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Greg Sizemore, the founder and Executive Vice President of the Construction Users Roundtable, joined us in a live CURT seminar to talk about how to be a good leader, mentor, and friend. He specifically liked this quote: “People with purpose do incredible things”. It’s the first smart thing Tyler has said on the podcast. The jury is still out on who he stole it from, but for now we will let him have it. It seems like no matter what part of the industry we are in, the overarching theme is to be real and to be honest, and we talk about how Greg has done that in his career.
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Tyler: Hey guys, Tyler here. Just wanted to let you know before we got into it: I apologize for the audio quality on this episode. Somebody forgot to hit record, and it was me. Anyway, this is our conversation with Greg Sizemore during our CURT Generational Leadership webinar. So thanks for bearing with us. Hope you enjoy the show, nonetheless.
Tyler: Welcome to the Construction Brothers Podcast. I'm your host, Tyler Campbell, and with me like he is every week: My brother, Eddie Campbell.
Eddie: What's up, Tyler?
Tyler: Not much, Eddie. Well, this week: Generational leadership.
Tyler: Well, what about generational leadership, Eddie?
Eddie: Well, I see a lot on this topic, and I see a lot of confusion. We have seen videos and books and arguments about generational leadership and generational issues in general. We have even seen our first podcast, which was just a simple conversation between us and our intern, really take off because people wanted to hear about it. And so we thought, what a great topic to address today across multiple generations.
Tyler: So, across multiple generations. So you're representing Gen X, right? I'm representing the millennials. So who do we have that can represent the boomers?
Eddie: We've got our ringer. So here we are. Who are we going to have?
Greg Sizemore: Grandpa Sizemore! Welcome!
Tyler: Thanks, man. How are you doing?
Greg Sizemore: I'm doing terrific. And thank you so much for the invitation to be with you. I'm excited to kind of tackle this for a few minutes and learn from you folks and the rest of the folks on the podcast as well. So thanks again for inviting me.
Eddie: Absolutely. Well, for our guests—I know everybody in the room should know who you are, Greg—but who are you and what do you do, man?
Greg Sizemore: Well, thanks Eddie. I appreciate that. So I am the executive vice president of an organization I founded about 20 years ago called CURT, the Construction Users Round Table. And what we do is we share resources, experiences and perspectives among the construction owners, owners who collectively spend about $250 billion a year. So we talk productivity, we talk safety, we talk workforce development, we talk procurement and contracting methodologies. And hopefully we are making our members more well-informed decision makers, because that's the goal. And that's why I think this topic is so freaking important is because there has to be a a sustainability to all of our organizations. In other words, those coming out of college during this very trying time and being onboarded, many of them virtually, projects that are being inspected virtually, meetings that are virtual, it presents an extra challenge. So to understand each other and to drive communication and understanding—and most important, Eddie, relationship—I think this talk's going to be really, really important for that. I'm excited to get started.
Tyler: Well, let's get into relationships then. So Eddie, you've kind of discovered along the way some things about Greg, I kind of wanted to toss that over to you. So what have we discovered about Greg?
Eddie: Yeah, this really will key up the conversation, is we discovered you, Greg, have officiated, what was it, 28 wedding ceremonies?
Greg Sizemore: I have, and each of those were from former students at the University of Cincinnati where I'm an adjunct prof. I have two classes I teach just one night a week, one each semester. One is called Construction Law and the other one's called Leadership Development. And it’s that Leadership Development class and a portion of that that we want to extract and share with our friends today.
Eddie: Right. And so, what we saw from that is that obviously you are finding a way, whether you're a boomer or whatever, it doesn't matter, you have bridged a gap and people have asked you to share the most special day of their life with them. Like, this is them giving, to me, the ultimate vote of confidence saying, “Hey, come and be a part of this with us.” And so you have in some way made this impact on them that is positive and that has made you a force in their life. And so we wanted to talk to you about, how did you do that? How did you get in these people's lives to that extent?
