8TH CIRCLE OF HELL

TGIM!

The 8th Circle of Hell in Dante’s Inferno was for all people that led their lives with fraud.  To me fraud can be offering “a great culture and customer service, when in reality it is anything but.”

You know a fraud when you see it.

On Friday we (Nate Sippel and I) entered that 8th Circle of Hell.  We went secret shopping at a competitor’s place in the Madison market…potentially the largest competitor to us in this market.

And HERE’S THE REPORT FROM HELL:

On the outside everything is clean and neat.  Looks good.  Pretty darn impressed.  I was thinking “I can see why they are the market leaders.”

The second we walked in we both literally whispered, “wow”.  Like not in a good wow, but in a wow when you go and see a relative and and stumble in his basement looking for another bottle of whiskey.   Where you suddenly see that they have a hoarding problem.  That low undertone, “wow”.   Seriously, that bad.

One person was at their sales counter.  He was the only person we saw, plained clothes, not formal at all.  We stumbled around a small display area (if you can imagine the displays about 1/10th the size of what we have for our showrooms) and ended up in their cabinetry showroom, which was also cramped and tiny.  The displays were untidy and unkept.  A new display, at least I assume a new was being put up, but no signage told me, but I just assumed it was under construction.

After literally running into the cabinet person, we said we were looking to build a deck.  She said, “OH, Trex?” An average consumer wouldn’t know what “Trex” was, but we were supposed to I guess that Trex meant decking.   She said “oh somebody would be with you shortly” and then walked away, where we continued to wander around.  Finally a guy couldn’t avoid us.  I can’t say he was happy to see us.   Anyways, we told him we were building a deck.

He asked what kind.  We said we didn’t know.  He went into Trex, then Azek, then deckorators (they displayed all 3).  They don’t STOCK ONE PIECE OF TREX (this is the largest most intimidating builder yard in the Madison market.)  Our stocking position on just about everything is much stronger than I even realized.  He did say they have a good vendor that comes twice a week.  A delivery charge on site was “maybe $10.”  They also had an azek display that was in shambles and a deckorator display.  I asked about those or the difference of them.  He said he liked TREX because he said he was most comfortable with it and knew it the best.  Ok… well then.   That didn’t give us much confidence.

Then we asked about railing and he rolled his eyes (seriously) and said there are so many options, wire, vinyl, wood, metal, and he went on and on, and then said, oh yeah, trex makes one too.  And then he stared at us; we stared back.  So I questioned, “Do you do deck design?”  He said, well if we had a sketch he would do a hand estimate.  “I just use my brain” he muttered and then would give us a list.  And we then did the staring game again.  I said, hey, “Can we go see your treated in the yard? I’d like to see the quality.”  He said sure, and pointed us on our way.  He didn’t walk with us or make sure we were assisted on our journey.

Ok, boy… this will be fun I thought, a self guided tour.  I wondered “How far can we take this trip?”  We then spent about 30 minutes in their yard.  Not one person, and there were maybe 7 or 8 people out there, greeted us or asked if we needed help.  Some people walked within 3 feet of us, but they kept their eyes down.   Two guys on a forklift talked to each other for about 15 minutes in the center of the yard.  One guy we think “ran” their millwork area outside.  He just hung out there, like a troll guarding his bridge.  We didn’t see one wood window job, not one full order of doors, not a single cabinetry order.   They didn’t stock any siding, and very little if any shingles.  They did have crock pits though.  And They did have a ton of leftover shit taking up space.

We did see a cool idea, they had rechargeable banding machines.  It melted the plastic.  We asked the guy if he liked them, he said he did.  Nate will be researching that.

After 30 minutes we simply walked out.

If you are not selling with confidence, please get secret shopping.  If you have builders that beat you up and weigh you solely on price, fire them and go find ones that appreciate happy people.  We must run our mission, we must supply happiness.  We must go take that market share in every corner of our area.

I am glad I don’t live or work in an 8th circle of hell.  I “almost” felt bad for them, to work in such a negative environment.  I can’t wait to take care of their clients.

The below is how we felt after our experience:

LET’S ROLL.

KEEP GIVING OUT HAPPINESS LIKE JELLY BEANS ON EASTER.  IT MAKES US UNIQUE. AND SPECIAL.  AND IT WORKS.

– 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.

 

MAD AS HELL

Tgim- a late edition!

Team,

Anger as motivation is some of the best fuel there is.

The below hangs on my dad’s desk.  Has for years.  His motivation is the company he used to work at.  They sued him when left.  Bashed him.  Told him he would fail.  Told his customers he would fail.  They mocked him.  He was “at the top” at that company, and then he was the enemy.  He still uses that as fuel 31 years later.

