Another building that I saw on the architectural tour was the Fischer Building – an 8-story structure that was the tallest building in Iowa when it was constructed in 1894. Because of its height, fire safety was a real concern as firetrucks were not yet equipped to reach “skyscrapers”.

As a result, the architects took extra precautions to make the building as fireproof as possible, relying heavily on the use of terra cotta. Not only does this material allow for decorative accents on the outside, but it also serves as a flame retardant. Terra cotta covered the exterior of the building and was used as part of the interior flooring and column coverings.

You may not be in the construction business or have to worry about fire-resistant materials, but everyone can learn from the multi-faceted aspect of the Fischer building’s construction. How are you creating content, services or materials that can serve a dual purpose for your organization? Can you create beauty out of something that needs to be functional? Have you put extra effort into your product so that it endures for almost a century?

I am sure there were cheaper and easier ways for the Fischer’s construction, but fortunately for us, the architect avoided them. Infuse the same pride in whatever you are building today.

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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