Tom  McNall

Floor Restoration Consultant

It’s all in the details: The “Jedi” polishing a granite wall while Moses examines the details that make for a perfect job and a happy client. While Moses is responsible for the finished product, it takes an experienced, fast-working “Bull” on the team to produce timely results. Together, it’s a combination that makes a job profitable.A long time ago, I used to be chief cook and bottle washer around Great Northern Stone. As time has gone by, I’ve had to relinquish some tasks to others to advance the company. Now some can do individual tasks better than I, and some not so much.

However, if I tried to do it all myself, we couldn’t do a great deal. The secret is in knowing your needs, and the strengths and weaknesses of those you lead.

I now focus on my “A-Team”, or if you pardon the pun, what we affectionately refer to as the “Eh-Team” (…we’re Canadian, eh?). You see, on my number one crew  – the one that handles all the high profile customers – I have a Bull and a Detail Guy.

Now, my Bull is nicknamed The Jedi, because he has learned his skills well. There are few things that he cannot do with stone yet, and only because he hasn’t had the opportunity. But with the Jedi’s track record, he will master them soon.

Why do I call him a Bull, though? Because he has the skill and he also knows how to produce. He takes his tasks and pushes his crew to work faster while keeping up the standards. Sometimes, I need to slow him down because he is so motivated!  

Of course, not to discourage him, but to allow others to catch up to him or to prevent a work stoppage because the customer is not ready for us to move on to the next area or project yet. And yet, when I need him to speed up to finish a job on time, he always finds a way. 

Now it comes time to be a little humble. There are certain aspects of grinding, polishing and restoring stone where The Jedi has become better than the Master. And I am good with that. I need others to become skilled so that we can grow.  After all, restoring stone is a trade where you can’t just troll the local Home Depot to pick up day laborers to complete a job. You need someone with a discerning eye and hand who will embrace the semantics of natural stone and the tools employed to reveal its beauty.  

Whether he does this to make me feel needed or not on purpose, but sometimes, he lets me show him a trick or two which will speed up his current task or provide better results. Either way, I’m grateful he has taken the lead like a Bull.

And now we focus on the beauty to the above beast… The Yin to the other’s Yang. My Detail Guy. We call the Eh-Team’s detail guy Moses because… well, quite frankly, that’s his last name. Now, let me explain some background on Moses.  

I met him through a business partner who had him cleaning grocery stores. I heard complaints that he did good work, but took too long. My having grown up in that industry, I knew that profit margins did not favor detail guys, but rather Bulls in cleaning. However, in the stone restoration trade, detail guys are worth their weight in gold. Not in leading the crew, however, because they have a tendency to focus on minute details that the customer will never see or notice, instead of the whole, but rather, in the presentation of a job well done!

Moses is responsible for the finished product. He has an eye for detail and the patience to do it right. I rarely, if ever have to double check his work! And I have to say with 100% conviction that he does a better job than I could ever do (or did do) on the little things. And in many ways, that attention to detail is what ensures our invoices get paid!

In my experience, Bulls have a hard time being Detail Guys. Detail Guys have a hard time being Bulls. Moses has expressed interest in becoming a Bull. So, stay tuned to see if I can create the Ultimate Stone Restorer Beautiful Beast or not, because if he is willing, I will help him reach that goal. But I told him flat-out, “You need to train your replacement to do as good a job as you do or better, for you to advance,” because after all, that’s how I did it. ;) 

Until next month, keep your stick on the ice!

Tom McNall is founder and owner of Great Northern Stone, an Ontario-based stone cleaning and restoration company servicing Ontario and Chicago, IL. Tom also offers corporate and private consultations as well as speaking at conventions. He can be reached at