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A Special Series from NAWLA
WHEN I ASSUMED the role of NAWLA chair, my goal was simple: reminding each of our members how NAWLA brings value to their companies and employees. But I also aimed to ensure NAWLA spreads the word about how each and every one of us—whether NAWLA members or not—should be proud to work in this industry and to never forget how we stood tall in a year when many other industries struggled.
Most of us had one of the best years in our careers in 2020, and it’s my belief that is by no coincidence. We learned a new phrase last year, “essential business,” and I hope it’s something we carry with us into the future. If there were ever a time to recruit and retain the next generation of leaders into the lumber industry, now is that time. We can no longer pretend we aren’t sexy—no more excuses.
So how do we do this? This article got me thinking.
It tells the story of how Tom Brady, after joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, recruited the three players who would make three of the touchdowns that helped cement the Buccaneers’ victory. Essentially, it’s a story about the importance of teams—and how critical it is for leaders to recruit and train the best “players” for our teams.
I was especially struck by the idea of being an “A” coach teaching “A” players. This is such an important lesson for all of our leaders in the lumber industry to hear right now. What are you doing to bring the “A” players into your organizations? Our industry has had a successful year. There is no excuse to not recruit the star players in 2021. The money is there, the opportunity is there. Now is the time to build your best teams yet.
It’s also important that if we’re recruiting the next generation of star players, that we do what we can to retain them. Millennials now represent the largest subset of America’s workforce, and they want coaches, not bosses. I think this idea transcends generations—I firmly believe people work for people, not companies—but it’s more important now than ever that we put this idea into practice.
And don’t forget that NAWLA is here to help. We’re spreading the word about the benefits of working in our industry—and recruiting the next generation of lumber professionals—through our Careers in Lumber campaign. We’ve established a Young Emerging Lumber Professionals (YELP) group to support and educate the up-and-coming leaders in our industry. And we’ve built “10 Groups” for lumber professionals to connect with members who have like-minded interests. My 10 Group is part of the reason I became so engaged with NAWLA, and I still consider my 10 Group peers to be some of my most trusted colleagues and friends.
Now is the time to seize the opportunity and build your best teams. And NAWLA has the community to help.