Greg Sizemore: Well, I think the most important element, and it holds true with mentoring as well, and that's the element of trust. And let me tell you, I think there's three roles that people in my position and people in your position and even the new ones that are with us today hold, and those are three distinctive roles: That is coach, mentor, and supervisor. You see all three present on job sites and in companies. The mentorship is more personal development, person-to-person focused. The coach, I would say, is more job-focused. How do we organize? How do we execute the plan? And then I think the supervisor is results-focused. And so you approach each of those three hats that many of us wear in different ways. And what we're talking about here today is the person-to-person focus, and the through thread with all those, Eddie, is creating trust, creating trust. And I think there is another part that's so important: One of the most important aspects, I think, of a mentor, is not only to teach but to learn, and not only to spend but to resource. So let me tell you what I mean by that. When I mentor anyone, a student or a family member, sometimes a friend of a family member, I have committed to not only my thimble full of knowledge in the ocean of wisdom that I have, but also to sponsor them to provide access to my network. I have to risk that person's capability as I introduced them to friends or people in the industry that can help them. I cannot meet a hundred percent of a mentee’s need, cannot do it. So he or she needs to have more than one mentor, and each mentor in my opinion brings their time and their talent and their treasure, and a part of that treasure is to sponsor them to your network and to your contacts. Does that make sense?
Eddie: Absolutely. And I love the idea of mentorship. We often miss the power of investing one-on-one in people, but I would point to a model of exponential growth as we do this and repetitively do this and set up mechanisms for doing this in our organizations, the payday, yeah, is not immediate, but the payday comes. And when it comes, it works a lot like the power of investment and getting that investment and that return again and again.
Tyler: It’s compounding interest.
Eddie: Yeah. That's exactly it. Thanks. You finish my thoughts, man. That's why you're here.
Tyler: Finish the sandwiches.
Eddie: That's right, that's right.
Greg Sizemore: You do that as a kid, too. That is so true. That time, talent and treasure really is an investment, and it really does come back. That's a whole new cup of coffee and another podcast, how that works and what that means. But I think it's something that adds to the integrity of the mentor, is when he or she is willing to say, look, three rules, three things I want from you and three things only: Number one is I want a hundred percent straight up honesty, open your heart, come on in. You may not like everything you see, but this is me. And I need that from you. Number two is to the grave confidentiality, with rare exception. Obviously if someone reveals a deep mental illness or they're struggling in other ways that you feel needs intervention, then that obviously excuses that vow to confidentiality. But I think that's one of the most important things. You don't have to have all the answers as a mentor. You just have to have that trust and that confidence and the resources to know how to give your perspectives and to bring resources to the relationships. And then the third thing, Tyler and Eddie, is I think there has to be a no judgment zone. You ask how I was able and what my secret sauce is, I guess, in trying to develop that at the University of Cincinnati: they don't call me professor. They don't call me—although I'm all those things. If we're going to have good intimate relationships, it starts with being personal, and I asked them to call me Greg. Now a lot of the folks upstairs don't like that because they worked real hard for those credentials. And I certainly understand that, but for me in that particular class, and with those objectives, being personal, being on that personal level and the same playing field with those students, I think goes a long, long way in building the trust. So once again, a hundred percent honesty, straight up honesty, number two to the grave confidentiality and number three, no judgment, no condemnation, no bloody club. And we grow together and we learn together. I think the other important component is to be open to change and to learning yourself as a mentor, with that mentee. Listen, every single person, from the guy that cleans our building out here to the ones that go to the jujitsu club downstairs. Every single person has a sliver of genius. Every single one. If you’re familiar with the movie Goodwill Hunting, it epitomizes that concept. But if we can begin to discover that sliver of genius and help that person find their purpose and their passion, then we learn and grow as mentors, they learn and grow as mentees, and the world is enriched. It sounds pious, but I found it to be true.
