Inspiring People & Places: Episode 13

Title: Breaking Down the Origin of MCFA and Inspiring People & Places with Mike Steadman and BJ Kraemer

Episode Summary: In this episode, Mike Steadman, producer of this podcast, interviews BJ. Exploring BJ’s history in the military, and diving into the specifics of what brought him to MCFA and the show you are listening to. He provides helpful insight into how the military defined his path, the value in taking risks, and how he is still learning to lead today.

Host: Mike Steadman, IRONBOUND Media

Special Guest: BJ Kraemer, MCFA

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Planning, Prioritizing and Parenting

“Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.”
-Robert Fulgham

Maybe it’s just me, but something about the end of the school year has our kids running in high gear. End-of-year school celebrations, longer days, and the ice cream and sweets from the swim club snack bar also have them listening a little less than usual. It could be the pool water in their ears, but my wife and I are saying, “They just don’t listen,” a little more often these days. Then I read that quote by Robert Fulham, “Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.” 

Bam! 2×4 to the head. Worry that they are always watching you.

Not just a parenting lesson, but a leadership lesson.  

With Father’s Day upon us and the second quarter coming to a close, I wanted to share another parenting lesson we are going to start implementing this summer in our family. It’s from the book, The Family Board Meeting by Jim Sheils. Three years ago, we started implementing the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) by Gino Wickman at MCFA. Like many systems, it has us get out of the day-to-day business and work “on the business” – taking a long-term look at our vision and goals but focusing on the quarterly “rocks” to keep the business moving forward and growing towards our 10 and 25-year goals.  

We then started implementing some of the EOS system with our projects and clients.  MCFA is in the business of facility planning, project development, and program/construction management.  We assist clients with looking at their campus, facilities, real estate, and infrastructure and optimizing, modernizing, and adapting for their organization’s changing mission requirements – all while helping them oversee and manage those programs.

So, if we have quarterly “board meetings” for working “on the business” and quarterly meetings with our Project Leaders to work “on the projects,” why don’t we have quarterly planning sessions to work “on our families”? In The Family Board Meeting, Sheils challenges us as parents to make the same level of investment in our relationship with our kids as we do in our business. Having quarterly “board meetings” – essentially 4-8 hours of blocked time with each of our children to disconnect from screen time – to create a deeper, more meaningful, connection with each of them. I love the concept, and maybe in a future email will let you know how it’s going.  

Until then, I wish all of the Dads out there a Sunday full of peace & quiet, a nap with the sweet sound of the US Open playing in the background, and listening kids. And remember – they are always watching US!

Happy Father’s Day to all.

BJ Kraemer, President

Inspiring People & Places: Episode 12

Title: Planning: The Art of Possible with Phil Abramson, Founder & CEO of Topology

Episode Summary: In the following episode, BJ sits down with Philip Abramson, Founder & CEO of Topology, a real estate consulting firm providing a full range of services in planning, development, and project management. With a focus on urban areas and downtowns, clients include for-profit and nonprofit developers, municipalities, redevelopment agencies, public authorities, and business improvement district entities.

Host: BJ Kraemer, MCFA

Special Guest: Phil Abramson, Topology

Click here to listen on iTunes.

Click here to listen on Spotify.

Click here to listen online.

Episode Resources:

Lincoln on Leadership: Executive Strategies for Tough Times by Donald T. Phillips

The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York by Robert A. Caro

The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

Transactional or Transformational?

“Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives – choice, not chance, determines your destiny.”

Something is inspiring and invigorating about a fresh start. Remember when you started a new job or joined a new team? Or when you kicked off a new project? A new year with a new gym membership? Or the clean smell of a fresh new notebook at the beginning of the school year…”this is the year I get straight A’s” or “lose 10 pounds” or “stay ahead of my assignments.” That fresh start feeling of hope and excitement with a little bit of anxiousness?
That’s what our new employees and interns are feeling. They are coming into our companies and organizations hoping that they will do great things, and we hired them because we believe that they can do great things. And guess what? We are both right if we are intentional about it. Intentional means commitment and focus. It means deliberate and calculated.
This week we hired three new employees. An intern, a recent graduate, and a Junior Engineer with 2 years of experience. They are putting trust in our organization to help guide them on their career path. We have a choice, together. We can make this transactional or transformational.  
A transactional relationship looks like the employee gets a paycheck and some project experience, and MCFA gets some work done and makes a profit. That’s what business is…transactions, right?
Not at MCFA, and I hope not at your organization. With every customer interaction, every project, every partner, and every employee relationship, we have the chance to be transformational in the improvement and growth of that individual or organization. We have the chance to inspire people and places.  
Now, it’s not just on us as leaders to make this a transformational relationship…it takes two to tango, as my parents used to say. A relationship requires investment from both parties. We aren’t just trading an employee’s time for company money. We are intentionally investing our time as leaders and our company dollars into the development, training, and growth of the employees we hire. And we are looking for them to invest their talent, passion, hard work, and grit to support the company’s objectives and our clients’ projects & problems.  
Back to intentionality – how focused and deliberate are your conversations with employees? How intentional are your plans to help them grow? If you aren’t helping them grow, how do you expect them to help you grow? A lot of summer internships are kicking off. One day those intentional internships could turn into excellent executives.  
Are you grooming executives or managing man-hours?  
Leaders make the difference.

BJ Kraemer, President