Charlie Mechem sits down with Tom Keckeis, CEO of Messer Construction. Tom uses examples from his career, from its very beginnings as a novice worker to his position as CEO of Messer Construction, to relate to Charlie’s book, “Total Anecdotal: A Fun Guide to Help You Become a Better Speaker and Writer.” For Tom, Charlie’s book is not just about learning how to become a better speaker and writer, he says it is also a lesson on how to live life and run a business. Charlie’s book is available through Amazon or Barnes & Noble, and maybe even your local bookstore.
Change is Always Changing
Life is made up of consistent change. Change in technology, in relationships with the customers and workforce, and in the workplace. Change must be integrated into what you do every single day, in your life and your career. However, Tom says, there needs to be a reason for making changes. When running a business, it’s important to stop every so often and analyze your reasoning and purpose. What are you trying to change? What is the purpose of the change? How will the change affect the company—for better or for worse? Change just for the sake of change is rarely for the better.
Learn From Those Around You
It’s important to recognize that you cannot start off in something new and immediately be an expert. Tom recalls growing up in the construction business, and working with his father’s crews in his teen years. He specifically remembers how painstaking the job was, and how the advice of other workers really helped him in making the job a bit easier. A Labor foreman took him under his wing and helped him learn all the tricks of the trade. He learned how to pour concrete, dig ditches, and use a jack-hammer—most importantly, he learned how to work hard. Tom has found that the best way to learn is to do so from the environment around you. There’s no better way to learn how to excel in construction than to actually work on a construction site. If you don’t learn, and don’t listen to the others in the trade, you could just end up getting yourself hurt or even killed.
Compromising Away an Idea
Good ideas can be destroyed in a meeting if someone is not organized or prepared, Tom says. Even if everyone does come prepared, ready to present their ideas, those ideas can be completely torn apart. This is because meetings are a place of communication, but they are also a place of compromise. After so much compromising, a certain idea may have transformed into something totally different by the end.
Patience and Persistence Wins the Race
For years Tom and his company had been trying to get involved with TriHealth, and many times when they thought they had a chance, they ended up getting the door closed on them. Finally, after patience and persistence over many years, they were finally able to get a job with TriHealth at Xavier University. It just goes to show that if at first you don’t succeed, you must try and try again, and keep on trying until you get what you’ve been working so hard for.
Smooth Out Rigidity, Think Innovatively
Tom is always looking for ways to improve the construction process. He does this, not by rigidly sticking to old ways, but by trying new things. Tom gives the example of prefabrication in building structures. This means building parts in a factory and then putting the pieces together on site. It is innovative ways of thinking like this that alter industries like Tom’s for the better.
While Tom may not be able to name all of the rich celebrities and award winners, he can certainly name those who have affected him and helped him along the way in life and business. Everyone from the people who raised him, like his father who introduced him to construction, to the fellow workers who provided him with much needed advice. Through interacting with the people around you and observing them, you can learn so much about who they are and what they do. Tom notes that Charlie’s book is not just about learning how to become a better speaker and writer, he says it is also a lesson on how to live life and run a business.
If you’d like to listen to more episodes of “15 Minutes With Charlie,” please visit charliemechem.com or search for “15 Minutes With Charlie” in your podcasting app. If you are enjoying the show you should check out “Total Anecdotal: A Fun Guide to Help You Become a Better Speaker and Writer.” Learn more at charliemechem.com/book, or find it available through Amazon or Barnes & Noble, and perhaps your local bookstore.