Slow Down, You Crazy Child

How to Manage Your Workplace Style in Construction Management

In 1977, Billy Joel released his fifth album called “The Stranger”. On that album was a song called “Vienna” that, at the time, was not a hit. Then, surprisingly, over time, the song became what Billy Joel fans consider one of his best songs ever. The story behind the song and Billy Joel’s reunion with his father can be found here.

Born in 1949 and married to his first wife, Elizabeth Weber Small, at age 24, four years before the album’s release, Billy Joel discovered the vast difference between life in Vienna and life in the United States when he went there to reunite with his father, who was residing in Vienna with his new family.

Lyrics in the song say:

Slow down, you crazy child
And take the phone off the hook and disappear for a while
It’s all right; you can afford to lose a day or two, ooh

Despite the song “Vienna” not being a hit at the time, the album “The Stranger” became Columbia Records’ best-selling release, and the album following it did even better, becoming the Piano Man’s (as Billy Joel is known) first No. 1 album on the charts. In 1980 and 1982, he released two more highly successful albums, and he and his wife of nine years divorced. He is the only one who knows if he took heed of his own advice from the song. What we do know is that his first wife, Elizabeth, has remained out of the spotlight since that time, and, most likely, his first love was his music because if we do the math, writing, recording, and performing on multiple albums over the course of a short five years would leave little time for building a marital relationship.

Your Style Shapes Your Workplace Experience

One of the assessment tools we use to help individuals in the workplace is the Everything DiSC® Workplace Profile. Discovering your own style helps you recognize your priorities, motivators, and stress triggers that often shape your workplace experience. One of the eight priority scales an individual might have as a primary is Action.

The above bar chart is on a scale of 1–5, with five being the most prominent. This example shows this individual having four priority scales in the workplace, including Results, Action, Enthusiasm, and Collaboration. The order of this individual’s priorities is:

When individuals have Action as their top priority, even when Results is their number two priority and Accuracy is in there also, without recognition that moving too fast will most likely not get the right result and steamroll others along the way even if, like this individual, you have an extra priority of collaboration.

The Benefits of Using the Everything DiSC® Workplace Profile in Construction Management

The Everything DiSC® Workplace profile gives individuals an overview of their workplace style that, when better understood and managed, can help the individual receive the right results in the workplace when it comes to working with others.

This individual, Robert, was given the opportunity to act on three key strategies to help him succeed in the workplace. One of those was:

Get Buy-In Before Moving Ahead

Because you usually have a clear vision of how you want things to be, you may charge ahead with your plans, even if there is only tepid support from your peers or partners. While you tend to have confidence in your ideas, if you fail to ensure others are on board, people will feel alienated and resentful.

  • Give people time to put their thoughts together rather than assuming that silence means agreement.
  • Remember that many people will not share their concerns if you seem too forceful and determined.

How to Deal with High-Action Individuals in Construction Management

High action, compared to balanced action, brings people together to gain buy-in while moving forward to finish the project at hand on schedule. Add a balance of enthusiasm, collaboration, support, stability, accuracy, challenge, and results to the mix, and you’ll get the right result across the board. I know that although my action is high, when I collaborate with others, their action is their top priority, and if they move at the speed of light without the proper time to evaluate what they are asking for, I may not be able to offer them the best solution, just a quick solution.

Three Tools To Assist in Finding Your Vienna


A chorus in the song “Vienna” goes on to say:

But you know that when the truth is told
That you can get what you want, or you can just get old

You’re gonna kick off before you even get halfway through, ooh
When will you realize Vienna waits for you?

I think “Vienna” became popular with time as Billy Joel and his fans, as they aged, realized that by dialing back their action enough to engage with people, celebrate their achievements, and stop and smell the roses once in a while, their quality of life is much better.

If you would like to learn more about your workplace style and how you might balance your action to get the right results, visit to learn more.

To Finding Your Vienna,

Suzanne Breistol




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