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With high integrity, coupled with top technical skills and the enthusiasm to get things done quickly and correctly, mountains get moved
With high integrity, coupled with top technical skills and the enthusiasm to get things done quickly and correctly, mountains get moved
June 19, 2015 7:00 AM CDT

Never underestimate integrity

Full Contact Project Management


Destruction in the city of Baltimore, Md., wasn’t caused by an act of nature, but by acts of man by things political and philosophical. People would lose employment due to destroyed businesses, and they’d also lose places to live due to burned-out dwellings. Respect would also be lost: civil rights versus the rule of law versus man’s inhumanity to man. Character and integrity were on trial.

Let’s discuss the concept of hope. As mason contractors, employees and suppliers, there is a definite message of hope coming our way. But first, let me introduce you to a man you’ve likely never met: Donte Hickman, who wrote a book entitled, “The Power of Being Underestimated.”

Donte is my kind of guy: a leader in his community and a super hero without a cape. Donte sent emails out to a group of men he knew and asked them to immediately meet with him. His message to them was that they all needed to go out into the dangerous streets, right then, and work to calm down the crowds, urging them to limit themselves to non-violent protest.

Donte wasn’t the mayor or the police chief, so he didn’t have that kind of legal authority and power. He is a pastor of a local church in that community, someone without legal authority over the citizens of the town but with much of their respect.

When Donte talks, people listen. His men did go to the streets and attempt to work with the protesters, most of whom were non-violent. And, the following morning, other private citizens were out in the streets, sweeping, attempting to clean things up.

Switch to Nepal, a city in chaos due to a 7.8-scale earthquake. The government structure has broken down and been rendered incapacitated, so how did a significant portion of the rescue and recovery happen? Private people, charities and ministries, digging through rocks and rubble, primarily with shovels or bare hands, attempted to find and then rescue survivors. That underestimated crew made a significant impact in the effort to save lives.

Let’s apply this to our own businesses. Virtually all mason contractors out there know of other contractors with businesses much larger than theirs. By comparison to the world’s standards, we are underestimated, with few truly major companies among us. But when you put us all together – as with the MCAA – we represent a sizable force that is ready and able to get things done. And, when that force is made up of guys and gals with high integrity, coupled with top technical skills and the enthusiasm to get things done quickly and correctly, mountains get moved.

When things look grim, Americans like Donte have always stepped up. It was apparent that the situation would calm, once a line of neighborhood men stood a couple of feet in front of a policeman and facing the crowd, “protecting their protectors,” they called it. The hoodlums had underestimated the resolve of the community.

And when you saw the image of a young boy distributing bottled water to the policemen on duty, you knew that the professional protestors had underestimated him as well. And, when you watched the video of a mom chasing after her son who was carrying a rock in his hand, you knew that such violence will not be tolerated in her household. And, you absolutely knew that the resolve of decent people might be underestimated by criminals, but that good would prevail.

About the Author

Gary Micheloni is a working project manager, speaker, author, consultant and coach. He has severals years of industry experience, including a background as a licensed general engineering contractor. For further information and insight on the Full Contact Project Management approach, write Coach Gary at


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