By Ryan Abbott, Senior Vice President, Sundt Construction
I come from a family of pilots: grandfather, father, brothers and even sister-in-law. I’ve heard many versions of this story since I was small.
They call it being “in the barrel.” It’s that moment when a pilot is having a hard time getting his aircraft onto the carrier deck. Perhaps he has spent hours flying to-and-from a battle, had to refuel multiple times (being much closer to another airborne craft than sanely reasonable), perhaps in defending a dotted line on a map he had to drop a bomb that day. Whatever has happened, he’s now in the barrel. He missed grabbing a cable on the carrier deck, running on fumes, mentally, physically and literally. He’s running out of time to make it happen, to make it home.
So what happens? A call goes out on the aircraft carrier: “Lt. Commander Smith is in the barrel.” At that moment, the squadron drops what it was doing and heads to the Ready Room (picture a really large classroom). The team members turn on the red lights, some acid rock and “will” that pilot home.
Pilots have stories of being in the barrel. They say, “I was once in the barrel over the Persian Gulf…” or “…in the middle of the Pacific Ocean…” Then they’ll tell you (with a shaky voice) they got through it because they knew their colleagues, their peers, their family away from home, their friends were sitting in a room cheering them on, willing them home and that was enough to make it happen.
Having a network means we can deploy, innovate, adapt and execute knowing our greatest advocates are sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with us. That there isn’t a problem in our industry we are not capable of solving. An answer, a helping hand, a partner, an idea is only a single phone call, email or text message away.
Some ideas for creating a robust network:
- Manufacture a barrel – the most robust relationships I have in my network were formed while we completed a goal together.
- Think CANstruction. As a team, build a structure and stock the shelves of a food bank.
- Ragnar – Last year we formed an architect/contractor team to complete the long-distance relay course. Want to get to know someone? Spend a night cheering them on while running a relay.
- Complete a Tough Mudder race together. Tough Mudders are 10- to 12-mile races filled with 20 or more challenging obstacles.
- Put yourself out there. Ask for advice and follow up with members of your network after you use it.
- Walk a day in their shoes (create a shadow day).
- Make sure you give more than you take: time, effort and support.
Ryan Abbott is a Sundt Senior Vice President who’s in charge of our Southwest District Building Group. This blog is part of our series of posts about career-related subjects.