Testimonials & Referrals

There are few things as powerful in the learning process as learning from experience, but as a wise person once said, learning to learn from the experiences of others greatly expands your world.

Occasionally people ask if there are workshops they might "sample," hoping to determine for themselves if TrueNorth material is applicable to their situation. Since most TrueNorth workshops are specifically tailored to a group of employees – designed for an open, honest exchange of information – "outside" participation stifles the free flow of opinions and ideas.

The next best thing to personal experience is to learn from the experience of others… to find out what past and present clients of TrueNorth say about the TrueNorth staff, workshop content, materials quality, participant reaction, and most importantly (drum roll, please) 'did it make a difference?'.

The short answer: TrueNorth facilitators and consultants are inspiring and motivating, workshop content is proven effective, full color materials are unsurpassed, participants are enthusiastic about what they gain, and we make a difference.

The slightly longer answer is to read for yourself. The testimonials used on this page and throughout the website have been used with permission. With the exception of the comments at the end of this page taken from post-workshop evaluation forms, all comments were unsolicited and simply came from those who are enthusiastic about their experience with TrueNorth.

From a trade:

"I admit that in the beginning of this LeanBlitz I was skeptical. However, after seeing the Trade Council in action and understanding how the whole thing works, I have become a believer."

"I am the electrician for ABC Homes and one of the worst issues we have is the constant second and third trips to adjust the heights and locations of backsplash outlets. For whatever reason, they never came out right and would have to be adjusted after the drywall was installed. We had grown to accept the fact that this was just the way things were."

"At the very first Trade Council meeting, ABC's Production Manager put me in contact with Paul the granite counter-top man so that we could come up with a solution to this issue....and we did!!"

"This issue cost me at least one extra trip, the granite counter-top man at least one or more trips, the drywall man at least two trips or more, and the painter at least one trip. We figured the cost to be around $1,400 per house cumulatively. At 97 houses per year, this is a total savings of a whopping $135,800 for ONE issue being solved."

"Without the Trade Council, Paul and I would have never contacted each other. We never would have put our heads together to solve the problem. One of the greatest values of the Trade Council is that it creates a conduit of communication between sub-contractors that otherwise would not exist. It changes the way we all think and the way we look at the jobs. It has set me in a mode of thinking where I am constantly looking for ways to make things better, not only for myself, but other trades as well. It's even had the same effect on the ABC production guys. Just the other day, the ABC Produciton Manager figured out a different way that I can run my ground wire to the gas bond that will save me at least one hour labor and about 40 feet of #6 bare copper, conservatively guessed save me around $75-$100/house . At the end of the year this will increase my bottom line at least $7000. These small items are not chump change when you add them up."

"My hat is off to ABC Homes and TrueNorth. It is nice to know that a builder such as ABC cares enough about its sub-contractors during these tough times to put this program in place."

Chris

"I wanted to applaud and thank the TrueNorth team for the exceptional job you all did on Keystone's LeanBuilding Blitz. Eric and Kent impressed us tremendously with their professionalism and organization. They both brought a unique perspective on lean homebuilding and did an outstanding job of harnessing the potential savings from our wide range of trade partners. Several of our trade partners have expressed their thanks and admiration of the LeanBuilding Blitz. The response from everyone involved has been overwhelming positive. Everyone here is excited to continue the lean process and begin our action planning. We look forward to reaping the benefits of our hard work during the Lean Blitz and are already experiencing the positive effects that this process has had on our trade partner relations. Thanks again."

Lamar Crowell, Chief Executive Officer, Keystone Homes, GA

"From my perspective, I think you guys provided the mechanism and gave good direction to our people to accomplish this task. From an overall standpoint, the philosophy is fairly simple, but trying to get a handle on it would be a daunting task. I think your method was directly on point."

Mark Woudstra, CFO, Eastbrook Homes,MI

"I wanted to tell you how pleased we were with the results from our Lean blitz. We realized all of the savings you promised and then some, but more importantly, it got us thinking in new ways and as a result, we involved our site contractor on a very difficult project in the design phase and have saved over $2,000,000 in rock excavation. In the past, we would have allowed the engineer to do the design and waited until the bidding process to discover there could have been a better way. Involving our subcontractors as true partners is a must for us in these challenging times and as the market improves. Thanks again."