Tyler: I love talking about building trust, too. And I want you to kind of dive into that a little bit more. What were some of the things that you did to build trust, some of those little practical tips that you can give us?
Greg Sizemore: Well, I think there's an art to self-disclosure. So the first thing you do that builds trust and I think encourages others to share is to not try to hide my own flaws and shortcomings and thin ice, not to try to hide failure and vilify it, but to bring it into the narrative as part of the journey. For me, and I've had to learn this, because I think we particularly the guys—and I'm sure the ladies, too, to some extent—we want to be the guy or be the gal to that one that we're mentoring at our organization or on our job sites, and we're reluctant to show our “thin ice,” as you call it. I don't like the term “weaknesses,” but those areas that have great opportunity for growth. But I think that it is as we as mentors, exhibit that vulnerability and say, “Hey, you know, I don't have it all together in this area and I'm certainly not good at this, and I think I'm really good at that.” It will encourage them to bring those kinds of personal life experiences out and then they can be points of discussion and learning and growing because maybe that other person— Look, I learned a long time ago, age, it has no qualification in my friend list. For many, many years, my best friend was 15 years younger than me. For many, many years we had this relationship. I don't let age be a barrier. And I think that willingness to be transparent, the willingness to be honest myself, to admit shortcomings and failures. But there's an art to self-disclosure, you don't want to put all the dirty laundry out. And some of it's one-on-one specific, some of it's more group appropriate, but I think that openness and vulnerability, the honesty in oneself—and look, as the mentor, it's our job to lead the dance. It's your job to go first. And I think that has done a lot to build trust, not only here at our office and our organization, but also at the U with the young adults.
Eddie: Well hey, ironic twist here. We're talking about generational leadership and we've kind of led in with, hey, we're in these different generations. In a twist of irony here, I think that this podcast in a lot of ways is about the fact that we're not trying to crack the code on what millennials act like, what a boomer acts like, what gen X acts like. We're taking people one at a time. And what we're trying to look at is, rather than getting lost in the weeds of “how do I lead this group or that group,” let's discover how we treat people and let's lead them well, let's mentor them. Well, I want to know. I mean like, Tyler, what matters to you? What kind of things really resonate with your millennial heart over there, man?
Greg Sizemore: Does Tyler have heart?
Tyler: I, I do.
Eddie: He’s got a lot of heart.
Greg Sizemore: But does he have game?
Tyler: Occasionally, on the ping pong table. And that's a requirement if you want to get millennials in your office. Bean bag chairs and ping pong tables.
Greg Sizemore: Close your ears, Kyle Kosco. Keep going, Tyler.
Tyler: So for me, purpose. I think purpose draws everyone together. And so— I'm a space nut, right? I love NASA. I love Space X. I love Blue Origin. I love all that stuff. Primarily, I like going back in history and reading up on the Apollo missions. And so, I have a question for you guys about the Apollo missions. What was the average age of the people in mission control during the Apollo missions?
Eddie: No Google, right?
Tyler: No Google. So here's the answer: 28 years old. That's my age. Guy sitting here in the t-shirt and the slicked back hair, that's my age. I'm the one responsible for getting you to the moon.
Eddie: All right, so what's your point, millennial?
Tyler: So people with purpose can do incredible things. So—
Greg Sizemore: Oh, I like that. Wait, wait, wait, wait. I think you need to say that again, because I think that's key and I think it energizes the younger people and frankly it energizes Grandpa, too. Say what you just said again. That's a great soundbite.
Tyler: People with purpose can do incredible things.
Greg Sizemore: I'm going to jot that down. Keep going.
Tyler: That’s the first soundbite I've ever had, look at me doing stuff.
Eddie: All right.
