Dozer to the Rescue! May 31, 2022
Last week, I discussed how to get things done using leverage and the importance of surrounding yourself with the right tools and the right expertise. This week, I’m sharing my recent experience with my bulldozer…yes, I own a bulldozer…and the leadership lessons that that machine bestows.
My wife and I own a unique piece of property. Our 60 acres of paradise came with an 1830’s farmhouse requiring complete restoration, several outbuildings in disrepair, and an old barn site complete with a concrete foundation and lots of excess dirt. We’re embarking on what will clearly be a transformational project that will take the rest of our lives to complete…if it’s ever completed.
Since acquiring the property, I’ve purchased a number of pieces of equipment to help me sculpt and manicure. One of my first was an old bulldozer, which I affectionately refer to as “Dozer,” a moniker for some that’s not all that uncommon in our neck of the woods. Dozer isn’t pretty, but it can move dirt. Over the past few days, I’ve been on Dozer removing and burying that old barn foundation and relocating a driveway over the site. This project entails moving tons and tons of gravel. The barn foundation included a mountain of dirt at least 15’ high and 30’ in girth. That’s a lot of gravel! Further, I had to move this mound some 100’ to cover up the foundation that I’ve buried. For me, with, at best, 10 hours of bulldozer experience, it was a daunting project. But like most everything that we do, there’s a management lesson resulting from the effort.
Now, imagine a pile of gravel taller and wider than the bulldozer I’m sitting on. It’s a big project! How do I move this to where I want it? The bulldozer can’t just move the mountain. As I looked over the project from my seat on Dozer, the answer became clear. And it’s the resolution for so many large projects we tackle. The solution for it all can be summarized in two words. Small chunks!
So, using my blade, I began taking bites out of this mountain of dirt, moving back and forth as I relocated the soil to where it was most needed. Back and forth, back and forth. Small bites. After about 8 hours of work and a few “OMG” expletives, I’m proud of my accomplishment. The space is now reasonably flattened. The old concrete foundation is nowhere to be found. And we have a new driveway section that makes for a more logical approach to the property.
Small chunks…that was the answer. And Small chunks is the management lesson. When faced with a daunting task, be it the implementation of a dry eye clinic, the building or remodeling of your space, the hiring of an associate or a myriad of other major projects that you have on your radar, the key to success if to develop a crystal clear vision of your desired outcome and begin the project with small bites. And as you successfully complete each task on your journey to your vision, you can take encouragement from the results of each step. Small chunks!
The famous author, Goethe, died in 1832, just about the year that our old farmhouse was built. He wrote a phrase that I have loved for many years, one which summarizes today’s lesson.
“Whatever you can do or dream, you can begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.”
So, the next time you’re faced with a large, daunting project, bring out the Dozer and go at it in small chunks.