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  • Jim Davis

What (who) Are You Building?

Does labor even really matter?


The Empire State Building can answer that question.


Keep reading.


Years ago, on a family trip to New York City, I was surprised by all the history I was able to discover regarding what are world-renown, iconic structures that call New York home; many that are now centuries old.


Though many have undergone needed renovations and needed repair, they still stand the test of time and represent careful design and much strenuous, often dangerous, work.


One of the most iconic buildings in New York is, of course, the Empire State Building. And yes, we went all the way to the 86th floor that overlooks the city’s massive skyline from a 1,250-foot view.


Breathtaking! (Only a little scary).


Believe it or not, the construction of the building took only one year and 45 days from the setting of the first columns in April of 1930; the fastest such construction, to date, for a project that large.


In fact, the framework rose at a rate of four and a half stories per week.


This is just one example of the many historic buildings that can be found in New York City, or any city, which remain as testaments to the workers who made it happen.


More than seven million man hours were recorded in the construction of the Empire State Building which, incidentally, just recently celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2021.


It’s easy to visit and take in the magnificence of a structure like the


Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, or St. Patrick’s Cathedral; all of which we also visited.


But it’s also important to remember the obvious truth that buildings don’t build themselves.


People do.


The production of each worker is represented in the iron and steel that still hold such constructs together for all the thousands, if not millions, who enter their doors and frequent them on a daily basis.


No doubt the labor was hard and absent of the technology we enjoy today.


But the result is obvious and truly awe-inspiring.


The ultimate value was, and still is, what the people were able to create and build; together.


Read that again.


What the people were able to build.


Together.


Why is this important?


What keeps people motivated when a job becomes demanding, and the work gets tough?


With a commitment to the overall mission of the organization, employees want to know that who they are, and what they do, add real value.


Because they do.


Build people.


Not things.


Build people, and they'll build the rest.


Who (not what) are you building?


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