Alicia Diamond

Chief of Staff Blog

Actionable advice, tips, and musings from a 2x Chief of Staff

Faster, faster, faster

A brief, but inspiring read about a 76-year old running circles around his fellow contractors because his relentless, entirely rational focus on speed.

They might not have official corporate values, and they probably wouldn’t even use these terms. But there are, it seems, three principles that explain Myers & Sons’ rapid success: an obsession with speed, a merit-based focus on people, and the jet-fuel that powers it all — C.C. Myers’ larger-than-life personal brand.

Myers’ firm is known for finishing big, labor-intensive projects ahead of deadline: think, reconstructing bridges in California after an earthquake big.

Myers’ approaches each job in an entirely rational way: finish ahead of deadline in order to net a bonus, often paid per day he finishes early, and use his reputation for getting it done to win more business. In a sea of over-time and over-budget, Myers’ has made the strategic decision to work harder and smarter than his peers.

Since he gets $200,000 a day for finishing early, he is willing to spend up to $199,999 on extra workers, overtime and Little League donations. Again and again he employed this model to aggressively beat the schedule.

The article is an inspiration for anyone who’s been responsible for business operations large or small. My key takeaways:

  1. Focus relentlessly on promising and delivering.

  2. Always overdeliver.

  3. Be rational about the economics associated with incentive bonuses.

How many employees approach their own work the same way? If you know you have a deadline and a bonus likely related to meeting said deadline, would you be willing to invest your own money in order to meet or exceed the deadline? Is it worth building a stable of reliable freelancers to help yourself scale-up on work projects? A few ideas:

  • If you’re slow and/or terrible at Powerpoint, why not have someone in your backpacker who can help format Lorem Ipsum-filled slides?

  • Financial modeling not your strong suit? Get some help!

  • Do you always make silly mistakes, like typos or math errors? Hire a proofreader!

So what are the takeaways for a small business owner, middle manager or senior executive? C.C. is living proof that results can matter more than paradigms. You don’t need buzzwords to build. You don’t need inspirational posters to inspire. You need to work, and once you are known for that work, your personal brand, in turn, will bring even more work. It’s a virtuous cycle.



Alicia Diamond