Spark the Vision – Part 2

creating and passing on a vision for your commercial construction company.

What follows is the second in a two-part series concerning creating and passing on a vision for your commercial construction company. The first part is here. 

“If you wish to build a ship, do not divide the men into teams and send them to the forest to cut wood. Instead, teach them to long for the vast and endless sea.”

Although there is some controversy concerning the author of this statement the intent is worth noting.

Vision transfer, an important leadership tool

Among your leadership tools, you must include vision transfer. That is, you must be able to get your team to see a vision worth hard work, sacrifice, and endurance.

I know. That seems like a pretty lofty goal in this day and age. It is hard enough to get some people to put on the boots and show up five days in a row. I get it. Taking time to build and pass on a vision will take (yeah) hard work, sacrifice, and endurance on your part. And it will be worth it.

Making your vision real for your team takes:

  • Planning and effort
  • Nailing the vision in your head
  • Passing it on

Plus, it takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight.

Passing on the vision

Last time, [link] the discussion centered on ways to build a vision for your construction contracting business. This time, the goal is to find ways to pass on your vision to your team. Also, last time, there was a sampling of power words you might find useful in developing your vision.

I saved one power word for this post. It is “Imagine.”

And it is indeed powerful. When you can say to your team, “Imagine . . .” and the members of your team can begin to take part in the imagining process, you’re well on your way to winning the game.

Getting your team on board for seeing your vision is tantamount to and foremost in importance for getting your ship out on the seas of the building world. The first two components, the ones on which all the other components stand, or fall are, walk the walk and talk the talk.

Walk the Walk and Talk the Talk

Behave the way you want your team to behave.

Tell your team how you want them to behave. And share what actions you’ve taken to live up to the vision.

Sit on it

Before your vision can stand up, you and your team must sit down. One of the best ways yet found to get buy-in from any person, team, or organization is to let them “own” it.

You may have seen it at work in your own home. Have you noticed that when a child is allowed to help with the preparation of a meal, he or she is much more likely to enjoy eating that meal?

When you bring the team together to “cook” the vision for your company, you have upped the odds for buy-in.

Who sits at the table?

The short answer is everybody.

If you have only a handful of employees, they can gather around the same table. But, if you have more than ten, you need to find several tables for gathering.

You’ve probably seen this principle in action. You meet for a holiday meal with a large family or attend a banquet with rows of tables, and typically conversations take place within clusters of small groups.

Part of your vision building strategy is to create the clusters with purpose. While circumstances can vary, usually, the optimum size of the small group should be between five and ten. Too few and the conversation can stutter. Too many and some will feel their contribution is less worthy.

Small group tactics

The strategy you’re using to get buy-in from your employees is gathering them in small groups to create conversations that will inform and shape your company’s vision.

The tactic you use when you have less than ten employees is to gather all and hash it out.

If you have more than ten employees, the tactics can vary. Here are a few possibilities:

  • Meet in small groups each week until all employees have gotten the message
  • Gather in one large group then break into smaller groups
  • Have the first meeting with your core leaders one week, telling them what you want to achieve and showing them how you want it done. The next week each of them meets with a small group. When necessary, repeat the weekly small group meetings until everyone has gotten the message.

Base your meetings on these key aspects:

  • Teamwork
  • Passion
  • Respect
  • Communication
  • Delivery
  • Fun

Finally, this article, 5 Rules For Making Your Vision Stick, has powerful information concerning how to get employees deeply involved in the vision for their company.

Bottom line

Employee engagement provides team motivation. The motivation that goes above and beyond written tasks and responsibilities.

Imagine . . . when your team sees a vision worth hard work, sacrifice, and endurance.

 

We desire to familiarize you with business concepts, which will make it easier for you to be a better commercial construction business owner through our blog posts. Some are new ways of looking at things, and others are refreshers. 

Schulte and Schulte Provides Accounting, Contract Document Management, and Advisory Board Level counsel for small to medium commercial construction subcontractors.

So you can Run With the Big Dogs! Call us 866-629-7735

ClockShark for Commercial Construction Contractors

ClockShark is designed to make it easier for you to manage your commercial construction company

ClockShark for Commercial Construction Contractors

ClockShark delivers

This is an app designed for small to medium construction and field service companies. It is for the commercial construction contractor who needs to get rid of paper time sheets.

Let’s put it this way:

GPS + Time Tracking + Powerful + Easy to use = This is worth looking at!

Tracking down missing or late time sheets is a hassle you really shouldn’t be dealing with. And, let’s face it, even when (if) you find them are they complete? Can you even read them? Are they legible? Oh yeah, how about this – how do you verify what’s been written?

You can make much better use of your valuable time than chasing down crews or individuals to get their timecards. And, you get more accurate reporting by putting this app to use.

