Build Strong

Gerwig 2014-06-06

Do you like old things? The older I get, the more I like old things. I appreciate old things more. I recognize their value. They have a story to tell. They have stood the test of time. They have weathered the storm. Don’t get me wrong, I like new things too. But there is a special place in my heart for things that have been around a while.

Those of us living in the “New World” can see things that are a few hundred years old. Those living in, or traveling to, the “Old World” can see things that are thousands of years old. The Great Wall of China. Stonehenge. Machu Picchu. The Great Pyramids. Borobudur. Palmyra. The Coliseum. The Tikal. Angor Wat. Ayutthaya. Volubilis. Babylon. Dholavira. There are buildings and temples and houses and inns and churches and roads and bridges and towers and burial mounds visited today that are hundreds or thousands of years old.

I’ve been fortunate to visit many old ruins that are over a thousand years old and I’ve been fortunate to see manmade objects that are over a hundred years old, such as the simple cabin pictured above. Yes, the mortar, chinking, mud or cow dung that was originally used in this particular cabin has been replaced but the hand-hewn beams and overall structural integrity of the cabin remain.

While I don’t know the exact the exact date of the cabin, let’s safely assume it’s 150 years old. Will most of today’s modern homes last 150 years? I don’t think so. I’ve lived in some houses that are 50 years old and some that are brand new, but none were constructed to last a few hundred years let alone a thousand.

I get it. There’s an economic break-even point and builders have determined that the time, effort and money required to build a home that will last 1,000 years cannot be competitively priced. I also get that sometimes we don’t need things that will last 1,000 years. But when I look at old things that have stood the test of time, I’m impressed. Impressed by the workmanship. Impressed by the hard work required. Impressed by the design and ingenuity of the ancients.

When today’s leader, you, develops people, raises children and builds organizations, what kind of building are you creating? Do you Build Strong? Do you use quality materials? Do you take the time needed? Are you slow and steady, using good technique and craftsmanship? Or are you in a hurry because you’re under a tight deadline?

You can’t build a legacy (as an individual or organization) if you cut corners. Or if you don’t care about quality. Or if you’re overly concerned about cost. Raising children or grandchildren takes time. Developing a subordinate takes time. Developing organizational relationships with clients and suppliers and customers takes time. You must take the long-view. It’s an investment. If you want to leave a lasting legacy, you must Build Strong.

How about you? As you build yourself, your family, your church, your community, and your organization, are you taking the necessary time? Are you using quality materials? Materials that may cost more in the short-term, but will last for generations? Are you honing your building skills? Your coaching skills? Your teaching skills? Your loving skills?

In sum, are you a master craftsman who Builds Strong or a shoddy builder whose works won’t last? It’s your choice.

As always, the floor is open to your comments, suggestions, thoughts, and feedback.

Dr. is an agent of change and is able to balance the needs of the business and the needs of people. Dr. Gerwig believes and practices the values of performance and delivery of business metrics while simultaneously developing and growing people into leaders. You can contact him at RobertGerwig[at]


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