One night, my wife Alexis made a stop to get cinnamon rolls for the next morning. Our curious boys are always wondering what could be in every bag that enters our home so, when they found out that there were cinnamon rolls for the next day’s breakfast, it created some excitement in the Dancer household.
Our oldest son, Clark woke up early the next morning and reminded me of the cinnamon rolls. He was ready to eat breakfast. Usually, breakfast consists of oatmeal, cereal, or yogurt — so the cinnamon rolls that morning were something special.
Cinnabon reminds us that the best cinnamon roll is warm and covered in icing so, in my preparation and delivery, I wanted to provide that same deliciousness to Clark. I started the oven and popped in the refrigerated roll. I figured it would be about 5 minutes. Just enough time to warm up the roll would be plenty. I set the timer, popped it in, and Clark watched through the glass, counting down the time needed before he could dig in.
The timer dings, and Clark’s excitement to eat the cinnamon roll rises. I pull out the pan and feel the roll. The outside is starting to warm; it’s soft, but I can still feel that it’s cold and a bit hard on the inside. I let Clark know it needs a bit more time, and pop it back in the oven for another 2 minutes. He’s somewhat frustrated, but we chat about how the best things need time to be created; that we can’t rush greatness, and in only a few minutes he can enjoy his breakfast.
That is, until the timer dings again. I pull it out and test it. Again, it needs about another 2 minutes to be made well. We are so close. Clark tells me he doesn’t care if it’s cold or not on the inside — he wants to eat now. However, I know that an additional 2 minutes in the oven is the difference between being an ‘ok’ cinnamon roll or an excellent cinnamon roll. He doesn’t have enough experience to know the difference, but I want to deliver the Best Product I can to him.
I pop it back in, while he gives me the full 6-year-old disclosure on how he doesn’t want to wait and wants it now. His excitement and the anticipation of eating the cinnamon roll has been replaced with anger and frustration. He has full-on lost the joy of the cinnamon roll. I stay steady; I know his frustrations are about the ‘right now’. I can see the disappointment, but I also know the wait will be worth it. The joy of a well done, soft, and gooey cinnamon roll far surpasses eating it cold. My job is to keep the vision alive when he loses hope.
If I was cooking something I do all the time — say, chicken breast in the oven; I know how long it takes. 40 minutes, check them, and then another 20 minutes. 60 minutes total. It’s consistent. I know it because I do it once every few weeks. But, these cinnamon rolls were from the bakery down the street. They came with no clear instructions or timing guidelines.
The same is true in our scheduling of jobs. We have an idea of how long something might take, but every job has its unique characteristics. It’s our job to work diligently for them and to plan well but, at the same time, to keep steady to the best product. Even if that means we may need to take a few extra minutes to make sure we are doing our best work.
The client may get frustrated at us or at the construction process in general. However, our role is to stay steady and focus on working towards producing the work we promised to deliver. They may need to vent, express their emotions, or let out their frustrations about a project; however, it is up to us to deliver the results that we promised in the beginning — regardless of any obstacles we may face. In the end, when you have completed a project to the best of your ability, a few extra minutes, hours, or even days won’t seem to matter.
Clark waited for a total of 9 minutes for the roll when it was ‘supposed’ to be 5. He was a bit frustrated but, by the time he was eating, the few extra minutes that he had waited didn’t matter. I knew that I delivered my best to him, and he knows now that dad doesn’t compromise, even under the pressure of some whining and complaining. He knows his dad will choose Impact over Comfort. I imagine a business where people know we operate this same way.
People will know us by the actions we do. The steadiness and respect we show to the work. By respecting the work — we respect them.