Overachieving eager beaver

Chris, a foreman for a Washington underground contractor, told session four of the Leadership Development LAB:

“It was August of 1993. I was younger and very new in the construction industry. Finishing a long work week on Saturday evening, my boss gave me a list of things he needed me to do for next week. The list had a bunch of closeout items…mostly cleanup for a new Costco store that was opening in two weeksover in Bend, Oregon. I was instructed to be onsite at 7 a.m. Monday morning. I was driving a dump truck and hauling a backhoe on a trailer behind me. I had never been to this site before. Our office was in Tigard, Oregon. So to be proactive, I got everything loaded up and headed to Bend Sunday night. I wanted to make sure I could find the job site and be on time Monday morning.

“It was a slow trip to Bend. I finally arrived there at 1 a.m. and checked into a room by 2 a.m. and I got a little sleep, When I woke up the first thing I did was head to work. I hustled around and picked up everything…silt fencing, bio bags, survey stakes, construction debris – you name it. I threw away everything. Loaded it all into my dump truck and a dumpster. I was given five days to complete the work but by hustling I was finished and back in our Tigard office in only four days.

“When my superintendent checked my work that Friday, it soon came to everyone’s attention that I had done such a good job, that I had even removed all the essential locationmarkers for water, sewer, and storm connections. Boy did I have egg on my face!

“The lesson I learned from this experience is no matter how good a job I want to do, there’s always the potential for a mistake if I don’t have the experience, training, or information needed to succeed.

“The action I call you to take when you send an inexperienced person to do a new task is to take special care in explaining all the details. Be sure they have the information and training they need to be successful.

“The benefit you will gain is you will avoid some of the inconvenience, embarrassment, and profit draining costs of rework.

I love this story! Can’t you just see this hard working young eager beaver cleaning up that site? He literally picked up everything in sight. Not because he didn’t care – it was because he cared so much and wanted to prove his worth. He had lots of motivation and just needed a little more know how.