Tyler: All right, moving on. But there's a podcast that I love, it's called “13 Seconds to the Moon.” And in it they're telling the story of, you know, Apollo 11 and getting down to the lunar surface. And they go back and they interview some of the people that were in mission control. And it's funny because basically every single one of them said, “We didn't know what we didn't know. We just knew we had to get the job done.” And so I look back further and I look at JFK, right? Setting out this goal and saying, “We choose to go to the moon. Not because it's easy, but because it's hard.” And I think it's just, it was beautiful leadership to think about. ‘Cause he knew that those people would go out in their backyard and look up at the sky and see the moon staring right back at them every single night. That would eat them up and they would know, I got to get there. I got to get there. And so he gave them crystal clear purpose. And if you give people clear purpose and you give them the freedom to figure that stuff out, they're going to do incredible things. And I think all too often, we try to get in the way. So we need to just step back and let them lead once in a while. Stop micromanaging. And their purpose in this too, just to kind of clarify, I think was probably just to beat the Russians. Innovation was probably in there, too, but more than that was to prove that they could
Greg Sizemore: To play off on that, I think, and this is for the mentors and mentees who may be listening or those who aspire to be so: What I've discovered at the U—and by the way, I've been there for 25 years and was professor of the year by some quirk of fate in 2013, one of my highest honors in my professional deal—but I've tried to become a student of young adults, particularly those 18 to 24 years of age. And here's what I find too often. Many young adults allow fear or uncertainty to sideline them. And they keep asking, what is my purpose? What do I want to do? And they say, I don't know. And there's this quagmire, there's this undercurrent of restlessness and this quagmire to get started. Here's what I've discovered: You do it scared. It becomes iterative. It becomes obvious in the journey. There is knowing in the going. There is knowing in the going. I heard a friend of mine recently, who's CEO of Western & Southern Life insurance company, which is a big entity here in Cincinnati. He was a University of Cincinnati grad. And he had seven failed interviews following his college graduation many, many years ago. The job that he was offered, he despised, he hated it, he admitted it, it wasn’t the money, it wasn't the work. But he said, I took it. And as he took the job, he allowed that job to take on him. In other words, I'm learning what I'm good at, I'm learning what I'm not good at. I'm learning what drives me to get up in the morning. Those things are so important. And his advice to my students was a simple but profound piece of advice: Just get in the game, kids. Just get started. There is knowing in the going. And don't be afraid of the F-bomb. And it's not what you think, it's failure. If you want to read a very good exposé on failure, J.K. Rowling, whom we all know, talks about her rise—she's the Harry Potter series author—and she talks about what happened following her graduation from college. It was a pathetic, pitiful journey for many, many years. And she was a single mom and homeless and helpless in many, many ways. And the story of recovery and what hitting rock bottom did for her was amazing. So to those who are mentors, encourage the youngins, if you will, to just get in the game, to get started. They don't have to have all the answers. And what I told Tyler and Eddie before, and this is so true: If equipped with your degrees and credentials and certifications, you search for what you want to do for years—look, if you hit 30 and you are directionally correct, you may not be precisely correct, but perhaps your direction is correct, you still got 35 years to pursue that career. That's enough time for anybody. So the most important thing, I think, Tyler, on that point: Get in the game. You don't have to have all the answers, there is knowing in the going, and do it scared. Do it scared. I've had so many folks share with me in the years that have passed after they've graduated how that really, that piece of advice made a lot of sense to them. And again, I've got a thimble full of knowledge and the ocean of God's wisdom, but that's in there. Just get in the game and do it scared. Thoughts?
Tyler: I think, you know, one of our interviewees, David Moody, from CD Moody here in good old Georgia. We had him on the show and he talked about how he was planning on being an architect for the longest time. He wanted to be an architect. And then throughout time he started—you know, it was that directionally correct thing. He started realizing, Hey, no, I don't really like architecture, I like building. And so he got closer to the goal, you know? And then he ultimately started his general contracting company, CD Moody, which is, you know, doing stuff here, all over Atlanta, at Hartsfield-Jackson, building the Mercedes-Benz stadium here in Atlanta. He didn't have it all figured out immediately, right? He had 30 years to figure it out. But that first ten, in his twenties, he was able to kind of figure out, Hey, here's what I'm good at. And I'm going to go that way.
