Old, and New Friends and Colleagues, boosting Two Professions! #KWCulture!
We are over in the Twin Cities this week with the leadership of our Keller Williams Fox Valley Market Centers and again having my mind blown with great ideas and amazing people.
Tonight at dinner we had a conversation that reminded me of the post below that I wrote a while ago about our forestry profession and the importance of building each other up rather than tearing each other down.
The words coming from Dina rang true as they always do, sharing the KW Culture and the importance of always building each other up, improving each other, helping each other, coaching each other, caring for each other and of course building up our profession.
Competition is seldom a word used here, other than competing with ourselves, rather we are considered more like partners, colleagues, and Family.
The Keller Williams Culture and KWCares are not empty words, rather they are very real, and I am feeling blessed to be a part of this movement.
I do work in a great profession, one where I can count on plenty of my competitors to be more interested in improving the profession than competing with each other.
Three of those old colleagues came to mind today as I was filling out a piece of government paperwork that one of them suggested I get involved with.
About a month ago one of these colleagues called and asked me to serve on a dispute resolution team that is being assembled between the Consulting Foresters in Wisconsin and the Wisconsin DNR. And since then has sent several email reminders to get the paperwork in for this by September 6th.
Well after a super busy month, I finally got around to pulling the forms up today and entering my qualifications, references, and agreeing to serve.
When I came to the part of the form that asked for three references I had to think for a bit, which three to choose.
Should I choose someone from the DNR? Afterall this is a DNR program. Maybe someone from my Church like Fr Placid? Who gets to see me work with difficult human situations fairly often.
I did not choose any of these.
Instead I chose three of my oldest competitors, three people who I have seen at so many professional gatherings over the years all helping each other to get better at what we do. Three people who I would not hesitate to call for advice on a difficult project.
Don’t get me wrong, we do compete, but we do it professionally, never throwing any mud, never disparaging the others.
And when one of us gets a project that is beyond our capabilities or timeline we are always quick to get on the phone and bring in one or more of the others.
The first one filled into the form was a close friend who I met while we were both brought in as contractors on a Forest Inventory in Florida nearly 30 years ago, since then we have worked on countless projects together, coached each other, and commiserated when things were not going so well.
Later when he was called back into the Army to help GW with his second war in Iraq, Kevin gave up his business and shortly after his return from the war took a position with the University, where instead of competing with me for clients, he hired my main partner for a while.
I was ok with this though, since Nick was a student at the time and I knew that he would learn a lot from Kevin while helping Kevin with the University’s large Treehaven forest.
Again, competitors helping each other to get better at what we do.
Next on the list was Tom, a fellow that I first met at a Management Plan writing workshop back in 1989, where he greeted me warmly and offered useful advice to me and my fledgling consulting firm.
And every encounter since then he has shown nothing but support, advice and kindness.
Last but certainly not least was Sam, the president of the oldest Forestry Firm in Wisconsin, and one that I always look to as an exemplar example of professionalism.
I first met Sam after I ran into my former college adviser at a SAF, Society of American Foresters, meeting a few months after starting my firm and he suggested that I may benefit from doing some subcontracting work with Sam’s company.
Of course I said yes, and started a relationship with his firm that elevated our firm in many ways during that first decade, both in projects and knowledge.
And in the end taught us how to move from doing basic Forestry to knowing how to handle the big inventory projects.
I still see Tom and Kevin fairly often at ACF meetings and at the University, but had not seen Sam in a couple of years. So while reminiscing about what a great group of professionals I work with I did pick up the phone and spend some time with Sam.
It was a great call, renewing friendship, updating each other on our businesses, and discussing the profession.
I really should make these calls more often, especially to my fellow old timers who have helped to make me the professional that I am today.