Pursuit of Happiness?

“Happiness begins where selfishness ends.”
-John Wooden 

We live in a world obsessed with happiness. You want to be happy, right? So do I! And if only I made more money, or got in better shape, or had a new car, or…

THEN I will be happy.

The want for more or different or better is marketed to us at every corner of our (and our kids’) lives – TV, radio, Amazon, Facebook, etc. I think this want for more is leading us down a road of becoming a very selfish society. We expect instant gratification because of having everything on-demand at our fingertips. We have everything we could imagine, and yet…we still aren’t “happy.”

I think the way we change this is to refocus the conversation from happiness to fulfillment. Fulfillment is a basic concept. We have learned it through sports, school and service projects. The most rewarding things are when we sacrifice, work hard and persevere to accomplish something for ourselves. Take it a step further –when we sacrifice, work hard and persevere to help someone else achieve something for themselves. Now that’s fulfilling! That makes me happy.

So whatever your role, think about how you can help others accomplish something. We all have opportunities, big and small, to make a difference in someone’s life. It reminds me of the Starfish story.
Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean for exercise.

One day, the old man was walking along a beach that was littered with thousands of starfish that had been washed ashore by the high tide. As he walked, he came upon a young boy who was eagerly throwing the starfish back into the ocean, one by one.

Puzzled, the man looked at the boy and asked what he was doing.

The young boy paused, looked up, and replied, “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach, and they can’t return to the sea by themselves. When the sun gets high, they will die unless I throw them back into the water.”

The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”

The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled, and said, “It made a difference to that one!”
Who can you make a difference for?

Have a FULFILLED weekend!

BJ Kraemer
President, MCFA

Over and Over Again

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
-Albert Einstein

What are you currently doing in your organization that is getting no results? Or worse than that, getting negative results?

Think about it.

Maybe you have too many meetings scheduled. Maybe you don’t have a meeting agenda in place. Maybe you don’t have the right person running the meeting.

I often quip that the A/E/C industry stands for Archaic, Expensive and Complicated.

Maybe you agree. Maybe you don’t.

But creativity is the path to innovation, and innovation is the path to value creation. Our job as consultants, advisors, contractors and engineers is to solve problems. That’s how we create value for the clients we work for. It is important to are always asking is there a better way to do this? Is there anything we can change or do differently? If this were easy, what would it look like?

In the Army, one of the most effective disciplines of Army culture is the After Action Review (AAR).

After a Training event? AAR!

After a mission? AAR!

After a training class, range or even a PT test? AAR!

But the insanity comes when you don’t change or implement the lessons learned. That’s what I am thinking about as we wrap up the quarter and look to year-end planning. Take a look at your to-do list and your weekly calendar. What are the things you should stop doing or put more intention behind doing? If you are wasting your time with it, you are probably wasting your team’s time with it, too. Keep in mind that we cannot better ourselves and our organizations if we keep doing the same ineffective things over and over again!

BJ Kraemer
President, MCFA

Where Were You?

“Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost, a way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11.”
-Barack Obama

It’s been a big week here in New Jersey at MCFA and in the Kraemer house. Professionally, we are mobilizing and recruiting for big projects that are kicking off and riding the end of fiscal year proposal wave. Personally, it’s been a transition from swim club and beach weekends back to school and sports schedules.  

I can’t ignore the 20th anniversary of 9/11, which feels especially heavy this year with the recent efforts to evacuate Afghanistan. 20 years? How is that possible?

So, where were you?

It’s one of those questions that we ask a lot when the anniversary of 9/11 comes around.   I was starting my Yearling (Sophomore) year at West Point. I had just left Physics class and then…you know the story. My West Point class remembers the events of 9/11 with this short video.

Hard to believe it’s been 20 years. Sometimes it feels like yesterday, and other times it feels like an eternity. Many lives were lost that day, and many more lives were lost defending those ideals we hold so dearly.

But, somehow, while the emotions of that day come back to me, I always think about the period right after the attacks. We were the UNITED States of America. American flags flying everywhere. U-S-A chants would start small and turn into a roar at random sporting events, bars and college campuses. We were a nation that was focused on helping and healing. We were a nation united

9/11 was a reminder that we have a lot more in common than what divides us.   So this weekend, let us honor the memories of those lost by finding a small way to be united. Connect with a neighbor or a stranger. Say thank you to a police officer in your community or help someone less fortunate. 

9/11 was IS a reminder we have a lot more in common than what divides us.

BJ Kraemer, President

MCFA Announces SDVOB Status in the State of Virginia

MCFA is excited to announce our certification as a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business in the state of Virginia! MCFA has been providing strategy & planning consulting,  program management, and construction management services to public and private clients worldwide since 2003.  We bring a talented team of planning and engineering experts in transportation development and engineering projects for the Department of Defense and other federal and local agencies.

MCFA personnel are coveted assets and strategic planning partners for agencies and missions that wish to have their key facilities and infrastructure projects executed.  We bring a sense of urgency,  passion, and problem-solving expertise to help develop and take your key projects from vision to reality.  Additionally,  MCFA offers our clients broad support of ancillary matters,  including access to in-house legal counsel for land use policy,  land transactions, and real estate advisory and transactional support services.

To find out more about how we work, explore our website or email us at info@mcfaglobal.com.