In the last two months I had two vacations.  One with my family and one with 2 dear friends of Pam and myself.

I had a chance to read, reflect, watch multiple sunsets, get a little sun, have a few drinks, share many stories.  At those times, often is when clarity comes to me.  Things we should do, must do, or shouldn’t be doing.   Here are a few of them.


First though, we changed some big things in Kiel and Little Chute this week.  Why? Wow!  Where did this come from?

Team we do NOT let go of people in our family with rash decisions, or angry emotions.  Often I quote the following… I have never personally let a person go in my life.  I am reacting to the team, or customers feedback, it is beyond a group decision: always.  It was a tough call, a very tough call as anyone asked to leave our company is, but needed.  I am not cold blooded, but I am inspired to run a world class organization, and with that sometimes change is needed.   I

f that is gut punch for you… don’t be scared.  That’s no way to live.  But it is ok, even encouraged, to ask a question if you are scared… “hey Coach am I doing ok, am I doing enough …?”

Sean, after we purchased Little Chute in November, was a hard working, loyal leader.  He retired.  Can’t fault a guy for chasing his other passions.  He offered to stick around for awhile, which shows his loyalty.  I told him, Sean, we will be fine.  Go be happy.  I wish that for all of you as well.

To say Thank you to anyone that has worked at Drexel at anytime over the course of 30 plus years is not only appropriate and obvious, but also there is no way I can thank them enough.  Life is weird I know.  I seem so “caring” now, when we it was my call to part ways.  I can even seem like a hypocrite I am sure.

This job isn’t easy folks.  But it is my job.  And we will go forward.

We aren’t going to shake things up with some radical new leaders.  Don’t worry.  That person will share the same visions of what we have.


Now my Randoms…


Team, in life, and Drexel I suppose, there needs to be kindness with BOUNDARIES.  We can be kind but we must have boundaries that we just can’t cross.  Just an example: Account managers can’t blow off huddles because they are working remote all the time.  Not in our culture.  Will.  Not.  Work.  Occasionally to call in sure.  But not as a habit.  I could go on.  As leaders, all of us, don’t beg, don’t bitch, but lead with kindness and boundaries.


Don’t beg.

Don’t bitch.

Set boundaries… and then hold everyone accountable to them.

John Wooden, 10 time NCAA basketball men’s champion did not allow facial hair.  True story.

Bill Walton, finest player in the country and a hippie in the 70s, boarded the bus to the away game, unshaven.  Bill I am sure thought, “I am the best in the country, the rules can’t apply to me.”

Wooden, didn’t bitch or beg.  He was kind.   He stated that he liked the look, but it was against team rules so Bill should get off the bus and if he wished shave and find a way to the game.  Which Bill did!

Wooden, didn’t call the School Chancellor and ask, what should I do with Bill.  He didn’t wait for Bill’s excuse.  He didn’t meet for an hour discussing it with Bill.  And he didn’t scream at Bill either in front of everyone.  He didn’t BEG Bill to change.    He didn’t BITCH.  But he DID hold Bill accountable.

We can learn a lot from that story.


Act like a ROOKIE.

Todd Flitter has been using this one.  Our team needs to act like Rookies.  Rookies have energy.  They are thankful for orders, and tell their clients.  They follow up religiously.  Ask tons of questions.  They are happy just to have one account and be on a team.    They aren’t overwhelmed.   They are approachable and coachable.

I like that.



There is a term I love for our sales team: RELAXED NINJAS.  I think that should be our goal in 2019.  How do we transform our stressed out sales people into relaxed fun ninjas?  I look forward to that challenge.  That is what they want and our CONTRACTORS want as well.   Relaxed ninjas.  I am looking forward to getting there.   Our team, their families, and our clients will sense it and it will take us to a whole new stratosphere!


Ok, produce stand is open.  What project are you working on…that now that sales season is here… you just have to put on the back burner until that cold day in winter.  Use a snooze, notes, google drive as a reminder.  Be smart.  Think before you do.



I assume relaxed ninjas are organized.   I can’t say it enough.  Youmail.  Google Notes.  Snooze.  All great tools.   Your phone can be a deadly weapon, or a time drain.



