If There Isn’t Time to Do It Right…. | Shepley Wood Products
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If There Isn’t Time to Do It Right….

Watch a successful artist or a master mechanic and you will see that they have a system that they follow to succeed. The enemy of success is impatience and those who succeed find the way to stay in their lane, they follow a plan and they don’t fall into the do-over trap. Aristotle was quoted as saying “Well begun is half done” John Wooden said, “If there isn’t time to do it right, when will you find the time to do it over?”

I admit, I’m at least as impatient as you are, probably more. Active minds are always eager to jump to the next topic but where are we really going with our impatience? When I was in my late teens and full of adolescence, a friend of my father’s took me out on his boat for a man to man talk. He asked me if I were impatient and I replied, “Absolutely, I want to get things done!” He told me that impatience is a stall tactic. I told him I didn’t understand, I thought that impatience was a sign of wanting to get going, to get things done. “Not so,” he wisely replied. “Impatience is like a bull, pawing the ground, shaking his head in a menacing manner, and snorting. The bull may look menacing, but he is going nowhere, accomplishing nothing, it’s all for show.” My father’s friend said if I wanted to get something done, I should stop talking about it and start doing it. I admit it took me a while to begin to understand this. I think by the age of 21 it started to sink in. I hadn’t forgotten it, but until I gained some more experience, I couldn’t make full sense of the difference between appearance and accomplishment; the flurry of putting on a show of activity or actually getting down to the business of getting things done. The flurry of activity simply comes from our fight or flight genetics, while the business of getting things done is what has built cities and empires.

I am in awe of master mechanics, master carpenters who analyze and create the work that is named after them- masterpieces or the artist who can start with a blank canvas and transfer the painting they see in their mind to that canvas in a form most of us can’t imagine. Watching the patience of a mechanic who starts with the obvious and follows the trail to solution, without skipping ahead impulsively, and therefore staying aware of the barely visible clues needed to find the fix. Great lessons to be learned.

Paul Rogers, our lumber buyer, mentions in his article (pg.2) the importance of instructions and following them. Sure, I have been that guy who rips open the box and dives right into assembly only to find later that one critical missed step requires disassembly and do over. John Wooden was right, we learn patience by being wrong and taking twice the time because of our impatience.

We use a formula to explain to our manufacturers the real-world aspect of field installation. In our world, work doesn’t take place in a laboratory in 70 degree, dry conditions. Real world conditions don’t mean you’re installing one item in a perfect environment, they mean you’re installing 20 units in often harsh conditions. We came up with a name for this to help the engineers better understand the human element. It’s the 20/20/20/20 formula. We ask them to picture themselves installing 20 windows, on a 20 degree day, in a 20 knot wind, 20 feet off the ground, as an impatient 20 year old installer. Your shivering fingers lose their grip on the instructions that are carried away by the 20 knot wind, the caulking won’t flow out of the 20 degree caulking gun, you are hanging onto the staging for dear life, and later a factory rep tells you that you didn’t follow instructions and that the problem is not with the product, it’s with you. Frustrating situation! Our mission is to simplify things for people in the field wherever we can, to humanize instructions, and to help educate about the importance. However, I have learned from experience that if I jump ahead of the instructions and skip some of the critical parts, I shoulder the responsibility. On that 20 degree day, it’s better to spend 20 minutes at the start of the day in the warmth of my truck cab reading the instructions to make sure I understand, than to jump in with all my impatience and none of my preparation, to cost my self 20 hours or worse 20 days when the windows and doors leak because I skipped ahead.

Picture yourself on the operating table with an impatient surgeon who didn’t prepare…..not a pleasant thought. It is up to us to master our craft, to exercise discipline to stay focused on the task at hand, to not jump ahead to fall back later. I still have the image from my childhood of a Three Stooges episode, in which the patient gets off the operating table and as his feet touch the floor you can hear the rattle of surgical instruments that the Stooges sewed up in his stomach! Hey Moe, hey Larry, hey Curley…we all need to look before we leap! And yes, Aristotle was right!

"Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty to those for whom you work, and persistence." -Colin Powell