Getting Down in the Dirt

Have you ever had a house built? If not, surely you’ve watched one go up.
For a long time, it seems that nothing’s happening. The site preparation, excavation and foundation-building seem to take a long time with little noticeable progress.

Then the framing starts—and things take on a faster pace.

Or does it?

It’s true the erection of the walls and roof happen quickly. The shape of the new structure looks more familiar and there’s more “bulk” to the project. Progress is more noticeable, but appearances can be deceiving. Foundation work may not be very sexy or show progress as much as framing does, but we all know it’s necessary.

Just imagine if we were to start putting up walls and hanging floor joists with the sills just sitting on the ground? It would be silly, wouldn’t it? We wouldn’t think of building our house without first building a firm foundation.
And yet, I see people’s lives and even large companies built with little or no thought to a foundation. In the rush to make things happen, to create products and turn a profit, they build on weak footings.
In the past few years, we’ve seen thousands of dot-coms become dot-gones. They shot up quickly much like a house being framed. Things were happening so fast in the late nineties that few looked to see if there was any kind of a foundation supporting these structures.

One has only to look at the Enron mess to see that even extremely large and apparently well-established companies can be easily toppled by having weak foundations.

The foundation I’m talking about for people as well as large organizations is values and purpose.
We offer an eCourse called Your Core Values and those who’ve taken it didn't find the task easy. And I didn’t promise it would be. Getting down in the dirt and making sure the foundation is solid is not necessarily easy, fun or particularly dramatic.
It is, however, worth it.
By getting clear on our values, knowing who we are, what we’re about and what we stand for, we can have something to stand ON. We have a foundation for our efforts.

This process makes it easier to make decisions, because we have a framework with which to evaluate our decisions. It also saves us time because we can focus in on what really matters and not waste time chasing after things that don’t serve our purpose.
We have a clarity and a power that’s tangible—we can feel it. And in the process, we can ATTRACT success instead of PURSUING it.
Not only do we know ourselves better, but others know us. We become known by our values and our purpose. It’s part of our identity. In the case of a company, it becomes our corporate DNA—it’s our reason for being.
Yes, it may sometimes seem slow and we may not always see rapid progress, but building a firm foundation of core values and solid purpose will provide the support for lasting success.
To find out more about Your Core Values eCourse, go to The course is offered as part of SuccessNet’s Membership or it may be purchased separately.

Michael Angier is available to speak to your company or organization. He works with senior executives who want to build world-class companies and with people who want to do value-driven work. If you’d like him to work with you or your company to clarify, articulate and exemplify your core values and true purpose, please contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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