Frank J. McKee, President, The McKee Group, PA

"There is no doubt the investment in Scott's services will be returned to us many times over, and anything paid to Scott and his team is surely and purely investment, not cost. I look at it like this: I could probably pour the slabs myself, and lay the bricks and put up the frames, too, but that make no sense, and this is no different. At the end of that week, I had a greater insight into my operation, my team had a new perspective on what their jobs are about based on a "big picture" that becomes very clear over the course of the week. At the end of the week, my team had an awareness of waste of all sorts, an understanding of enormous amounts of dollar savings, but more importantly, to us at least, a realisation that customer satisfaction can be achieved with "ease and grace". Achieving this, and we now know it is achievable, will make my company a much better place to work and a sustainable business: a business that returns a healthy profit with minimal input from the owners of the business, regardless of the market conditions, and which will not crumble with the departure of key staff, has a minimal turnover, and brings me money and pride without the dramas."

Geoff Caldwell, President, Grady Homes, Townsville, Australia

"I have been doing this for 30 years, and I have seen it all. Trust me; I have never seen anything like this. The information that has poured out of these subs is incredible, and I have my work cut out for me."

Keith Secord, Purchasing & Estimating Manager, Tim O'Brien Homes, WI

"I have been through at least a dozen planning workshops with a variety talented consultants and this was by far the best. All good consultants have a deep "bag of tricks" and so does Scott, but what sets him apart from the rest is his knowledge of the business. He creatively combines techniques with industry experience to produce workshops that blend fun and learning with work."

Dave Graham, President, Pulte Homes,WA

"The training has been very well received by all. Why didn't you tell me about it sooner? What else are you "holding out" on? Are you trying to space out your NHQA Gold winners, so you have one client per year? Asking the Trades to attend was a superb idea. Their participation has been the best thing that employees have liked about the class. So, thanks! You continue to play a crucial role in our success!"

Cynthia M. McAuliffe, President, Grayson Homes. MD

"I thoroughly enjoyed your class Daron. You do a wonderful job facilitating the information and encouraging participation. I asked a lot of people what they thought and they were very impressed. I have heard a few comments that the new employees now know they made the right decision to come on board with Pulte."

Christine Braun, Accounting / Admin Manager, Pulte Homes, FL

"Tom – Thank you for all of your efforts and the passion that you brought to each and every meeting; we all benefited from it. Can you please send us information on the TradeCOMM workshop?"

Kevin Rickard, Principal, New Urban Communities, FL

"I was delighted that my builder invited me to these meetings. I agree with you that the more "intermingling" of companies and their trades can do nothing but improve all aspects of the business. A renewed awareness of "partnering" was the main overall effect on me. Breaking down barriers by having everyone change tables was at first uncomfortable, but you soon learn the value of this."

Dick Fick, Graves Lumber Co.

"Tom – I just wanted to thank you for your help in forming the SWAT team in Halton. I have no doubt that they made our JD Power results even better."

Mark McHone, Mattamy Homes, Ontario

"Scott – I am pleased to say I attended your program at IBS last week entitled "David Vs. Goliath". Not only did I come away with some great ideas to begin working on right away, such as your suggestions on supplier and trade relationships and ideas on strategic marketing, but I also left feeling I could walk a little taller. As a relatively small volume builder, it is easy to fall into the belief that it is hard to compete with the 'big guys'. What you showed me is that in many ways the small guy actually has the advantage, especially if we are willing to use our size (flexibility, speed, maneuverability) as a strength."

David C. Hunihan, Steward, Fidelity Homes

"Scott brought a new level of expertise to addressing the root causes of our quality issues at Pulte. His impact on how we approach our goal of delighting our homeowner is one of the important changes we have made to our processes in the past 20 years. His approach to becoming the Builder of Choice is founded on significant experience within and outside the homebuilding industry in working hand-in-hand with the front-line service providers. His practical knowledge of what it takes to change culture and processes is key if a company is truly going to tackle the issues related to real quality change."

Robert K. Burgess, Former CEO & Chairman, Pulte Corporation

"Paul – You and Scott did a great job. The fact you understand building so well gave credibility to you search for waste and to make others Lean. I loved the exercises. I thought the slide show humor was great as it keeps everyone awake. Great job!"

Mark VanHuffel, Western Divisional Sales Manager, Exterior Portfolio by Crane, OH

"Hal – I wanted to thank you for all of the information; your training course turns on the light inside our minds and pulls us out of the dark. I know that both PQL I & II has added to my success here at Pulte Homes. The team bonding factor is instrumental for building a strong team. I can't wait for the next training; your words have truly changed my way of thinking. Thank you."

