Inspiring People & Places: Episode 51

Title: “Start and Sustain a Successful Career in the AEC Industry”

Episode Summary:

On today’s solo episode, BJ answers burning questions from the MCFA team and our listeners! He explores how to set yourself up for success in the AEC industry, how to maintain that success, and the risks that come with both opportunity and growth.

Let us know what you think of today’s episode by messaging BJ on LinkedIn here.

Host: BJ Kraemer, MCFA

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts.

Click here to listen on Spotify.

Click here to listen online.

Episode Resources:

Steve Jobs Commencement Speech

Matthew McConaughey Speech

Be Good, Do Good

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
-Mother Teresa

For as long as I can remember, my Dad would say, “Be good, do good.” He would say this every day as we left the house. A simple mantra, and a reminder to work hard and be a good person.  

This week, Trey (our five-year-old), had “Kindergarten Orientation.” As they headed in, my wife sent me a picture of him. I immediately flashed back to getting dropped off at school, and that mantra came right back. “Be good, do good.”

Simple. Clear. Concise.

I thought about it and saw how easily we can over-complicate our lives. We allow an over-complicated world to make us feel like it’s harder than just being good and doing good.  

I got back to work. Natalie and Trey came back excited about his classmates, teachers, and the craft they did. Then, he handed me a paper from his teacher.

You may have read it or heard of it before, but I think it’s worth the reminder.

All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum
 Most of what I really need
To know about how to live
And what to do and how to be
I learned in kindergarten.
Wisdom was not at the top
Of the graduate school mountain,
But there in the sandpile at Sunday school.

These are the things I learned:

Share everything.
Play fair.
Don’t hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life –
Learn some and think some
And draw and paint and sing and dance
And play and work every day some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out into the world,
Watch out for traffic,
Hold hands and stick together.
Be aware of wonder.

The world, our projects or our professional lives may make us feel like life is more complicated. Let this be a reminder to simplify and look back on those important lessons from Kindergarten.  

Each and every day, let’s try to “be good” and “do good.”

BJ Kraemer, President

Inspiring People & Places: Episode 50

Title: “Understanding the Infrastructure of Education with Luis Vildostegui, Senior Principal and Education Section Leader at Stantec”

Episode Summary:

On this week’s episode, BJ sits down with Luis Vildostegui, Senior Principal and Education Sector Leader at Stantec. Luis elaborates on the many turns his career has taken, the global locations he’s impacted, and how effective communication and collaboration are key to effective projects, no matter the scale or location. 

Learn more about Luis here.

Connect with Luis on LinkedIn here.

Let us know what you think of today’s episode by messaging BJ on LinkedIn here.

Host: BJ Kraemer, MCFA

Special Guest: Luis Vildostegui, Stantec

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts.

Click here to listen on Spotify.

Click here to listen online.

Remind to Remember

“The only thing worse than training employees and losing them is to not train them and keep them.”
-Zig Ziglar

To be part of a continuously improving organization, you must also continuously improve.

As you probably know, I place a very high value on training. It’s been hammered into me throughout my life, whether as a student, athlete, Soldier or Engineer Officer. A lot of time, money and effort has been spent preparing, planning and executing training.  

But, as necessary as training is, I think there is something even more important.

Yes, I said that. 

At MCFA, we have Tuesday sessions known as “MCFA University.” We discuss project management, seller-doer approaches, project highlights, technical skill sets, and more. It’s been very effective at helping us share our knowledge and culture with the team. 

We’re training our staff, but that’s not enough. 

As Samuel Johnson said, “People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed.” I believe when you remind them with different voices (both inside and outside your organization), the same lessons might hit differently. 

This is particularly true if someone with a different style or experience comes in to “do the reminding.” When someone can explain what others are doing and having success with, that’s powerful. 

It’s common for leaders to feel like they express something important, and it just goes through team members’ ears. Or you feel like you say something 20 times, and people swear they might have heard it once. 

But when team members hear it multiple times, from various sources and perspectives, in a meeting, on the job site, etc…

… that’s where I find it starts to stick. 

Needing reminders isn’t a weakness. We all need reminders, and we shouldn’t be afraid to remind or be reminded.

Heck, I know how to respond to an email. But if my assistant, Lisa, wasn’t there to remind me about critical responses…well, let’s not think about it. 

Teach your team. But, remember, they need to be reminded more than they need to be taught. What reminders do you or your staff need?

BJ Kraemer, President