What are you building?

My wife and I just got back from visiting the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. If you don’t know about the Biltmore, it’s the world’s largest home and was build by George Vanderbilt in 1895.  It’s impressive in every way… from the vision to build it to the craftsmanship that made it a reality.

And of all the things we saw on the tour, it was this picture that made me go hmmm….

These guys are building something. And when they are done, something will be there that wasn’t there before.

So what are YOU building? What will, because of YOU, be there that wasn’t there before?

  • A business?
  • A life?
  • A team?
  • A customer base?
  • Future leaders?
  • Your skills?
  • A legion of fans?
  • Brand awareness?

Whether you are building a 250 room house (like the Biltmore), or a team of dedicated employees, what you need to succeed are largely the same.

  • Vision – you must be able to see where you are going before you get there… before there is a path to get there, and even before there is a path to the path to get there.  When Vanderbilt chose the spot for the Biltmore, there wasn’t a lot line or property survey telling him where to dig.  He saw a possibility out of nothing.  Can you see what you want your future to be?
  • Foundation – In house-building terms, the foundation is what everything else rests upon. It must be firmly in place otherwise the rest of your house crumbles to the ground.  If you are building a team, do you have the foundation to prevent it from crumbling?  Do you have people who are dedicated to the same goal, can communicate openly, and respect the efforts of others?  Or do you have a collection of prima donnas who are more concerned with self-preservation and self-promotion than the goals of the team?  That sort of foundation is bound to crack with the weight of most modern teams.
  • Materials and Tools – Can’t build a building without bricks, windows, doors, nails, hammers, saws, etc. Can’t expect a team to do their job without materials, either.  They may need information, training, other team members, guidance, feedback, coaching… all of the things needed to keep them moving in the right direction. Otherwise, you never know where those prima donnas are going to end up.
  • Help – in order for anything of great value to be created, it takes multiple people and perspectives to make that happen.  Vanderbilt had two trusted colleagues by his side the entire way… Architect Richard Morris Hunt and Landscape Architect Frederick Law Olmsted. These two helped Vanderbilt bring his magnificent vision to life.  Who is in your inner circle, who do you rely on, who do you seek out for advice?  Sometimes it can be tough to ask for help, but since you are not an expert on everything, it’s important to find the people who are.

Notice earlier I asked what you are building, not if you are building something.  We are all in the process of moving, changing, growing and building!

The real question is… do you have the vision, foundation, materials, tools and help to make your own masterpiece a reality? 

Thanks for reading!





About the author:  Matt’s failed attempts at carpentry projects when he was a teenager are the reason no one is trusting him to build a house.  Instead, he focuses on building teams, leaders, and engagement among employees and guests. This way, no one loses a finger!

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