What Makes a Great Day, Week, Month, and Year?
by Tom Emison, Vice President of Strategy and Innovation; and Judd Jennrich, Mobile Technology Coordinator
This is the first in a series of blogs devoted to business strategy and innovation. Tom Emison is a 20+ year veteran of strategic business planning and organizational leadership in the U.S. construction industry. Judd Jennrich has been in the mobile technology field since 1998 and has nearly 15 years of experience managing people, shaping culture, and motivating others to reach their full potential.
Tom Emison on Making the Most of Your Day
I took part in a Lean Construction meeting not long ago here at KA. Lean Construction has swept the U.S. construction industry and is now in common practice in many companies and therefore on hundreds of U.S. construction projects every day. An industry transformation is underway, bent toward continuous process improvement and respect for one another. It’s not so much a fad as it is a new way of thinking; a clearly better way of thinking and putting construction work in place.
- The meeting I took part in is called a KA Lean Coffee, during which a small group of KA employees gather to talk about… stuff. OK, it’s more than that. There is a process, a structure, and objectives. There is a meeting facilitator (that day it was Katrina Lulich, KA project assistant.) During the discussion, we raise a dozen or more possible topics we wished to work through the conversation. We narrowed it down, together. We hit four topics that day, resulting in one new process improvement, two culture shifts we need to better manage, and then there was this fourth topic: What makes a great day? The question had been posed by Judd Jenrich our Mobile Technology Specialist who was brand new here at KA that week. At first blush, his question felt like an easy lob softball ready to just swing at and hammer over the fence. The great day?• Up at 4:15 am, a great breakfast, a few minutes with our dogs, quiet drive to the gym, epic 90-minute workout, easy commute to work, a productive day, some appreciation for my efforts, engagement with younger professionals at KA, (who continue to blow me away with their knowledge, work ethic, and passion), skip lunch or eat at my desk, plenty of water to drink, measurable progress on our culture shift to a more innovative company, a walk or two around the block, back to my desk, finish out my e-mail replies, easy commute home, time with Pam and the dogs, no bills in the mail, and The Minnesota Wild win their game before I crash for the night – my great day!
But, no two days are identical. And, there is more to a great day than what I accomplish or do. So, his question actually begs another question: when you add them all up, days, weeks, months, then a year – what makes a great day in that context? Well. Then my answer is a little different:
- No progression of Pam’s Multiple Sclerosis, deep Bible study, time with my adult children learning what they are doing, why, and with whom, helping KAers find traction and great meaning in their work, quality time with addicts I work with in their recovery from drugs and alcohol, financial planning for our retirement, some light yard work and time in my man-cave garage cranking some tunes from the ‘70s real loud, and maybe a fast bike ride in fresh air.
Notice the difference? My first answer was less deep but in chronological order that day. My second answer was more deep and long-term. We each have our motivations, job duties, burdens and visions. We bring into each day years and years of accumulated energy, knowledge, and even some baggage. What makes a really great day is when I discover at the end of the day that I’ve left my baggage behind!
Judd’s answer to his own question is below. It shows the quality of people we have here and that our future is bright!
Judd Jennrich on Making the Most of Your Day
I have enjoyed all of the aspects of our Lean coffee, Lean happy hours, and Lunch and Lean sessions that we have had. Coming from the technology field with no prior knowledge of the construction industry, these meetings have given me some great insight on our big picture as an organization as well as the type of high quality individuals we employ here at KA. I’m an advocate for driving culture in the workplace and these meetings do just that. I have found our discussions to be invaluable as the diverse topics we discuss make me think twice in my daily work and challenge myself to get out of my comfort zone and grow. Below is how I define a great day.
- I know it’s going to be a great day when I wake up and I am comforted hearing music come from my 8 year old son’s room. Jonas sleeps with the radio on and I am immediately reminded that he is home with me for the 3-4 days a week I have him. I wake him up and get greeted with a sleepy “Good morning dad.” I get him off to school and head to work. Once at work I am rewarded by using my unique skill set to problem solve and help others. This will give me a great sense of satisfaction because I am a small part of building or remodeling a school or hospital that thousands in the future will rely on, including my son’s school. On this day someone will genuinely tell me they appreciate what I do and are thankful for the service I provided. I will head home engaged and excited that I make a difference. I will pick up my boy, get him dinner and off to his football or wrestling practice. I will tuck him in at night after we do homework and enjoy my hour or two of downtime in the evening. I will watch some sports, stay in touch with friends on social media, and listen to music before bed.
One of my favorite speakers is Tony Robbins. A topic that Tony speaks about quite a bit is the power of action. We are constantly growing and changing as people. This is one of the reasons no two days will ever be the same. You have the power to turn a bad day into a great one just by making the conscious decision to do so. The mystery of what is to come in the hours and days ahead for me is part of my great day.
“You decide every moment of every day who you are and what you believe in. You get a second chance every second” – Tony Robbins
- If I were to generalize what a great day looks like for me it would take many shapes. Spending time with my son Jonas and teaching him about life, career progression and learning new skills at work, planning my next great travel adventure, going for a car ride in the summer with the top down, taking in live music or a sporting event with friends, exploring new local restaurants and nightlife, working on a home improvement project, and spending time with extended family. All of those things can’t happen in one day but collectively having those things in my life helps make everyday a great day!
Make it a great day!
Check out this short podcast on having a great day.
Check out these 50 Life changing quotes from Tony Robbins.