Recently my son, Mike, returned to work at Willmar Electric. He worked here part-time during high school and college. After he graduated from college, he worked here for about a year. He and his wife, Maddie, moved to Nashville, where he worked for a small General Contractor for three years.

During his first full-time stint at Willmar Electric, he worked in our Accounting Department on several things and helped implement many new systems. Because of his experience in General Contracting, he returned to work in the Operation Department.

One question he had during his first week back was about the historical data collection system he had previously worked on. The operations department and accounting department sit on opposite sides of this process, and he wanted to make sure we were still collecting the data and needed to know how to send it in.

So, Mike, Misty Lauer (his former supervisor), and I reviewed what we do with the historical data on our projects. It was a very rewarding conversation.

From Mike’s perspective, it was great; the “old” work was valuable. He had been part of setting something up that was still in place. We had not only continued the system moving forward, but the accounting department had been able to go back in time and retroactively enter project information. We now had eight years of data in a system that was only three years old.

Who wouldn’t be happy to discover that what they do for a living adds value?

Misty got to show off all our improvements to how we did it three years later. We didn’t set up a perfect system in the beginning. It has evolved. Including a detailed study Misty and I conducted last month. Our study focused on determining what type of project we do the best at.

As an EOS© (Entrepreneurial Operating Company) company, we want to ensure our V/TO © (Vision Traction Organizer) has the correct market niche.

Our study proved we had identified the correct niche on our V/TO. Again, a great feeling for all of us because who doesn’t like to know they are on the right path?

But I enjoyed a third outcome. Because Mike asked the question and Misty updated him, I saw that we, as an organization, are making progress. Sometimes when you are so close to the action, you fail to progress. As a company, we continually try to make improvements, but instead of seeing the progress, you notice the failures.

You tend to give more attention to the fumbles than the touchdowns. When you ignore the touchdown, you feel you aren’t winning. I left the meeting impressed with us.

Mike saw the progress because he had stepped away.

I need to figure out a way for the people who have been plugging away and making improvements day to day and year to year to stop and take the time to see the progress.