What got us through 2020: The year of unpredictability

There is no sugar coating it, even after counting all of the blessings, 2020 was hard. A completely unpredictable virus led to a completely unpredictable year. We shared many of the same hardships you have including, a spontaneous emergency room stay for our 4-year-old son, a county-wide shut down of our industry, and police on our job site, extreme price and schedule volatility in construction leading to gut-wrenching conversations with clients, a personal battle with Covid-19, unexpected team dynamics from families moving cross-country to be "home", and lastly, as leaders of our team and our trade partners, shepherding our flock through the storm and mental health impacts that arose from what TIME Magazine called, "The Worst Year Ever".

There was no normal in 2020. All of our habits and plans we committed to at the end of 2019 to prepare us for 2020, went out the window, as Covid-19 came in. As we look back on 2020, there was only one constant with our company. As we head into 2021, I feel strongly called to share that constant with you all. As you plan your business or family goals of 2021, you must do this first.

Photography: Madeline Harper

Mission and Values, the only solid foundation we had to stand on in 2020. Without our mission and values, we would have been wandering through 2020 aimlessly, because nothing else in our life was constant. As our habits imploded, our timelines shifted to the right, our work week evolved into multitasking, the root cause of decrease in productivity, our mission and values were the only thing we could point back to for guidance. We could no longer look at spreadsheets, key performance indicators, or burndown charts to measure our success. Our goals and our plans were stripped down to the only thing we had left, our Mission and our Values. We are most proud of 2020 because through it all, those two things were not comprised, they were sacred.

While our mission and values will look different from yours, the important thing is taking the time to identify them for your business, and your family. In turn, you will create a culture that is sure to withstand any unprecedented or unpredictable storm, positively impact others along the way, and personally come out of it with joy. I encourage you to make this a fun exercise, something you don't "have" to do, you "get" to do! Your work is your mission field and you have the opportunity to create and define the values and mission, your foundation.

This is how we did it. Spoiler alert, it was not rocket science. When Jesse and I were called to create Younger Homes in 2017, we realized within the first few months, we needed to establish the mission, and values we wanted Younger Homes to embody, little did we know, this was the one thing that has not changed in our business over the last three years. We let God speak to us about what He wanted Younger Homes to be specifically. We still have that 8.5x11 white paper filled with chicken scratch, that eventually led to pairing down our mission to one sentence and determining six core values. We wrote it on our office window, we reference it in our contracts, we review when hiring new employees, pray about a big decision, or plan for a new year. These things never change.

For us, it starts with putting God and family first. God is in everything we do. He is not only first, but He is there always. Also, family is the glue that holds everyone together in this business. We wanted to create a company that works for its people, not the other way around. This is something we feel has been normalized in modern-day work culture, and it is such a slippery slope, and before you know it, the business is running your life. It is a constant battle to fight for God and family first, but these two top tenants are what upholds our culture.

Our next value is that we are servants. We are in a service-servant business, and we are filled with joy to know we are called to serve families in one of the biggest decisions of their life, while giving nature a helping hand. It takes an intentional mindset to take on a servant's heart, so we implemented #thursdayserveday among our team to reset our mind on purely being selfless servants to our trade partners, clients, each other, community workers, no one is out of scope! Although this can be tricky to find a sweet spot, we keep an intentional mindset and ensure everything we do is in service to our clients.

Photography: Madeline Harper

Photography: Madeline Harper

Our third core value is to be creative. The phrase, "this is the way it's always been done", does not exist here! We are surrounded by super talented and smart people - speaking of our team, trade partners, and clients! Amazing things happen when you let people create! We have always believed that when you give someone the comfort and space to be creative, more productive and beautiful ways of doing things can surface. Creativity is the start of innovation, and we want to give our team the encouragement to continuously improve and be all of those things that God has given them the talents to be.

Stemming from this concept of creativity, we are always pursuing efficiency. In our business life and home life, efficiency is what makes us, us. We like to say we do more with less, and this can take so many meanings. Here, we take it as being a steward of the environment, reducing waste, as well as being efficient in how we work as a team. We believe that every dollar we spend as a company is going to work hard for us and because we hold this so true, it results in a more efficient business, which greatly benefits the client because it allows us to do more in our homes with less overhead. With the onset of Covid-19, many companies suffered from a transition to remote work. Here at Younger Homes, we had been working remotely from the start (to reduce paper waste and remove the need for an office space) so we found we were able to make that small transition very smoothly. Furthermore, early on in our company's journey, we chose to make our prototype home both our model home, our family's home, and our company's home. We hold weekly operation meetings at our home as well as host tours to prospective clients at our very own house. God has allowed us to do this and do it well, which has proven a challenge with a 4 and 7-year-old running around, but we are confident in this calling.

Photography: Craig Washburn

Our fifth value is humility. Humility for us embodies respect for each other, our communities, for others, our environment, for anyone and anything we touch as Younger Homes. Specifically, growing up in construction, we are aware of where we fall short, so we make a great effort to be collaborative and vulnerable with our trade partners because we do not know it all. Notice, we did not use the standard industry term, subcontractors. We call them trade partners because they are exactly that, partners, we work with them, they don't work for us. On the other hand, nothing is perfect and when mistakes happen, we first show mercy, because we know we are human and mistakes happen. We don't have to "bring the hammer down", and that has helped us build a strong trade base to support our business.

Our final value here at Younger Homes culminated into what we call "set apart". For us, this means we are a company and people that are so peculiar and unique that others are so drawn to us and our mission because what we are doing is so different. We want to stand out and have the confidence to be in that spotlight and on this path that God is leading us on in our business. Matthew 5:14 says, “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden." With being set apart we also must be comfortable with the calling to build custom homes differently, to run our company differently, to handle big decisions differently. We want everyone we reach to be intrigued with our business model, and want to learn more about how we are making a change in the industry so that we can serve them, share our testimony, and show Christ's love for them.

Photography: Madeline Harper

Photography: Craig Washburn

Despite the hardships of 2020, our cup is overflowing right now. God has allowed that to happen, He called us to the home building industry, He set our mission and our values before we even created a website. It such a blessing to be able to support other families by more than just building their home, to build up and make our community better, to grow with and serve our team and trade partners. When we reflect on 2020, the thing we are most proud of is upholding our mission and values. It is proof our foundation is solid and gives us so much hope for the future of Younger Homes!

I hope you find much joy in 2021! Thank you for being a part of our journey!

Click the link below to listen to our interview about Younger Homes and Family Values on the Small Beginnings Podcast with Sara Thurman.

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Photos are of our model home: Architect, Donovan Davis with Danze and Davis Architects and Interior Design by Haley Manning

If you have any inquiries feel free to email us at hello@younger-homes.com and follow our journey on Instagram, Facebook, and Houzz to see all of our projects.

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