Brandon Pfarr, Construction Superintendent, Pulte Homes

"TrueNorth's strategic planning and operations improvement workshops have been a major reason for our company's success in recent years. By taking our executives and front line managers away for a weekend, we are really able to focus on improving the key drivers of our company. We leave each session aligned on our key strategic objectives. TrueNorth has the ability and tools to pull the best ideas out of each individual and then develop a plan as a team. Our Process Improvement Teams continue to meet years after they were initially formed during these sessions. We are a better organization because of our participation with TrueNorth's workshops."

Nelson Mitchell, Jr., CEO, HistoryMaker Homes, TX

"I just went through TrueNorth’s Certified Quality Advisor training with John Gunkler; it was the most intense, enlightening training experience I have ever had. I am now using my CQA fact finding and data processing tools to study how we as a private company can get closer to even flow production."

Mike Fenton, Area Manager, John Laing Homes, CO

"I loved the materials, especially the presentation of the materials. I liked the guide, pad of paper, disks, compass and binder that everything came in. Nice touch! The postcard where we wrote 1 quality improvement goal was great; I can keep the postcard near my computer so I am constantly reminded of my goal."

Amy M. Egan, Segmentation Manager, Pulte Homes, IL

The following quotes were taken from actual course/instructor evaluation sheets at recent workshops:

  • I'd like to say thank you for keeping the energy level up for the eight hour duration. I can't imagine how much preparation is involved in trying to command attention from an audience for such an extended period of time.
  • I really enjoyed the meeting and instructor. Good information. The instructor kept the meeting moving and there was a lot of group interaction.
  • I enjoyed this! Speaker was excellent. I usually find these meetings boring and a waste of time. This was not!
  • I learned a lot. The instructor made it fun. The instructor had a great attitude and the class was motivational.
  • Good storyteller; good use of time; good mix of group interactions. Great class!
  • Very compelling speaker.
  • Made us think and act outside our ‘comfort zone’.
  • The instructor presented the course with a fresh outlook. This didn’t seem to be mundane to him. He involved the group extensively, instead of just speaking to us all day. Good Job!!
  • Involved us; enjoyed it. The instructor was great.
  • Very energetic; good at getting group participation. Had a great attitude.
  • Today was really beneficial. Instructor was great.
  • Informative, helpful, fun.
  • Encouraged us to think, act and communicate.
  • Helped us understand others’ challenges. Got everyone involved.
  • The instructor made us aware of what is going on in the company. Had a positive attitude.
  • Kept us awake! Connected with each person. I recommend this class any chance you get. The class was a life changer.
  • My biggest gain would have to be the example that 96% of employee attitude starts at the top. I now use that thought in many of my presentations and how I address my employees.
  • The time flew by in the class. I really enjoyed the examples and group involvement. Listening to everyone was great.
  • Great Job! I am a big believer in these types of courses and in my opinion they should never stop.
  • By including the subcontractors, my builder is recognizing that we are all functioning "limbs" of their organization, and there must be more than merely delegation of work responsibility to their subs.
  • There were many great direct and indirect lessons throughout the workshop: the importance of communication on every level, empowerment through delegation, process improvement involving those who perform the tasks, setting worm's-eye & bird's-eye goals, perception of quality, the importance of a seamless business concept, and respect for other people & functions. I see opportunity for application of all of these in both business and personal instances.
  • I really like how you change the groups around and delegate persons as team leaders...great ice-breaker and thought evoker to have new and different mindsets interacting throughout the day.
  • TrueNorth drew vital information from the group and allowed us to decipher it and find ways to fix the issues...TrueNorth created the environment for our management team to discuss issues openly.
  • Daron -- You are a great speaker. The class success definitely depended on your skills. Your experience with the building industry allows you to closely relate with us all, and your excitement to assist in development of individuals makes you a very "attractive" personality to hold the podium.
  • The pinch/crunch model holds very true and I have just discussed that with my employees today. Also, your suggestion on the E-myth was a great value to me. It reinforced a lot of things that I am trying to do with my company, and for myself as a manager/president and not as a worker. If you have any other suggestions along that line I would love to hear about them.
  • I think that you did a great job of presenting the information in a written and verbal way. I was impressed with the customized builder's binder rather than a generic binder, and I liked the way that you kept the flow in the class. Not once did I see any daydreaming or lack of motivation from the participants.
  • I wanted to thank you again for the great training session. I can't remember your exact words, but I believe you need to live every minute to the fullest, so that's what I've been doing ever since I left.

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