Team, pauls is a real thing.  Gonna happen.  Dan Evers HAS designed a home with a 3-d walk thru, a rendering, a material list, and can do the truss quote automatically.   We also have found some great leads on automated equipment.  Stay.  Tuned.  Just because we don’t know what the future looks like, doesn’t mean we should run towards it.  The builders I have been talking to are not only very receptive, but are craving it.


Get Ready to Be Busy.

Part of being organized, a relaxed ninja, a rookie, is doing FIRST THINGS FIRST.

Each day, or the end of the day, whatever your mood, make a list of things to do.


Great leaders, teammates, people, athletes do that.

Golfers you can’t worry about the next hole and if you miss that shot and then what.

Swing, concentrate.  Move on.

Same with our jobs.  Feel overwhelmed?  Why?


As I lead Kiel and Little Chute…yes I am the “short term” coach there I will just do FIRST THINGS FIRST.



Sunday 6am.  I am writing my TGIM.  DON’T BITCH AT ME or ANYONE ELSE… THAT YOU ARE BUSY IF YOU AREN’T GRINDING SOMETIMES.  I am not talking burnout.  But there are points in your career that you HAVE TO GRIND.  Balance is real, I am going to be with my family the rest of the day…but right now.  I AM GRINDING.   Yesterday afternoon many of you got a few e-mails from me, I don’t want you to keep pace with me, I am just saying, IF YOU HAVE PLACES YOU WANT TO GO, YOU BETTER GET GOING.


The builder said RIGHT AWAY.  ASAP.  NOW.

We are better than that.  YOU ARE BETTER THAN THAT.   Ask better questions and quit putting the entire supply chain IN A HYPER STATUS.  QUIT IT.  YOU ARE BETTER THAN THAT.  Drill down, have a conversation and get better.




Here is something I am wondering and will take to the team as well.  Just and idea.  As A-Rodge says, “RELAX.”

I wonder… job titles are meaningless, I realize that.  Yet, words are very powerful.  Choose wisely… so

Coaches… in life have the power to fire, etc.  Our coaches aren’t really coaches.  They are really captains of the team.  The guy on the bench with you that wears the “C”.  I think maybe our coaches just be re-titled Captains.  More appropriate.

So Coaches to Captains?

Store Leaders… kind of blah.  Not really us.  We really don’t have stores.  Menards has stores.  Kohl’s has stores.

Ok, how about Head Coach.  I like that.  Head Coaches are some of the best leaders in the world, aren’t they?  hmmm….

What about Spuda and Beth “vps”…. I don’t like that either.  We don’t have presidents, why do we have vps…

How about Leaders?

The difference between a captain and leader.  80% of a leaders time is leading their team.  20% of a captains time is coaching.

and two more…

Account Managers don’t have an assigned leader by “title”.

Maybe, just maybe Todd Flitter should be

the Account Manager Leader.  Nice and clear. (Words are powerful.)

and then Doug Carlson…


Andy is Defensive Coordinator


Doug’s title:  Offensive Coordinator

To recap:

Coaches go to Captains

VPs go to Leaders

Store Leaders go to Head Coaches

Todd to Account Manager Leader

Doug to Offensive Coordinator, speaking to an emphasis with the account managers but a little bigger picture of it all.

Looks like the business card company may have just got a little busier.

Stay tuned…. just my idea, we will put it on the team to decide.



Store Leaders (head coaches?) on Thursday are having our monthly meeting where we really try to work on all the above and more.  They have a cadence and a groove.  We try to learn from each other.  I enjoy these.   We haven’t done anything “fun” together in years.  Too busy “grinding” and we don’t want to set a bad example.  BUT sometimes you JUST GOTTA HAVE FUN!  We will be at opening day of the Brewers game, followed by the Bucks game that night.  Wish us well.  Wish us fun.   We will be back Friday.

The reason to step back and have a little fun sometimes as I started this blog IS when you slow down all the magic happens.  As Whitty is hanging off a chandelier and Doug is climbing a roof, will be the exact time CJ and I have a breakthrough of some sort.  Yep.   For real.


Lastly… a few Crocuses are budding.  Robins are chirping.  I hope you stay off the TV, unless you love college hoops or are binge watching a movie or series…then enjoy!… and get your butt outside a bit.

It’s where the magic happens!

See you all Monday.  I have a couple stores to be the Head Coach of!  Can’t wait!