Greg Sizemore: There is something that actually our son Nathaniel came up with years ago and I found it to be so insightful and I want to share it with you. He calls it the anatomy of greatness or the anatomy of excellence. And he alleged, after reading a lot of these books, he came and he said, look, I think I can distill this down into four things that people ought to evaluate. And he said, the first one is passion. What gets you going? What juices you? It's the part of the brain and the emotion that has no language. I can't really describe it. It's hard. But what is your passion, number one. Number two, what are you willing to work hard at? What gets you going and brings your best effort? Number three is, what's in your wheelhouse? And this is where friends help. What's in your wheelhouse? What do you do better on an off day that I can't even seek to achieve on my best day at that same effort? And number four, what are you technically capable of doing? Look, if I was passionate about ballet and I was willing to work hard and I even liked to dance at wedding receptions, but I'm not technically capable because I haven't gone to a CCM and been trained, I'm not going to be very good at it at all. And Nathaniel said, Hey, if you got all four of those, you are really becoming directionally correct. If you've got three of the four, you'll do good. You won't be a flop. Two of the four, you may, you really will do fair to not so good. And one, you're just totally derailed, if you just got one of those four. So passion, technical capability, what am I willing to work hard for, and what do others say I have in my wheelhouse?
Eddie: Wow. I love mentorship. And one of the things that makes me love it—when we’re in CURT, I have noticed at any event I've been in, we're in a room full of leaders. I love that about CURT. We're in a room full of leaders. And I look around that room and I'm kind of middle road now, right, I'm 41 years old. I can look up and I can look down. I'm kind of sitting in the middle. And in many ways I look around the room and I look at the leaders, and I long for investment. I think, man to sit down with that person and just talk to them. And one of the people in this meeting right now, Rodney Long, sat down for breakfast with him like six years ago at a CURT event. And just, you know, had some eggs and fruit and just talked about—
Greg Sizemore: Is that all we could do for you is eggs and fruit?
Eddie: No, it was good. Wild Horse Pass.
Greg Sizemore: Oh, nice spot.
Eddie: But here, you know, I'm just impressionable. I'm looking up. And man, I’m just wanting that investment. And I've been the beneficiary of it, but I've also been in a seat now where I can reach back and I can mentor now. It's time for me to pay that forward. And so, I remember well how impressionable I have been. And I remember well the people who have leaned into that and have invested in me. And I want to remind everybody in the room, I want to remind all of the leaders here: Do not underestimate your ability to reach back and to make an impression on the younger people around you. You just have to be one step ahead, but make that impression, because if you do so, you'll get culture out of that. You are going to get loyalty out of that. You are going to get a belief in the things that you are trying to lead towards. And so, yes, I mean, we've got to speak to mass. We have to lead in ways that speak to the 500 people or to the 10 people in the room or however that looks for you. But we have to reach back to the one as well, and realize, Hey, you were once an impressionable young person as well. And you remember those people that have invested in you. And so if there's anything I'd like to encourage people here to do, it’s to remember that and to practice that, invest in that. And I guess that's, Greg, that's why we've come to you is because we see you practicing that. We see you putting that into practice.
