Giffin & Crane

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Sometimes the best thing you can do for your business is to spend time cultivating your life outside of work.

April 01, 2003

 

Bruce Giffin and Geoff Crane

 

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Bruce Giffin (left) Geoff Crane

 

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Bruce Giffin (left) Geoff Crane

 

Professional Partner Profiles
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Bruce Giffin and Geoff Crane

 

Professional Partner Profiles
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Sometimes the best thing you can do for your business is to spend time cultivating your life outside of work. Executive coaches, who focus on the individual rather than the company, help owners and managers find a work/life balance and take joy in both.

"You get to a point where you've been trying to make your business grow, and if you don't get that or something goes awry, you get burned out," says Bruce Giffin, co-owner of Giffin & Crane General Contractors Inc. in Santa Barbara, Calif. "You're not joyful. You're not appreciating customers. If you're hitting that point in your career, that's a perfect point in time to be working with your coach."

Giffin has been working with Clay Nelson of Consulting Services Network for more than a year, meeting in person every other week for about an hour. The two met through Stephen Hann, CGR, a Nelson client and friend of Giffin. Giffin says having a coach has forced him to articulate his goals, write them down to make them tangible, and set completion dates. In other words, Nelson makes him accountable for his performance, particularly on the home front.

"This is about getting more well-rounded, taking care of yourself so you can have more fun with others in your life because you're more energized," says Giffin. "I'm still very busy, but I'm having a lot more fun. When I'm present with somebody, I'm very present, not looking at my watch." His staff even has permission to call him on it if they notice him thinking about the next task rather than focusing on the conversation at hand.

Giffin's need for personal coaching stemmed from 16 years of growing the custom home and remodeling firm while struggling for sustainability. "We were doing everything ourselves, with no systems to speak of," Giffin says of himself and his partner. With the help of their Builder 20 group and a paid consultant, that has changed. While the relationship with the consultant lasted less than two years, and they didn't take all of his advice, his SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis and homework assignments proved useful.

The company's vice president for administration and its controller had been telling the owners for years that Giffin & Crane needed to become a true organization. Having the consultant agree made it more real. "When someone you're paying tells it to you, you go, 'That's a great idea,'" Giffin says. "He pointed out we could spend a lot on advertising but didn't have the organization to handle the increased business."

At about the same time, three years ago, Giffin's Builder 20 group decided to discuss the book The E-Myth Revisited and brought in E-Myth consultant Dennis DuRoff. That one-time shot-in-the-arm, as well as DuRoff's free weekly e-mail newsletter, provided Giffin with a good systems template as well as ideas on measuring performance and creating a company culture.

The company now is poised to grow from $10 million to $13 million, and Giffin is looking forward to it.

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