The Annual Marathon That We Run

In the U.S. at least, the calendar year is an interesting marathon race. It can be a long journey with many sights and people along the way. The competitors we encounter are generally empathetic with the other runners, because in the end we are running the race ourselves. We challenge each other to improve along the way.

As we near the end, we give thanks for making it this far, yet we understand that the race is not quite over. Often, finishing the year is the most challenging part of the race, but we do look forward to the quieter time of the holidays to rest, celebrate and enjoy our accomplishments.

Thanksgiving morning is a quiet time. It promotes reflection on the work we do and the mission we serve. Our Mission is not just to design and build great facilities, or to provide a great place to work and prosper for our colleagues, or to continually improve our use of technology and our service to our clients, or to operate profitably to support our parent organization. Rather, it’s all of those things at the same time.

It is a beautiful thing when you see them all happening at the same time. The goal of management is to promote a culture where those things can happen at the same time more often. That culture needs to be self-evident to everyone in the organization. This is an underlying quality at every successful organization.

I recently read about the experience guests have at Disney theme parks. “I am continually amazed that thousands of people walk down Disney’s Main Street every day, yet it remains spotless,” observed one individual. The reason being is that it is understood that no matter what your position, if you are a “cast member” working in the park it is your responsibility to pick up any trash the moment you see it.

Everyone has a distinct role in promoting the culture in an organization. Everyone has a distinct role to play in improving it. Everyone impacts the culture through their own actions.

So as I reflect on a Thanksgiving morning and think about the month ahead, I am thankful for all those competitors and “cast members” who contribute to the culture of our Company. Those who promote the Values and Mission through the efforts of their daily work; their interactions with colleagues, clients and others; are each day, making the Company better and moving us to our Vision. To each of you, know that your extra effort, the smile you offer, the attention to detail, and the added support you offer a co-worker, while not always specifically recognized, contributes to a better Company. You set the standards that we try and meet, and then exceed.

Many thanks for providing the momentum to continually improve in our Mission, Values and Vision. With your help, we will all be continually improving, which is a race that has no finish line. As Vince Lombardi once said, “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.”


“Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country …..”

George Washington

Complete version of President Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation