best version of who you want to be?



One thing I learned at the conference…


Baby boomers buy from a person.  Or a product.

Baby boomers say I buy from Jason.  Younger folks say I buy from Drexel, they buy from a team.

How true that is… I can think of many examples of this at Drexel.

Also and to me more interesting baby boomers buy brands of products. I always buy Levis, Dodge.  I always have Miller Lite.  Younger generations buy from places and trust they have good products.

Amazon prime is a great example for me.  I buy online at Amazon prime.  If it is rated good there I trust it.  Same for zappos shoes.  I buy my shoes online, if it’s good enough for zappos, it’s good enough for me.  Costco is the same.  If it’s good enough for Costco, I’m not judging, actually I’d prefer it.  Really even the same for beers.  Younger generations go to local bars and ask what do you have on tap, what’s the local flavor around here.  They trust that restaurant not the product.

And that is HUGE for what we do at Drexel.  Less is more.  More trusted products, our builders trust our expertise to pick great products for their homes.  Not vice versa like it used to be.  Good stuff right there…

Interesting one supply company there,,, when they guaranteed a list THEY SIMPLY WILL NOT EVER, give them the list.  You want one guaranteed amount, we will meet your specs after review, but no list.  That way they can’t compare or cherry pick.  I like it.  Up to your world if that makes sense, just info here.


“Chooses to Cheat”

My favorite speaker Glen from U.S. Lumber says he challenges his people to cheat.  Time is your #1 thing in life.  So you are either cheating your family or cheating your work.  Cheat work more.  I agree.  He asks people daily, “Are you cheating enough?”   Makes sense.  We will continue to work on balance going forward here at Drexel.

Two truths about late fees:  1.  People pay them.  2.  People know about them.  Credit isn’t free and unlimited.  Be sure you take that seriously with our clients.


CLIENTS.  Never customers, let’s start calling everyone CLIENTS.

I’d rather be a client than a customer.  Little stuff like that is important!


False sense of stability in the marketplace.  Watch your slow paying customers and fire them before they take our money!


Bigger isn’t Better.  Better is Better.

That’s a well said statement.


Charlotte is a cool town.   I don’t know how to help homeless people.  Like many things in life, it’s just easier to ignore, but certainly not the right thing.  We are all very blessed.  I like where I am at.


– Joel Fleischman.  Joel is Head Coach of the solution providers for Drexel Building Supply.  (drexelteam).   You can follow him on twitter:  @JoelmFleischman.   Our mission is to be a supplier of others happiness.  I hope this little post did just that.



Are you searching to be awesome?

Are you trying to mimic the person next to you, or someone else?

Are you worried you aren’t smart enough, have enough experience, or having trouble adapting?

These two things are the key ingredient to making your career a blooming success.

And they are so easy, you won’t even believe it.


  1.  JOY. People want to be around people that are happy.  But be beyond happy, joyful.  From your phone interactions to your demeanor in a casual hello, the best people are the most joyful.  Joyful means no matter what storm is thrown at them, they realize life is a gift.  Be joyful.  People will be attracted to you like fish to water.  Joyful is not only being happy, but expressing it. Oh, and if you have to… fake it.  Soon you will fall into the groove.  Which wolf will you feed?   wolf
  2. AUTHENTIC.  Be yourself.  Don’t fake it.  No not everyone will love you, we are all different, but everyone will appreciate you.  YOU were made for a reason, every part of you, every piece of hair, or what’s left of your hair, and because of that, embrace that.  People will appreciate that.   They want the piece of you that they aren’t.   They need you to be better themselves.  BE REAL.

Think about it.  Your favorite coach, your favorite teacher, your favorite relative.  I bet they were JOYFUL AND AUTHENTIC.   We tend to forget the rest.

– Joel Fleischman.  Joel is Head Coach of the solution providers for Drexel Building Supply.  (drexelteam).   You can follow him on twitter:  @JoelmFleischman.   Our mission is to be a supplier of others happiness.  I hope this little post did just tha