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How adaptability leads to success

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in HR Management,Human Resources

Sir Walter Lindal grew up in hardscrabble poverty in Saskatchewan, Canada, during the Depression.

Sent to an orphanage at age five, Lindal often went hungry until he started raising chickens, selling eggs and making small loans as a child. Eventually, he founded Lindal Cedar Homes, the world’s largest manufacturer of prefabricated cedar houses.

Lindal was always thinking of ways to make money, and he always adapted to suit the situation at hand.

  • During World War II, Lindal hated the Canadian army’s standard-issue machine gun that weighed 16 pounds, so he designed a nine-pounder that fired 41 rounds instead of 11 … and was promoted to captain.

  • He noticed how the Army built encampments using prefabrication. It gave him the idea for pre-cut wood homes.

  • His first basic cedar home cost $195, but customers wanted bigger and bigger country estates, so he kept adapting, designing them as large as 15,000 square feet.

  • At one point, his top salesman wanted to become an independent dealer. Lindal thought “Why not?” and adapted again. Now he’s got 180 dealers worldwide.
—Adapted from “Built to Last: How I Did It,” Sir Walter Lindal with Chris Lydgate, Inc.

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