Ron Wolf Blog Series – Step #5 to Building a Winning Organization

Ron Wolf Blog Series – Step #5 to Building a Winning Organization

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(Editor’s Note: Cornerstone Development had the honor of hosting a private dinner event with former Green Bay Packers General Manager Ron Wolf.  Besides being treated to a host of great inside football stories (and maybe a tall tale or two!), Mr. Wolf was kind enough to share some excellent business insights which he detailed in his book, The Packer Way: Nine Stepping Stones to Building a Winning Organization.

The following is the fifth in a series of blogs examining these stepping stones and how they relate to building success and improving our product within Cornerstone Development.)

STEP #5: Use the Four C’s to Measure Performance

When I was reading the “Four C’s,” I found it to be clever by Ron Wolf. The “C” in the equation is actually the same, and the C is what you have to count on, and that is the word “certain.” His Four C’s are: certain dedication, certain devotion, certain work ethic and certain results.

That’s exactly how I feel when I look at any specific individual in our firm. You can hire a smart person and you can hire a friendly person but who you ultimately really have to hire is somebody who has a heart to do it right. Of course, you have to gage the smarts, but if they have the heart to do things right it can really carry the day.

That’s kind of what Ron says more than anything else. If you have the heart you’re going to have work ethic to work really hard and get it done. You’re going to be dedicated to doing it because you’ve got the heart. It goes to your core. That’s the way you’re going to be driven to complete whatever task it may be.  And, if you have devotion, it means you truly care. Your heart is reaching out to others to do it right. Then the results come.

With certainty of heart, therefore devotion, dedication, work ethic and then the results, you know you’ve built a team that truly cares. Take, for example, Chris Fowler down on the south side building our homes – I’ve worked with him for 15 years. This guy has all of these qualities and more! Customers see that. There’s Nadine Piotrowski, our options coordinator who’s there when people come in to choose their finishes. Her heart is there. She wants people to be excited and to enjoy their future home.

I could go on and on throughout our organization but it’s true. Looking for the Four C’s, the certainty in those areas is what will make a firm successful. It’s what made the Packers successful under Ron Wolf and I believe it’s what makes us successful.

I’ve been asked how I can recognize that an employee has that “heart,” those special qualities that are so valuable in building a winning organization. You try to gage attitude. Attitude towards life, attitude towards others. You talk to the references that have been provided and see what they say about attitude. There’s always risk when you hire somebody, right? I’m not saying that we haven’t had a few people that just didn’t have the heart to be on this team. But overall, most of our people have been with us for years and years because we found a way to gage the heart and then the certainty.

It’s funny. When you say he word “heart,” do you know what athlete comes to my mind? It’s a horse named Secretariat. They actually did an autopsy when Secretariat died and they found that his heart was “massively larger” than that of any other horse. Did that not show in the effort, devotion, and obviously the results?

Another athlete with heart that comes to mind is Steve Stricker. Everyone that I’ve ever talked to that knows him – we’ve just had some buyers that are dear friends with him – they talk about how caring he is and what kind of heart he has. When I hear about him hitting ball after ball after ball in the winter to allow him to stay close to his family – well, that’s heart. He’s hitting these balls in a heated winter box up near Waunakee to practice and get ready – wow! That’s devotion and work ethic. He’s won on the PGA Tour, he’s won on the Champion’s Tour and the greatest golfer of all time, Jack Nicklaus, is going to play nine holes at Stricker’s charity outing. Charity outing? That’s why Steve Stricker’s doing it. He loves having the golfers come to his home town but, again, the result is his heart for giving back to his community with monstrous amounts of money going to some great charities as a result of a golf tournament.

Steve Stricker has heart. I’d hire 20 Steve Strickers tomorrow if I could!  With certainty.

Next Time:  Ron Wolf’s Sixth Stepping Stone – Making It Work