Find that pain.  Use it as fuel.  Here just a few of mine I think of – boy this makes me uncomfortable -(oh yeah, here is the soft underbelly of Joel, this is where you see inside me, but who cares, this is ME!)  You might find this all nuts, you probably will… but it’s my life.  I can’t change it.

25 years ago, way back to high school.  I was 3-19 in my last basketball game.  I was convinced I was the best player in the state that year.  No one could stop me where I wanted to go, I had big plans!  No one was going to crush my goals.  No one stood in my way.  Then, in my last game I missed 16 times.  Yeah, weird I still think about this right?  I do.  I think …never again.  Never again will I miss this much at anything.  I will OUTWORK THEM.

I have a friend.  He’s smarter than me.  He’s more athletic than me.  A better person than me. He has a rare disease. He’s in a wheel chair.  He has a hard time talking.  He can’t drive.  He can’t hunt can’t fish, can’t play catch with his kids, can’t go out for drinks, can’t golf…can’t, can’t, can’t.  He can’t be very influential in anything he does.  He’s never complained to me about it.  Ever. HE CANT.  I CAN. I MUST.

My sister died 17 years ago.  Her fiance who was like a brother to me after she died, he died two years later.  Then never had a chance to live an adult life.  So I live for them.

They tell me in my dreams:  Live for me!  SO I DO.

More you say?

All the haters, that told me behind my back (I heard them) After your dad retires, this will fail.  Joel didn’t earn this.  The son is a kook, he will fail.  They are growing too fast. They are too big.  They are losing focus.  You can’t sell flooring.  You won’t make it Brookfield.    It will never work.  You don’t know a thing about building.  You can’t sell cabinets in Wrightstown, the market is too hard.   You can’t hire people with no experience.  You can’t just keep trying things, all this eventually won’t work.  You are just a little lumberyard in Campbellsport, you aren’t a real business.  You aren’t a leader.  You aren’t much of anything.  You talk too much.  You can’t focus. You can’t raise margins.  You can’t just have fun and make money.  You can’t give that money to charity.  You don’t know this industry.   You are too young. You are now too old.  I hear it. I HEAR EM ALL .  

AND THAT MAKES ME MAD AS HELL, and what also MAKES ME GO!

This is my story, it’s kind of weird and probably makes very little sense to you.. that’s ok.

We all have our story. 

IT’S OKAY TO BE ANGRY.  TURN IN INTO POSITIVE FUEL.  TODAY, BE MAD AS HELL, AND THAT WILL DRIVE YOU TO A POSITIVE GREATNESS YOU DON’T THINK IS EVEN POSSIBLE.

 

RANDOM THOUGHTS VOLUME #5

TGIM!

Team,

Sometimes my thoughts overflow.  Instead of coordinating them in a nice package and losing all it’s passion (like trying to hold a butterfly) I will just let the thoughts flow.

***

‘In the belly, not the back’, All Blacks a New Zealand Rugby team says this as a mantra to stress importance to team culture of genuine and regular feedback amongst teammates.

As in, I’d rather be punched in the gut, then stabbed in the back.  The hardest core value we have is #10. Accountability.  The difference between world class organizations and mediocre ones is often accountability.  The practice of given straight quick feedback directly to a teammate without the concern or recourse of “personal judgement.”  Just punch em in the gut.  Tell em the truth.  Let em get better and don’t sweat it either way.  THEY ARE JUST HELPING YOU AND YOU HELPING THEM.  Better than, well you know we have this issue, I don’t want to say names, but they told me, not to tell you, but you know, well, they are just concerned about somethings that aren’t working like they should.  WHAT A BUNCH OF BULLSHIT.  HIT ME IN THE GUT, TELL ME, LET’S IMPROVE AND MOVE ON!

***

Words are important.

Simple mantras we have are IMPORTANT.

1% better

GSD (get shit done)

Ready. Fire. Aim.

Drink the Koolaid

On or off the bus.

When do you need it by – SOON… TO BE ADDED  FOLLOWED BY… WHERE DO YOU NEED IT???!!!

SUPPLY.  HAPPINESS.

Safety Third.

Love.  Serve.  Care.

Focus.

Core Values.

Bigger isn’t better.  Better is better.

In the weeds.

Organized on your behalf.

NO PROBLEMS.  ONLY SOLUTIONS.

