Matt K just conquered the book challenge, here in all it’s glory is his final review.  (Spoiler alert, if you are IN the book challenge, um, don’t read this.)

Matt, Millwork Guru and assistant store leader in Brookfield, aka "Gronk" pictured with his wife Cari and some dude in a Bucky Badger costume.

Matt, Millwork Guru and assistant store leader in Brookfield, aka “Gronk,” pictured with his wife Cari and some dude in a Bucky Badger costume.





Hey Joel,




Thanks for initiating the challenge.


Thank you Keith for staying on me in the beginning.  It was a push that I was not initially a huge fan of haha, but well worth it.


This is by far the most I have read since college and it has been well worth it.


I won’t apply everything (really learned a lot) but I will do my best to take what I can and use it when makes sense.




This was my least favorite book.  There is a lot to gain from this book, but it was just a little slow for me.  In the begging when he was talking about all the places he had been and all of the different food he has eaten it just made me hungry…but honestly I’m hungry all the time so it may not have been the book.


Biggest take aways for me from the book…


-Be selective at times, don’t dive in without thinking it through.  He had many opportunities to open restaurants, whether it was a different style of food or different location.  He was always selective.  Did his research about the neighborhood, other surrounding resturants, timing, would he have the right people and time to make it successful?  We also need to do this at times.  Is a new account awesome?  YES!  Are they all good fits? NO

-Anyone can do what we do…we will do it better.  It’s the little things that make us special, makes us different…makes people talk.  Anyone can open a restaurant…most fail.

-Don’t set out to be average, everyone can be average. He was always pushing for profection on every night, because any given night could be the night the critic comes in.  Head of house, wine temp, items on the menu, salt placement…nothing over looked or unnoticed.

-Be passionate!  Give it your all, if you can’t don’t bother.  When you go out to a resrutaunt you know when they don’t care.  I’m sure our clients can tell too. Anyone can push paper, take orders etc…we you have a passion people see it and feel it.  Clients will feel that genuine passion and be less inclined to find a new supplier…or restaurant.




-Great life book.  Are there things to take away that you can apply to work? Absolutely, but this is a must read for everyone and anyone.

-Every day we take things for granted, being able to walk, fresh air, healthy, I can see, I have food at home…the list could go on forever.  Take time to appreciate how lucky you are…every day.

-Don’t get caught up in the rat race.  When I die no one is going to talk about what I sold in millwork in 2034, no one is going to announce how many sq. feet my house is.  Hopefully everyone is going to talk about the people I touched, the memories I made, the relationships I made, love I shared…My wife is not going to care how much money I make….they are lots of rich people that are divorced.  Remember what is important every single day!!

-Living funeral.  Everyone always says these amazing things about people after they die…Did they ever get to hear that?! Why not?! Tell them!!  I could call my mom and let her know how much she means to me on the way home tonight and she would cry, I know because I have done it.  That’s not hard.  How many guys tell that to their dad?  One of their buddies?  Tell people what they mean to you, how much you love them, it’s ok.

-I knew he was going to die when I started the book, yet I found myself trying not to cry while finishing it at the gym in a cut off t-shirt…super badass

-Don’t get lost in your day to day…everything else is going to go away, and it doesn’t matter.



STARBUCKS EXP it, breath it, embrace it.  They do it and so do we.

-They sell something that tons and tons of other people do, and so do we.  They also try to WOW everyone they can.  Little things can go along way.  Spill your coffee?  On the house.  Coffee for the road? Take your Drexel travel mug.

-Create loyalty.  Everyone has “their” Starbucks.  We are making so they have “their” supplier.  We are and will continue to do the little things along the way and make everyone from top to bottom feel special, and that is why they will stay.

-They really care about their “partners” just like we do our team members.  It is a lot easier to buy in when you aren’t just another number.  From top to bottom everyone cares about me here, I love that and I tell everyone that asks.  I think people love to work at Starbucks, not that they love coffee, but the culture around them.  That’s why my closet is full of blue…love it here!

-Employee empowerment…empower to WOW.  We are all have the ability to WOW, put out fires, make the call (within reason)

-Surprise and delight.  We come in early, stay late, send the wiene wagon…that goes a long way.  Don’t forget that.  This is what makes us different, makes us special.

-Embrace the resistance.  Good, bad, really bad…always an opportunity to get better, learn, put out a fire so fast it makes you look good.

-Leave your mark. Charity, loyalty…just care when others don’t.

-Attention to detail.  Letting the coffee go for longer than an hr, one guy noticed.  One guy notices when we kill it too.  He talks, word spreads.




-You always have a choice.  Choosing to do nothing is still a choice.

-Everything happens for a reason..even when stuck in traffic.

-Everything is in your best interest and use it as an opportunity.  Even when we was bleeding from his nose he still said this.  I am focusing on this, bad thigs are a way to get better.  You can always learn or find good in every situation.  It make take some effort, but it’s there.

-READ READ READ READ…someone has done everything, and they prob did it really well…then wrote about it.  This is the most I have read since college and I am going to continue to better myself, I promised myself that.

-Don’t focus on your goals, focus on the process.  If you do everything it takes to get there and you do it all right, or bounce back…you will get there.

-How are you using all your minutes?  Are you getting better? Are you getting better mentally? Reading? Practicing? Embracing the grind?

-Don’t wait for the moment, train for the moment.  If you are always training for it, when it presents itself you will be ready.

-Don’t listen to yourself, talk to yourself.  It’s easy to talk yourself out of things or put yourself down.  Pick yourself up and talk yourself  into it!

-Learn from others, mimic what they do, pick up good habits…Julian Edelman did it with Wes Welker, seems to be working out.




Again, so glad I did it.


Thanks for the push fellas.





Matt Kavetschanky






Be early.

Or be late.

It is impossible to be exactly on time, so choose to be early.

Being late shows that you value your time more then the other person’s.

They might think you are rude or arrogant.  Nobody wants to be thought of as rude or arrogant.

It’s a discipline.

Don’t be afraid to call out a team member or trade partner for being late… and use core value #10 #accountability as the reason.

Being early is important.


– 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.



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.