Greg Sizemore: You know what, you said something there that prompted another thought. We were talking about it yesterday, if you recall. And I believe there are three things every single person needs and no one will ask for. And for the person who recognizes that and is a purveyor of that—and I think that's the right word, a purveyor is one who kind of dishes out and sorts out and serves up something—and those three things, and they may sound a little corny at first but if I explain them, I think they make a lot of sense. Three things every human being needs and nobody asks for, and number one is affirmation. Am I doing it right? Am I on the right track? Am I directionally correct? In addition to affirmation is acceptance. Do I have a seat at the table? Do I have a voice in the narrative? Does what I think or say matter? Are you willing to let the ideas do mortal combat and remove the people and the personality from the fray? So do I have a seat at the table? Do I have a voice? Am I doing it right? Third one is love. And what I mean by that is not a drippy, you know, Hallmark movie kind of love. I'm talking about worthiness, you're worth it. You've got a sliver of genius somewhere down. Then there is the magic somewhere down in every person, it’s that fire of passion, and to the person who nurtures that and fans into flame that flicker, that passionate flicker, I'm telling you what, you talk building trust, you talk building community, you talk building organizational loyalty? All of those things will begin to emerge and it's the richness of the friendship. And all of a sudden they're ringing your doorbell asking you to officiate a marriage, or speak at a funeral, or go visit their mom in the nursing home who had a stroke in her thirties. All those things I’ve experienced. I was talking to somebody the other night about it. So once again, it's acceptance, it's affirmation, and it's a sense of conveying worthiness or love. You know, we talked about the Greeks having three words for love, agape, eros and phileo, and over here in the West and in English we have one. And so it gets a bit confusing to guys and gals, what do you mean “love?” But we're talking about that agape, that you've got worth, you've got value. You've got genius in there and we want you to bring it to the table with us.
Eddie: You know, I love how all of this centers and kind of swivels around being a servant leader.
Greg Sizemore: Oh, so true.
Eddie: So we see great organizations formed off of the idea of servant leadership. And so when the top end of an organization sets an air for everybody beneath them to not necessarily be beneath them, but to be working alongside of them, to know that those people are serving those that are under their care, so to speak. And they're mentoring, they're investing. That creeps its way through an organization. And I mean, it makes a profound difference in the way you work, in the way you work for someone. It makes a profound difference in the way you treat others. It's kind of that golden rule thing that we get back to. Ritz-Carlton is one that we point at, and a lot of people have looked across the fence at Ritz and have really learned some lessons there, that is their leadership paradigm.
Greg Sizemore: And you know, I think that comes down to the word “empowerment.” And I think empowerment is also permission to do it scared, to do it without all the answers, to do it where the knowing is in the going, and to do it with a risk of failure. And that word “empowerment” is also, I think, a key part of that cross-generational bridge. If we who have time, talent, or treasure, resources, connectivity, learnings, network sponsorships, that's something—we have an obligation, a duty, moral and otherwise in my opinion, just my opinion, to bring that to that relationship and to connect those who come behind with those who will lead forward long after we're six feet under and they're back at my house eating my potato salad.
Tyler: You know, it's funny. This past Saturday, we were over here at our park and we were watching Eddie’s son, who's in Raiders—which is, you know, there's a military college here in town—and I was watching them go up and over a wall, and they were reaching back and they were giving their hand to the person behind them so that they can then get over the wall. So that visual just kinda stuck out to me while you were saying that, it's very similar. We've gotta be able to reach back and pull others along. And I look in my life personally, and sitting where I'm sitting right now, I would not be here if not for dad, who’s watching—hey, Dad—and then Eddie as well for reaching back and pulling me along,
Greg Sizemore: You know, that's so insightful, Tyler. And so let me ask you guys a question. In order to effectively find our purpose, our passion, and to develop that mentorship that helps others do so as well, and also helps us to learn and grow, we have to take some time out. You have to have some you time. You have to have some Tyler time and you have to have some Edie time. And that's hard to do with family, business, friends, church, hobbies, the yard, let's add other things to it, your mom, your dad, you know, other obligations and responsibilities you have—how do you folks take time to learn and grow? Obviously, this is an amazing and very fun experience to do that because you get to squeeze the juice out of other folks that you have as guests, but what other kinds of disciplines are you trying to develop that allow you to learn and grow? Maybe what books are you reading as well, I’d be curious.