****

All just words.  But words speak volumes.   Still don’t believe me… MAKE AMERICA GREAT, BUILD A WALL, DRAIN THE SWAMP.  What were Hillary’s mantras?  I forgot already too!

***

Doing 100 little things better 1% provides a gap.  That gap creates champions and moves you away from the competition.

***

Find the good.  It is so much easier to find the bad.  Find the good.  Start every meeting with “WHAT’S GOOD” and go around the room.  That’s a game changer.

***

TALK is the enemy.  Talk is frivolous and you will talk yourself out of more than you won’t.  Do stuff.  Don’t talk about stuff.

****

Why are you afraid of the process?  Why are you afraid of quitting smoking?  Because you will fail along the way?   Because it will be hard?  Because you will be crabby?  Why won’t you get started?  What is holding you back form the process?  Why don’t you call every open quote until you land the job?

***

Pre-flight and post-flight checklist. 

Imagine jumping on a plane and the pilot announces, you know this company doesn’t have time to do a pre-flight or post-flight checklist.  We done this 1000’s of times before, I’m experienced, let’s get this thing in the air!   Sorry, we just don’t have the time!

Yet, DO WE SCHEDULE DELIVERIES, SET UP INSTALLS, TAKE HUGE ORDERS, WITHOUT SEEING THE JOBSITE THE DAY BEFORE OR DAY OF?  WHEN THE JOB IS OVER, DO WE MAKE SURE IT WENT SMOOTH TO FIX MISTAKES FOR THE NEXT ORDER?   Think of all the fires that could be avoided if we TOOK THE TIME to avoid disasters?

PRE-FLIGHT AND POST FLIGHT IS THE KEY!

****

Humble.  We must stay HUNGRY AND HUMBLE.  ARROGANCE WILL KILL US.  EVEN THE SNIFF OF IT.  WE SUCK.  WE FAIL OFTEN.  WE CAN AND WILL DO BETTER.  I DON’T ONLY WRITE THAT, I TRULY BELIEVE IN 3 YEARS WE WILL LAUGH HOW MUCH WE SUCKED THIS YEAR.

****

BE YOU!  FOR GOODNESS SAKES, THERE IS ONLY ONE YOU.  BE GENUINE.  Think of the coolest people you know, they are more “THEM” then anyone else you know right?  They are probably a little goofy even, BECAUSE THEY AREN’T HIDING THAT!  BE YOU!

****

Two things to INSTANTLY IMPROVE:

  1. BE EARLY.
  2. SAY AND DO WHAT YOU SAY YOU ARE GONNA DO!

If you do that, you will be a leader in anything you do!

– 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.

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BOOK REVIEWS

TGIM!

What a gem by Chelsea Watzig as she just COMPLETED the book challenge.  Very proud of the Drexel team member she is becoming!

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STARBUCKS EXPERIENCE-

My initial thoughts when reading this book was the similarities between Starbucks and Drexel. From the concept of leaders to having principles, processes and procedures in place; I never knew Starbucks even had such a business model.

 

Within the 5 key concepts that make up their business model, “Make It Your Own” was the one that stood out to me most containing the “5 Ways of Being”. With the Starbucks foundation based upon Be Welcoming, Be Genuine, Be Considerate, Be Knowledgeable and Be Involved; it made me think of our Core Values and the meaning we give them within our culture.

 

“Everything the company does is intended to give the customer a positive, perhaps uplifting, experience while purchasing a quality beverage or food item”. Whether it’s a food and beverage item or building materials, it’s not WHAT you are selling, but the EXPERIENCE you are giving to all customers.

 

RAVING FANS-

This book speaks completely to Drexel. From having a vision in place to always delivering ‘Plus One’, Drexel is always working on improvements and analyzing areas for growth. Our consistency of how we do things, knowing what our clients want and always on a mission to Supply Happiness is what creates our “Raving Fans”.

 

It was interesting how Charlie went to different types of businesses to learn their ways and took home at least one secret of how that particular business was successful. From the food industry to the building industry, it’s all about the customers experience and what your company does to stand out from your competition.

 

SETTING THE TABLE-

The quote that stuck out to me was “It’s not hard to teach anyone the proper way to set a beautiful table. What’s impossible to teach is how to CARE deeply about setting the table beautifully”. This is so true when thinking about it. You really can teach anyone anything, but if they don’t have a passion for what they are doing or why they are doing it, you can’t change that. Relating to Drexel, not only do we hire 10’s, but we have a Team of people who love what they do and live by our core values. Hiring the right people, having high levels of communication and all sharing the same mission, anyone can become excellent at what they do job specific.

