Leading by Example: On and Off the Jobsite


With three kids in tow, I’m not nearly as productive as I’d like to be when working around the house. There’s only so many hours in a day and while slowing down to involve them is 100% necessary, it can also be very challenging. For the past few weeks, we have been trying to install a fence to prepare for the goats we’ll be getting — at the kid’s request, of course. Kade, Kinsley, and Kam like helping, and swinging the hammer when we get a new post set is what they enjoy most. They’ve all watched me pound nails in a hundred times and love to get their own opportunity to do the same. This particular story starts with Kam’s turn — he’s three, for those keeping track.  

Imitating me, he held the horse shoe nail up on the post to fasten the fence; he swung the hammer and the nail fell out of his fingers. On try number two, he swung and the nail fell out of his fingers again. “Damn it,” he angrily murmured. Both of his siblings immediately froze and looked at me to see my reaction. I knew exactly where he picked up this colorful language of course. Hint: it’s me. In this case, Kam had caught my colorful language despite being taught not to swear. Now don’t get me wrong I was hysterically laughing on the inside, but needed to use this as a teaching moment so our soon to be preschooler doesn’t terrify his new teacher. These course corrections are sometimes necessary in parenting, just like the construction industry.  

Similar to in my journey in parenting, at The Douglas Company, we strive to lead by example and improve upon everything that came before. As the General Contractor, all the subcontractors rely on us to make the project a success. With such a heavy weight on our shoulders, we must remind ourselves that – throughout the lifecycle of a project – more is caught than taught. As a company, we work to lead by example, using the following ideas as our guide:

Set the standard.

Our subcontractors watch us, waiting for us to set the standard with our actions. In order to put our best foot forward as the General Contractor, we strive set that standard by starting meetings on time, treating all subcontractors equally and fairly, and responding to emails within 48 hours of receiving them. Additionally, establishing a routine is necessary to set expectations with subcontractors and meet changes as they occur. 

Make your words match your actions.

Our words must also line up with our actions. Everyone has heard the phrase ‘actions speak louder than words’ and that’s especially true in this situation. Subcontractors and clients won’t be able to hear what we say if our actions are drowning them out. 

Make time for what’s important.

Most often, a lack of time — time pressures, rushing, scrambling to finish things — is simply a lack of priorities. By choosing to spend our time focusing on things that are important, we can accomplish more of our goals and thus meet our commitments. Both can go a long way toward setting the right example for our subcontractors.  

Continue learning.

At The Douglas Company, we are always striving to improve. In order to do so, we learn from our mistakes. Rather than carrying mistakes around with us, we place them under our feet and use them as stepping stones to rise above. 

We also aren’t afraid to call upon eachother for problem-solving assistance. We believe that everything is ‘figure-outable’ when we work together and are all the better for it. Growth through learning, teamwork, and leadership has always been a top priority for The Douglas Company.


Landon Kessler

Project Manager

The Douglas Company

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