In his book, Paul Winans—with 20 years as a business owner and 20 years as a facilitator for Remodelers Advantage under his belt—serves up a wealth of insight and firsthand experience for business owners to reflect on and learn from so they can change what they're doing for the better.
Once I began reading it, I couldn't put it down. Part of that I credit to Paul's ability to align his insights with his readers. We know from his weekly columns in REMODELING that he is one of us, and we in turn come to admire him and be open to his advice; we listen better because of that connection. But the story he gives us in The Remodeling Life is not just a collection of his columns. In his book, he crafts a much longer thesis than he does in his bite-sized blog posts each week. This longer thesis is in some ways a brutally honest memoir of his own journey—as the subtitle says "A Journey from Laggard to Leader." But Paul artfully interweaves his own experience with analysis of what he learned along the way, so his journey becomes a map to guide other business owners through their own evolution in business.
He has organized this evolution into three parts—"First, Remodeling Yourself," "Remodel Your Team," and "Remodel Your Business"—and into each of these sections, he sifts revelations from a variety of resources (both books and people) that he has drawn from over his career and lessons learned while counseling a wide range of other successful company owners. The result is a highly entertaining but profoundly deep resource. You don't need to have Paul's same personality, work in the same market, or have the same company trajectory that he had for his journey to have an impact on your journey.
At the beginning of this book, Paul quotes General Colin L. Powell: "There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure." Though profoundly true, this is much easier to say than to live. The crux is in knowing how to prepare and what we should work on. But Paul shows us that it's in the last part—learning from failure—where the right plan and a focused understanding of our work are revealed. The learning starts with being honest about our own failures.
I won't go into detail describing Paul's failures. They are, in some respects, moot. Not entirely, of course, because in revealing them, Paul is modeling what we each need to do to "get out of our own way" to allow our fellow workers and our company to flourish. Suffice to say, you will be inspired to be honest.
Be a Leader
Paul's own path to being an effective leader took off once he learned to get out of his own way, learned to face his limits, and put systems and personnel in place to complement his strengths and make up for his weaknesses. Watching that unfold for Paul on the pages of this book, you gain a clear sense of what it means to build an effective team.
Part 2 of his book, "Remodel Your Team," brings into sharp focus a much-discussed problem in our industry today: the need to hire good labor and build a strong company culture to attract and retain workers. The practical insight Paul brings to the topic—showing what hiring poorly looks like for an individual, how it impacts the company, and how this cycle is shaping the industry as a whole—give me hope that the current lack of skilled labor is solvable, one company at a time.
Each practical business insight packed into this small volume is revealed through the lens of one successful remodeler's hard-won experience. It's a powerful way, as Bruce Case sagely puts it, of "distilling the complex into the simple." Running a successful remodeling business is fraught with complexity. Reading The Remodeling Life is a simple way to unwind the convolutions we bring to the business, and become inspired to succeed.