Part III: Resolve

This third part of the series chronicling the Fidelity Homes “From The Ground Up” project at its ten-year mid-point anniversary delves into the closing of Fidelity. Not from a mechanical standpoint, but from the standpoint of dealing with the death of a vision.

Visions are always personal. The early installments of “From The Ground Up” in Professional Builder highlight the large expectations that David Hunihan and Todd Menke had for their start-up homebuilding company. We remind our clients that the goal of each of their enterprises is to make money, and that everything else is a necessary condition to fulfilling that goal. However, a goal is not the same as purpose.

In the case of Fidelity, clearly, there were financial expectations, but that is not the sense that a reader gets about what most motivated these two, young building company executives to start their own company; David and Todd had proven track records, secure futures, and successful day-jobs with a well-known, highly-regarded Florida Gulf Coast homebuilder.

Fidelity was about desire.

In the beginning, the story is much more about the desire to pursue a set of values, about being able to personally authorize the effort to realize the dream those values represent, and about being responsible for the outcome. In the end, the story became one of summoning resolve in the face of disappointment, when the exhaustive, all-consuming effort to fulfill a dream did not work out the way David and Todd planned.

Resolve coincides with optimism, until optimism ends. At that point, resolve has to find its own way. In the end, summoning resolve doesn’t prevent or remove disappointment, but it does provide satisfaction.

Whence cometh resolve?

Part of it is courage. Part of it is sheer determination – sometimes, it is resolve alone that keeps us from quitting, when quitting would be the easier, perhaps more rational, course. Part of it is integrity, a reflection of what we think is right and honorable, a decision to act in-line with what we promised to do.

Regardless of where it comes from, it is resolve that gives us the strength to do the right thing, to use our best efforts. Resolve is what enables us to live up to responsibilities and meet obligations, regardless of the cost. Resolve is what it takes to make decisions that are not in our personal best interest. Resolve is what gets us to the finish.

It carries a price: “It is still difficult”, David said. “We closed Fidelity’s doors for good in November of 2008, but [three years later] I am still battling to put it to rest. There are still issues – with banks, attorneys, accountants, condo associations – that I am doing my best to settle.”

But, there is peace, there is closure: “I had [surprising] peace once we made the decision”, he continued. “As it got harder and harder to survive, it was actually a relief to finally close the doors and move on. I really had closure, however, when we leased our office and I had to clean everything out and split it between the dumpster and storage, just me and my dad.”

That last part is a worthwhile picture, an enduring one, really. Regardless of what generates it – courage, faith, determination, honor, integrity, loyalty, service – resolve is an acquired trait. It is demonstrated to us, developed in us; and it is subsequently passed on by us.

Next: Lessons Learned