 

Once you have the right people working for your business, the number one factor of success will happen on its own; great hospitality. As the book states, “Success is based on meaningful human interaction to retain its soul”. When you have excellent service and amazing hospitality when a customer comes into your business, the price seems to be overlooked. Similar to Raving Fans, in order for you to create Raving Fans you must create a great experience for all customers as well as employees. As long as you always focus on taking care of people (employees, community, friends, suppliers, investors) long-term success will come naturally.

 

BURN YOUR GOALS-

By far my favorite out of all ten books! I see why it is the last one. I read this in four days and could not put it down. It really made me analyze my life and think about the things that I unintentionally focus on or do that is giving me no benefit for my future.

 

The concept of stop preparing and start planning along with burning the unrealistic goals you might be setting for yourself, really stuck with me. Everyone is always so worried about preparing for their future, when that is actually impossibe. You waste all of this time planning for what hasn’t come, when you could be focusing on tomorrow and improving whats in front of you by setting realistic goals for yourself. You never know what the day will bring and what life will throw at you when you wake up, but as long as you focus on the things that matter and are willing to change and grow with any circumstance, that is as prepared as you can be.

 

“Believe that everything that happens to you is in your best interest and an opportunity to learn and grow”. When you believe this along with treating people very well and always having a great attitude, no matter what happens to you, negative or positive, you will come out better than before.

 

“If you want to achieve your greatest potential, you must surround yourself with people who love you deeply, believe in you, encourage you, BUT who are also willing to challenge you to become the best you are capable of being”. Life is all about the connections you have and relationships you have built. You should always set out to enhance relationships as much as possible; showing genuine sincere appreciation, smiling more, listening to others & being the best you can be in every situation- you will live a successful full-filled life.

 

 

 

THESE BOOKS WERE FANTASTIC JOEL- thank you for giving our Team the opportunity to do this book challenge! It’s been a great weekend hobby- to read!

 

Cait- we can chat about my reviews on Monday.

BREAK BREAD

TGIM!

The Last Supper is THE most famous meal ever.  Breaking bread often builds a bond, a unity, a friendship.  As the saying goes, “Everybody has got to eat!”

Here is an inspiring TGIM from probably our most social team member Kari Wik:

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HAPPY MONDAY TEAM!

 

As I travel to the other stores, one of my goals is to meet more of the team and learn more names.  A fun way to get to know the team is over lunch. If you have never done this before, YOU SHOULD! Everyone likes eating good food and enjoying good company.

 

Thank you to everyone I have been lucky enough to have lunch with so far! I have enjoyed the laughs and the stories that were shared.  Some of the conversations were more serious and others were about process improvements.   All were time well spent. Sometimes taking a break and sharing some bread is just what your day or week needs.

 

 

Fun Facts I learned during my lunches:

  • We work HARD.
  • Our yard radios reach local establishments at lunchtime
  • Lots of us pack lunches
  • Many of our team members are trying to eat healthier
  • We have active families!
  • Some of us are getting married and having beautiful babies
  • We are proud of our fellow team members
  • We take great pride in our work!
  • And Frank Gitter won’t go to lunch no matter how many times I ask him. 😉

 

KEY LEARNING: WE HAVE AN AMAZING TEAM!

(But you already knew that, you work here.)

 

#balance

#havefun

tgim

 

(I got to have lunch with these guys! From left to right, Will Cotter, Kari Wik, Hayden Serwe)

KNOW WHAT YOU ARE COMPETING AGAINST

TGIM TEAM!

 

I have now come across two potential clients that purchase stocked Home Depot cabinets as an actual business practice.  They think they’re saving time and money; probably without considering the factors below:

 

1.)  Packaging

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You can imagine that MOST of these things were nicked up BEFORE they even hit the job site.  They won’t get prettier the longer they sit there waiting to get installed.

 

2.)  Low quality Laminate

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Actually shows the details of this full overlay door quite well; almost as well as the dents and scratches…  (sweet finger paint touch up though)

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3.)  No corner gussets or hanging rails + Terrible assembly =

 

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Just Glue, staples, and hope to hold your cabinet together.

 

 

In whatever shape it takes:nate7

 

 

 

 

OH WAIT I FOUND THE SCREWS!!!!!:

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If nothing else, you can now add some value to your Home Depot contractor: TELL THEM TO BE CAREFUL WHEN THROWING THIS CRAP IN THE TRASH

 

 

As shown below, shortsighted thinking is the real obstacle to overcome.  There are at least 31 people out there that need our help.

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Nate Westendorf, Cabinetry Sales & Design Specialist| Drexel Building Supply

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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