The Magic of Crawling in the Dirt to Build a Loyal Team
People are often surprised to learn I have nine children. And that they’re all from the same amazing woman I’ve been married to for 24 years. Even more amazing is that she’s stayed in great shape, wakes with a smile each day and still greets us with a sense of love and humor.
We live in a well-developed, traditional suburb of Salt Lake City, Utah. It’s wonderful to have hundreds of kids this close so my children have lots of good friends. On an average day we have 15 to 30 people in our home. Kids love to come over, hang out or play but, what’s difficult is to teach them to work. We don’t live on a ranch so how do you teach your children self-reliance and the enjoyment of hard work? Especially when many of their friends are basically standing there in amazement as the world goes by.
The way we’ve done it is through building. We build everything together. We’ve built a tree house that spans 9 trees, has 2 trampolines, 3 hammocks, 2 rock walls, an adult sitting area and 9 slides. Among many other projects we’ve also erected a conservatory, moved the kitchen from the front of the house to the back and vaulted the ceiling from 8 to 24 feet. We’ve cut tile in a blizzard and laid cement in the heat. Through it all we’ve learned to work happily together (…and that was a trick. Dad had to learn patience first.)
People think we’re building a house. What we’re building is kids (and parents).
One day at school the teacher asked the kids to write about their favorite room. Kids wrote about the toy room or kitchen or bedroom. My son wrote about our laundry room. When asked why, he said, “I’ve built it. I’ve crawled around in the dirt to install plumbing. I’ve put in every stud, cut every piece of tile, painted every wall and installed all the electrical.”
My children don’t just talk about never leaving the area because they would miss their friends. They talk about never leaving this house because their sweat is in it. The bond to their brothers and sisters is in it. As a group they want to buy it if we ever sell it. They’ve learned to enjoy the process of work not just a ribbon at the end.
Discover Dirt: If you’re reps aren’t crawling around in the dirt, finding out how and why your services and your products work…they’re missing the magic. And you’re missing their loyalty.
Enjoy the Work Process: Reps who get a pat on the back once a quarter or just waiting for the paycheck are missing the magic in “enjoyment of the process.” They’ll leave at the next bigger paycheck.
Deep Understanding drives performance: Spending time each day and each week getting your reps deep into your company is not a luxury. It’s your competitive loyalty (performance) advantage.
Ownership of Knowledge: The hard work of digging in and understanding is never lost. It’s gained in a sense of ownership and loyalty.
Do your employees dig your company enough to buy it? When they do…you’ve got their loyalty.