Constructing With Integrity

Sunday 14 November 2010 @ 3:42 pm

Over the past 10 years I have developed a respect for Alan and Leslie Layton.  My respect however has not been for Alan’s accomplishments in the business world but rather the relentless service that he and his wife have given.   Alan and Leslie have been one of the examples in my life of how I believe service should be done and the level of intensity at which it can be attacked.  Although my relationship with Alan has been on a more personal level,  I  have superficially been aware of some of his philosophies and approaches in the business world.

Alan was central to helping Layton Construction grow from a family business to a main stage commercial construction corporation.

I took the opportunity this week to discuss with Alan what enabled the scale and growth in Layton Construction into a world class organization.   I was delighted with the response because it resonated perfectly with the past several posts I have been making.

Alan shared the following story with me.

Back in the late 80′ he was attending a conference with several of his executives and the question was asked from the stage  “Who has a mission statement in their company?”   Alan raised his hand at what point the  speaker asked if any of his executive staff was there.  He responded that they were.   The speaker then proceeded to ask the executives   “what is your companies mission statement?”   These individuals stuttered and stammered and   could not recite it.   Alan stated that he was embarrassed and the members of his staff were very apologetic.  Alan then realized that what the speaker had said was true and he wrestled with what he could use to unify the company.    He settled on the phrase

Constructing with Integrity

Alan  went on to explain in detail the three components of what the  mantra meant:

1. What We Produced – Build using the highest level of quality and not cut corners.  Use the best materials and the best methodologies available to Construct with Integrity.

2.  How We Dealt With People  –  Behave ethically and treat all people equally and with respect.   Construct relationships with Integrity

3.  The Organization We Built –  Remove posturing and politics, but build our organization and interactions with each other with respect.   Construct the organization with integrity.

These simple three words  became the North Star – the guiding beacon,  indeed the  Catalyzing statement for Layton Construction.

To Quote Alan:  “Everyone understood it and it was very rewarding.”

At one point at a company function they took a camera around and just began asking team  members  what Constructing  with Integrity meant to them.   Here are a few of the statements they made:

“It means I can live the same way on the job as when I am home with my wife.”

“It means I don’t ever apologize to anyone for what we do”

Alan believes that this Catalyzing statement coupled with  employee ownership in the company was what enabled the scale and durable growth in Layton Construction.

We ran out of time, but as we were closing Alan made some intriguing  comments regarding the second aspect of what allowed Layton Construction to scale so effectively.  It was structuring an employee ownership program.

In my next conversation with Alan I will explore more about how he structured the employee ownership program,  and of course I will share it with you.

Thank you Alan for your insights and also for being a good man and a good example.

The closing questions that I ask you are:

Are you constructing your life with integrity?

and

What is your catalyzing statement?

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Rich Christiansen