A Culture of Learning

Continuous education is at the heart of everything we do here at Shinn Consulting. It’s our passion and our purpose. We share our passion for learning through our training programs and consulting services while also taking advantage of learning opportunities ourselves.

As someone who is new to the housing industry, expanding my knowledge of home building is a top priority. After completing many of the courses in our new technical training lineup where I learned everything from jobsite safety to water management, I wanted to further my knowledge with an in-person visit to a home building company. Joe Loidolt from Classic Homes in Colorado Springs graciously agreed to host me for a two-day visit last month.

The Student Becomes the Master

My tour guide at Classic Homes was construction manager, Jim McCrary. Jim attended our superintendent seminar many years ago. After spending two days with him and watching him interact with his builders and trades, it was clear that his approach embodies what Chuck Shinn and his team have been preaching and teaching for decades.

Jim has taken what he learned in that superintendent training so long ago and made it his own. For more than 20 years, he has been training his builders “the Classic Homes way” and reinforcing a standard of excellence based on leadership and discipline. Jim has mastered the art of effective management and built a high level of trust with his builders and trades.

Building Homes and People

In addition to being in the business of building homes, Jim is in the business of building people. His focus is on people and relationships. He takes the time to truly know his builders in order to showcase their strengths and help them work on their weaknesses. Taking advantage of teachable moments with finesse is his specialty. I’ve never seen anyone be so successful at answering questions with questions.

Jim’s ability to lead people is impressive. He teaches his builders “Builder of Choice” qualities and how to build solid relationships with the trades because he understands the role respect and rapport play in delivering a quality product. He holds his builders accountable and ensures they understand the responsibility they carry within the organization.

A Culture of Trust

Classic Homes does a fantastic job of communicating their core values. It’s the first thing I noticed when I toured their home office. Word art showcasing the terms that represent their core values is posted throughout the building. It includes words like trust, discipline, respect, character, accountability, and teamwork. I had the opportunity to witness the employees of Classic Homes demonstrating these core values during my visit.

It was obvious to me that Jim spreads the core values and culture from the home office to the field. The relationship between the builders and the sales team is a prime example of teamwork in action. Builders have office space in the sales office, and the sales team expressed how much they consider the builders a valuable resource and appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with them.

The team at Classic Homes is clearly doing something right. They have been winning awards for their excellence for more than 30 years. They won gold in four prestigious categories in The Colorado Springs Gazette’s 2023 Best of the Springs Awards: Best Home Builder, Best Home Developer, Best New Home Community, and Best Production Home Builder. The longevity of their employees and trades—many of whom have been with them for more than 20 years—is a testament to their culture of trust and focus on people.

Gratitude and Appreciation

My visit to Classic Homes exceeded all of my expectations. On the surface, it was an opportunity to expand my knowledge of the home building process. In reality, it was a masterclass in management excellence.

I wish to thank everyone at Classic Homes for being so generous with their time and their stories. I especially wish to thank Jim McCrary for being a gracious host and making my visit a valuable learning opportunity. It’s an experience I will never forget.