5 Construction Takeaways from Archery

Construction Business lessons from Archery

5 Takeaways from Archery for your construction business

My first venture into the world of archery took place while I was still in high school. As I recall, our PE teachers chose a variety of sports and activities to keep those of us who were in our senior year interested. I chose the archery segment thinking it would be a lark, never once thinking it would be something I would be interested in after the 6-week venture. Yet it was.

What follows is a light-hearted look at what joining an archery club can do to inform your management skills in your commercial construction contracting business.

Construction Business Lesson One

As a sport, archery requires skills of:

  • precision
  • control
  • focus
  • repetition
  • determination

As a business, construction contracting requires . . . well, you know, the same set of skills.

On one level, when you send a crew to a jobsite, they must understand the basics of measuring precisely, controlling their actions, focusing on the task at hand, repeating their set of skills over and over, and having the determination to get the job done.

On another level, you as the business owner also have to bring it. The precision you bring to your managerial and leadership role sets the pace. Controlling the long-term plans as well as the day to day activities of your team is important. You must maintain your focus concerning where you are and where you plan to be in the long run. Building good business habits and practices require repetition on your part. And, you bring determination to the table with each new project and each new day.

Construction Business Lesson Two

When a person joins an archery club the oft stated club goal is “to help participants reach their individual goals while fostering a supportive team environment with a focus on safety, personal growth, and positive attitude.”

In order to present a winning team within your commercial construction business you do well to follow the same principles. It is as if you can make a checklist of the items in the archery club goals.

  • Encourage employees to reach their individual goals
  • Foster a supportive team environment
  • Focus on safety
  • Aid your team in their personal growth
  • Maintain a positive attitude

Construction Business Lesson Three

My next step to the shooting line came while in college. Archery was offered. I was interested. I took the class. It was there I learned of a few ways to protect my ever-wayward left arm from maintaining a permanent inner elbow bruise. The first step had to do perfecting my stance thus keeping my elbow out of the way of the released string. The second (back-up) step was to purchase an armguard which was not only larger but also sturdier than the flimsy guards we’d been offered in high school.

Maintain the proper equipment.

A bow and some arrows – what more could any archer need? Right? If you are an archer or have at least dabbled you know there is much more to it. The right type of bow, (recurve or compound) the correct set of arrows, (determined by draw weight and length) and the sight are just the beginning. Then, it is time to consider the armguard, quiver, and some type of release aid like a finger tab or a mechanical release. Plus, all this stuff has to be stored properly and repaired as needed.

Storing, repairing, and replacing the equipment your team needs requires diligence. Creating systems for everything from vehicle loading to maintenance schedules makes it easier to protect your valuable equipment.

Construction Business Lesson Four

After leaving college I still had a hankering to pick up the bow and arrow, see the target and release. Joining an archery club seemed like just the place to be. Besides the opportunity to hone and improve my skills, there was the competition, as well as the camaraderie.

Archery is not gender, age, or size limited. People who may not consider themselves “athletes” have the opportunity to participate.  Some even have a chance to go to the Olympics.

Building a great team in the construction field takes time. Yet, when done well . . . the rewards (gold medals not withstanding) are worth it. Consider:

  • Encourage those who may not have thought of construction as a career choice.
  • Make friendly competition part of the “game.” For example, gamify getting legible timesheets or POs turned in on time.
  • Reward safe delivery of the on time, under budget projects. Something as simple as an after-project dinner may be all that is needed.
  • Encourage and praise individuals as well as the team – often.
  • Offer classes and training, emphasizing the potential for personal as well as professional growth.

Construction Business Lesson Five

In each of my “archery phases” I had teachers as well as mentors who applauded my successes and gave me instructions concerning the areas where I could improve.

Here is a list of my personal take-aways which also work in the commercial contracting field.

  • Set the parameters of what is allowed and what is not
  • Teach safety at every juncture
  • Build ways to improve technical skills
  • Express and reinforce proper strategies (in the field and in the office)
  • Look for patterns which can be improved
  • Be consistent
  • By example teach your employees to flex their patience muscle

There you have it. Next time you see a target, think of all the examples archery gives to inform your management skills in the construction contracting field.

 

It is our desire this article (among our growing library of construction-centric informational articles) is helpful in assisting commercial construction contractors build better building businesses. 

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The Nuts and Bolts of Organizing Your Truck, Van, or Supply Trailer

 

Construction Contractor, have you found your tools are always yelling at you because the wife and kids take up way too much room?

Well, here are some ways you can get them to calm down – the tools, not the wife and kids.

Standardize the Process

It doesn’t matter if you have a single pickup or a fleet of vehicles ranging from box trucks to vans to tool trailers, having organized tool and supply transportation is the key to hitting the jobsite ready to roll. Plus, consider this — your vehicles are visible and often the primary point of customer contact for your company.

The simple yet effective tool when deciding how to organize your vehicle space is to Standardize the Process. You’ve heard it before – a place for everything and everything in its place. Yet, this goes beyond just knowing what is in your own truck. When you begin standardizing the process you’ve begun preparing for scaling into a large fleet.

Pay attention to the details

You’ve probably already encountered these objectives for stowing all the necessary items to be hauled to each jobsite:

  • Store larger items on the floor or lower compartments.
  • Create vertical shelving and storage spaces (including doors when possible) using all available territory.
  • In trailers and box trucks include overhead storage cubbies, rods, or rails.

Here are other procedures to consider:

  • Use smaller containers for each work phase or tool type instead of one large universal box. The bigger the box the deeper whatever tool you need will be buried.
  • Set up storage zones based on types of tasks to be completed.
  • Include a field service kit which goes to the jobsite with the equipment. It should contain the parts and tools necessary to repair items most likely to fail in the field (for example, the rope pull on a gas saw.) The bonus point is, this eliminates most field emergencies that would require a trip to the shop for minor repairs.
  • Consider choosing a battery-operated lantern with a handle which will allow you to hang it while searching in the dark recesses of your trailer, van, or box truck.

 Digging deeper

Whether digital or paper based these are documents which you’ll want to consider having always available in your vehicles:

  • Daily load sheets for each vehicle
  • Project Startup Check List
  • Job Close Out List
  • Business cards
  • Client Satisfaction Survey
  • Informational Brochures

A serious focus on efficiency leads to better professionalism

Do you ever get to the job site and find you’re hit with a bunch of surprises?

  • Oops, that is going to take more __________ than I thought it would.
  • What do you mean there is no power source?
  • Dagnab it, I’m going to have to clean up this _________­­­ before I can use it.
  • Interesting, they moved all the ___________ since I was here yesterday.
  • I’m not getting even one bar on my phone.
  • Umm, I didn’t know ___________ was going to be here today too.
  • The weather man said it was going to be sunny today – what happened?

You know it is part and parcel with the construction contracting industry, there are going to be things which come up and you have little to no control over them. Think about this, every other contractor on your site or the one down the street is facing the same kind of issues. You can be way ahead of the game by having every single unit in your fleet stocked, organized, and prepared for the day’s adventure.

And, when you’re faced with the last item on the above list, (why is it raining today?) put the time to good use by reorganizing the contents of your work vehicle.

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This is another article in the series concerning organizing your construction contracting office, shop, vehicle, and day. Want to see more? Go right here.