Tyler: Mine are podcasts. And that's partly why we started ours is because I found so much good out of podcasts. And so I'll go back to our weight room and, you know, I'll lift some heavy stuff around, throw some stuff around, and listen to podcasts or an audiobook. And then more lately, bourbon. That's been helpful.
Eddie: That's Tyler time.
Greg Sizemore: How about you, Eddie?
Eddie: Man, for me, one thing that we've talked about a good little bit here is the whole idea of balance. So people talk about balance a lot. “I need balance in my life.” And as you said before, my opinion,I think balance is kind of a myth. Life isn't balanced; life usually functions a little heavier here, a little heavier there. I mean, if mom's sick and I'm caring for her, well then maybe that's going to take a little bit more of my time right now. I have an infant at home that's not sleeping, well then, you know, maybe I'm going to be in a little different life spot right now. And life presents these different seasons throughout life. I mean, you always think, well, if I get the kids graduated, then things are gonna change. And then maybe grandkids enter the picture, right? And so there are all these different seasons in life, and balance, trying to find balance, I mean, I don't know that we're going to get there and just stay there. Knowing that and letting yourself off the hook a little bit for, “My life always has to look like this, I've got to have this long that I sit down and I can just kind of center on my day and I don't have to hit it quite as hard.” For me, I need to be able to let myself off the hook like that. Like I know in business, there are some times that it is time to throttle in, get after it and get it done. And in those seasons, maybe I'm not going to have quite as much time, but in that I have things that I don't let go of. You know, I have my reading time in the morning that I don't let go of. I have exercise that I don't let go of. So there are some no fly zones. So I have family time that I don't let go of. There are certain things that I won't allow that crossover to happen in. And so knowing what those areas are, the no flies, the “you can't have thats.” And knowing the things that are going to give and take in life, and then just giving yourself some grace to be able to do what life requires of you right now, I think will enable you to be that proverbial hard worker that we all want to be—that achiever that we want to be. All the while, try to maintain a healthy life where, you know, I'm not going to get to the end of this thing and say, “Well, all I did was work. I never got to do anything with the money or never got to spend time with the people I love or anything like that.” So we're looking to be able to work hard to, you know, make the achievements to lead, but all the while, you know, do the things in life we need to do. So, long-winded, but that's kinda my, that's my answer there.
Greg Sizemore: No, I agree. I think that's good. What kind of challenges— In our effort to manage COVID-19 spread, what kind of special challenges do you feel that have emerged as a result of that? I see some problems coming down the pike.
Eddie: Oh man. Immediate challenge, when we rolled into COVID-19, our family—which we have six children—but here we are, right off of the flu actually. And we'd been locked up in our house. We couldn't get out, we didn't want to share the flu with everybody. And then COVID hit and we rolled right into that. And there were a number of other things that life happened. Life happened. One night we found black mold under our wood floors. And I was on my hands and knees with a chipping hammer within the day, you know, removing floors, replacing floors. Life happened, right? Then when I'm locked down, you know, then we can't get out. We can't go out to eat. We're not able to go and do our weekly events. The girls aren't in ballet anymore. Baseball season got canceled. We can’t go out to eat. The things that got us out and around people didn't get us out around people anymore. And relationally, you know, you kind of suffer and struggle. And I think that's a refrain I'm hearing is we're not around each other. So, you know, I mean, we're social beings. We love to be around each other, and not having that, I mean, you have to come up with ways of being with each other. That may be virtual, but I mean, just finding your times to be around the people you love and get out of it. That's been the challenge for us.
Tyler: I mean, I would echo that, too. You know, being isolated in the house has been challenging and it's not that we don't love each other. That’s great. But we also want to get out and go get some food at a restaurant sometimes. That's not been the situation. So that would be my challenge as well.
