Destroying and creating: Both start with a vision, but one is great theater; the other only a step to being great


Over the last 10 years since I first moved to Cleveland, I have met some great people. One such person is Vic DiGeronimo. His family is one of the nicest, most genuine and caring families I have ever met. On top of that, the DiGeronimos have built a tremendous business and have figured out how to effectively run a family business unlike any other I have ever seen.


Independence Excavating, DiGeronimo’s company, is not only one of the premier demolition companies in the area, it is probably the best in America.

Independence has torn down some buildings for us, and I’m always awestruck as I watch the equipment flatten, destroy and wipe out structures in what seems like minutes. It’s almost mesmerizing. The speed in which workers knock the building down and make it so that it never existed is great theater; there is no question about that.

Building is carefully laborious

Since starting my business in Cleveland, I have built 15 dealership buildings, most from scratch and some via major renovations. Watching the buildings go up is like watching paint dry. Unless you have a time lapse camera, you really don’t see any meaningful progress from day to day. A new wall here, an office there, and slowly the vision of what the building will look like takes shape.

Watching buildings go down and seeing them constructed, I’ve been struck by the similarities between that process and creating a company culture. Both start with a vision. You don’t lay the foundation without an architect’s extraordinarily detailed drawings.

These blueprints lay out the completed project with every facet of the building thought out, debated and agreed upon. Construction cannot start until everyone agrees what the building will look like.

Culture has to be planned

Likewise, you must know the company culture you desire and the steps necessary to get there. Without that goal in mind, you’ll end up with a mess on your hands, much like a poorly designed building. Great architecture and great companies don’t happen by accident; they happen as a result of tremendous effort, planning and tenacity.

Everyone on the project must follow the blueprints. Failure to do so will create the wrong result, cause enormous amounts of effort for others and could cause you to end up with a structure that is unstable. Likewise, in business, you need leaders and team members who believe in your vision and your culture. Failure in that regard has the same result: an unbalanced and ineffective organization.

On the other hand, knocking down or destroying a company’s culture happens quickly, just like the demolition. It doesn’t take much effort and requires much less planning. A wrong leader, a wrong team member or a wrong shift in attitude all come barreling down an organization much like those cranes the DiGeronimos use. Worse yet, the damage takes a long time to repair.



Bernie Moreno purchased his first auto dealership in 2005 and now has 25 dealerships in the Bernie Moreno Companies. (440) 716-2700