Alex Quade: You and I have talked about this “Unconventional mindset” over the years — that you have tried to surround yourself with people who think unconventionally — the translation of doing what it takes, to get the job done. Complete the mission, get it done.
Richard Simonian: Right.
Alex Quade: Because you talked a little bit about that “Unconventional thinking,” while you were standing up there at the podium. How important is that, in business success — as well as the importance of mentoring others?
Richard Simonian: The first job I got offered when I was working in the small business with Floyd Todd as a building designer, and I was selling those plans to builders. One day, the builder showed up and offered me a job. Well, I’d never had a job before. So, I took that job and I went to work for them. And in 6-months, I was able to learn all the talking skills — the lingo of the construction business — until the day that he found out that I didn’t know what I was talking about, and fired me. But I took the skills that I learned from there, and I was able to get a very, very, very good job in the same industry at the highest caliber.
Now that is what you call Unconventional Warfare — when you take something that you don’t know anything about, and then you make it into something that conquers the entire situation. That’s part of the unconventional part of what I did, from that point on. And, and there are more, more to that, unconventionally — hiring people that didn’t know their skills, and I was able to teach them those skills, in order to replicate myself. When I had people coming to work who couldn’t understand that, all they could think about was going forward and they didn’t know what was going on behind them. That was part of those skills that I’m talking about. And I use that, from that day forward, clear up until today, where I still use it today.
Alex Quade: Terrific, because you’ve also mentored a lot of people…
Richard Simonian: I tried to do that. And sometimes I’m not able to make them understand what Unconventional Warfare is. And I have to let them go. It’s only those people that know how to do those kinds of things, that can be successful in the business world. Especially in the world where you’re having to buy land, you’re having to get the cities and counties to go along with you. All those things that have to be done by various agencies. So, all those things count — and I get people to understand that. And once they understand it, they know what to do, and if they have questions, they always can come to me. I’ve had people that work for me that were Airborne-trained — and were not able to conquer the concept of unconventional thinking.