Greg Sizemore: I think you're right. Yeah. I want to pull something, I heard two words and you both used them, and the words were “each other.” And I think that we, as the world opens up and as we do have opportunity to engage with each other, we need to look for opportunity for relationship, for business, for just enriching each other's lives. So I'll give you a great example. Years ago, there was a little girl that would babysit, Nathaniel, our son, when he was a preschooler. And frequently, she would call and say, “Mr. Sizemore, do you care if my boyfriend comes over with me?” And they were really good kids. We knew them very well, involved in our church youth group. The reality is probably by the time we were out of the driveway, they were probably making out like a hot mess. But anyway, we invited him over and welcomed him into our home. I don't know what happened to Trish, but today that 18 year old babysitter's boyfriend is a business partner of mine. And together we developed a tool, the construction labor market analyzer, because I saw something in him and he saw a willingness in me to have a relationship that went beyond, “Hey, I'm just a babysitter's boyfriend.” So Trish is who knows where, but Daniel and I talk every week, he's involved in CURT. Daniel Groves, that's the guy. Another one, Greg Palmer, who's here on this call. He and I worked in our local church youth group together. And when he wanted to make a career change, he didn't have experience and what I invited him in to do for us, but he's become an expert in being our event producer. He does these, he puts every CURT meeting together. He produces our national conference and together we learned and grew, but again, it was just being with each other and being willing to talk with each other and explore each other. In those relationships, in addition to pulling out somebody's sliver of genius, there could also be a life change. There could be a new business, a new relationship, a new experience or an opportunity if we'll just be aware of each other. Your answer to your problem, your challenge at work, I say, this occurs often, could be within 20 feet of you right now, here in this room. And so we, one of the things we really put a lot of intentionality about is networking, and that's a whole new podcast, how to do that effectively, but we try to promote that over fruit, over experience. We try to insent it, we try to make it comfortable, the uncomfortable comfortable, so be aware of each other and not only who they are and what they are, but perhaps how you can do life together and experience something entirely different than what you imagined.
Tyler: Well, I think we're kind of at a great part of the show that we need to go ahead and break off and do our megaphone question. And so I think we're going to go around the table and do this. All right, Greg, I think we start with you though, right? So—
Greg Sizemore: What do I want to leave with them, right?
Greg Sizemore: If you don't remember anything that's transpired in the last 45 minutes, I think you ought to remember passion, hard work, wheelhouse, and technical capability. If you pursue those things, a lot of other things in your life will unfold. And I think the second most, if I can impose on you, Tyler, and give you two, it's do it scared. When we started CURT, I did it scared. When I asked my wife to marry me, I did it scared. When I invested money and something called CLMA, we did it scared, and they have been enriching experiences. Same thing with teaching at the University of Cincinnati. I'm not a teacher. I don't even have an application on file. There was a connection with my University Spanish teacher, whose husband was the Dean of the college of engineering. 25 years later, they're gone. I'm still here. So do it scared. What's yours, Tyler?
Tyler: Oh, I think, based off of the conversations that we've had, I’ve kind of unearthed something, that technology is not the answer. You know, we rely on it so heavily in the industry and we think that it will solve all of our problems. And we're marketed that way, too, we're told this will solve all of your problems. No, all the problems that we have in the industry, and if we want to get better, it starts with people. Get better with the people in the industry. And then it'll start to change.
Greg Sizemore: Good stuff. Outstanding.
Tyler: How about you, Eddie?
Eddie: I would want to go back and encourage everyone, reach back and reach forward. In the same way that I had a desire to be mentored by somebody, I'm sure there are others in the room that share that. Reach forward, and go find somebody you admire and ask them to mentor you. If you're in a position where it's time to reach back and invest, then go and seek relationship out where you can do that. And I would also say, this is tried and true when it comes to bolstering and growing an organization, like this is not just kind of touchy feely stuff. This is tried and true of impacting an organization in a positive way. And so be a leader one at a time. And I think that's gonna bear fruit.