Summertime Projects

As it happened this time a year ago, summer has started again. With every summer, banners with graduation notices and well-wishes can be seen at entrances to subdivisions. As with most years, I can truly say I attended multiple graduations for children of my good friends and family. This year alone, I attended two kindergarten graduations and one 1st grade graduation while receiving two high school graduation announcements.

Maybe it’s just me feeling this way, but I truly believe most graduates don’t really care whether I attend their party. They really don’t care that I make the party or not if a card with a $100 bill is received. In fact, they may not even know if I attended the party or not.

I really don’t remember much about my graduation. I missed my high school graduation practice because Bill, my oldest brother of 12 children, had me hanging sheet rock in one of his many rental houses. “Summer Help” at Harrington Construction meant that I was repairing the fence out front. Every night, after all the employees had headed home to be with their families, my end-of-the-day tasks were to wash down all the dump trucks, clean the tire and hose off the street mud, and have them lined up for next days work. Graduating students and businesses have something in common. Both will experience change. Whatever they do next will have an impact on their future.

Thinking about the events of summer for businesses brings a certain company to mind—Nordstrom’s Automotive in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. As the weather gets better, every summer, the folks at Nordstrom’s look for things to make their place better and more appealing. It might be to repaint or repave. One summer, I remember them paving the dirt road in front of their place, located at 480th street, with a LARGE SIGN with HUGE FONT, “Going the Extra Mile for You!”  Today, the street is called, “Nordstrom’s Drive. Every summer there’s a summer project. As you’re reading this article, I can’t help but ask if you have a summer project for your place of business. Maybe that office you’ve always said you were going to paint could get painted this summer or replace the yellowed outlets or a light fixture or two.

Now, I personally know that summertime at Northlake Auto Recycler’s in Hammond, IN is always Big-Project Time. Their place is breath-taking. For enjoyment by the employees, there’s an inviting area out back with a beautiful, raised garden for them to enjoy at lunchtime. It’s one of the nicest I’ve seen. Marty and the team did it one summer just to spruce up the place.

Butler’s Auto Parts in Florida painted all their buildings one summer. Now their tire store blends with the rest of the compound. Having an existing project is a way to let employees know you care about them. So, fix up the area where they eat lunch or have employee meetings.

To protect the name of this business, I won’t mention any names for this summer-time project. However, this place had a broken men’s restroom for a year and a half. A guy came to work for them during the summer months. During the year, he had been working as a teacher at the local trade school. Guess what got fixed that summer? Yes, the men’s restroom!  Now only that, but the teacher installed new lights, added the training center, and new molding throughout the offices. They now have an outdoor light luminating the yard and fresh lamps on the front entrance. The place looked great that summer. Yes, the teacher returns to work every summer. Good job, Kevin! His last name has been omitted to protect the innocent.

Think of things that need to be done at your place of business. This summer is the perfect time to start. Remove outdated equipment. Refurbish the place. Make people proud they work there and delight customers.

Have a fun summer completing your summertime project!

Correspondence regarding this article should go to:

D.J. Says, 2820 Andover Way, Woodstock, GA 30189

D. J. Harrington is an author, journalist, seminar leader, international trainer, and marketing consultant. He works primarily with customer service personnel, and his clients include such world-class companies as General Motors, DuPont, Caterpillar, and Damon Corporation. He may be reached at 800-352-5252. E-mail: 52 weeks a year, we are as close as your telephone.