ClockShark is robust

ClarkShark is a tool that:

  • Tracks the field location of employees

 

  • Displays the current availability of resources

 

  • Generates monthly time sheets

 

  • Assists in planning workflows as well as job scheduling

 

  • Schedules project activities

 

  • Has an interactive drag & drop scheduler

 

  • Incorporates a real-time activity dashboard

 

  • Offers ad-hoc reporting capabilities

 

  • Allows you to build and export custom reports

 

  • Helps you deal with compliance and auditing

 

  • Integrates with QuickBooks, both Online and Desktop

Perhaps the best way to put it is that ClockShark’s easy GPS feature allows you to track time, location, and job costs. Bam!

ClockShark is bilingual (sorta)

Well, they don’t speak Spanish. Yet, they do have something to offer in the bilingual line that truly is useful. You can access their app guide in English or in Spanish. This one little extra makes it as easy as possible to get your crew members to know how to use the app. And, knowing how . . . that may be the only thing that is missing for some members of your team.

BTW – These guides cover how to:

  • log into the app
  • clock in and out
  • switch between jobs and tasks
  • start and stops breaks
  • see schedules
  • view time sheets
  • access CrewClock™
  • use KioskClock™

Plus, the guide covers Frequently Asked Questions

 

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

Want to know more about us or about how we can assist you with ClockShark? Get in touch here.  http://www.schulteandschulte.com/contact/ Or call Toll Free: 866-629-7735

Before You Give the Paper To-Do List a Pink Slip Consider This

Yes, you know high on our priority list at Schulte and Schulte is helping our construction contractor clients ditch the paper. Yet, here I am saying, “No! Get some paper and a pen. We’ve got work to do.”

Sometimes scaling your contracting firm is aided by something as simple as a pen and a piece of paper. The truth is, there are a number of reasons for putting pen to paper when it comes to the short list of action items you need to be reminded of each day. I’ll mention the four I find the most important.

It helps you remember

One of the reasons for hand writing a to-do list is you remember better that which you write. It seems the very physical act of moving ink (or carbon) across a piece of paper helps your brain with its multitude of memory tasks. One example is a grocery list. Write it down, and even if you forget to take the list to the store, you’ll have a better chance of remembering what was on it. Try that with the list you made on your “forgotten” phone and you won’t have the same outcome. This article from Dustin Wax at Lifehack explains more about the science behind why we remember what we write.

It allows you to “see” the progress

You can see progress with a to do list and that feels good. Seems many people (I’ll admit, I’m one of them) feel so good about checking things off the list they even jot in an unplanned task which they’ve just completed so they can check it off.

It gives you a sense of relief

There is that “whew” moment, a sense of relief when being able to cross certain items off the list. Perhaps the action item was one you’ve been needing to accomplish for quite some time or one which you dreaded doing. Either way, checking it off your list can aid you in that welcome sigh of relief. It is as if that little X or mark-through is the period at the end of a sentence. Or better yet the exclamation mark. Done!

It is a benevolent task master

This is probably the most important reason I find for having a well written to-do list.

You’re able to focus your energy.

You don’t enter your office, shop, or job-site wondering what should be done today. You have a list.

It enables you to remain strategic.

You aren’t (as) tempted to do things which are more time fillers than actual work moving towards specific important goals.

It allows you to be proactive rather than reactive.

Because you’ve allowed your calendar to inform your to-do list you know what next action step to take. (More on this a little further down.)

It is an important tool for returning to the tracks if you’ve been derailed.

Perhaps I should have said when you’re derailed. When you’re interrupted, you don’t need to stop to rethink which task you were working on, you simply look at the list.

It reminds you to have fun.

Even though you probably won’t put silly things on your list every day, you may find it a nice break to occasionally add something that is simply goofy to your to-do list.

  • Give someone in your office a copy of War and Peace, then ask them to proofread it.
  • Prank the boss or someone away on vacation (balloons, toilet paper, or aluminum foil comes to mind)
  • Walk sideways to the photo copier – every time you go there all day long
  • Skip rather than walk
  • Put a sign on your photocopier that says “New Copier – Voice activated – please speak your command” Watch the fun.
  • Carry your keyboard over to someone else in the office and ask, “do you want to trade?”

Now that you know why a paper to-do list is helpful, let’s move to how to formulate a truly workable to-do list.

What a cave man teaches about using a hand-written to-do list

I recently read an article in which several “up and coming” young entrepreneurs were asked to give their best “secrets” concerning the use of a to-do list. Some of the answers were useful, some not so much. Of the dozen respondents, there was only one who espoused the need to move from paper to a digital system. And it was that one which made me smile because of the mental image I had after reading her response.

I was listening to what she had to say until this sentence popped up, “Don’t limit yourself to the Stone Age when it comes to something as important as your productivity.”

Yeah, the Stone Age. So, of course I started thinking about this fellow grabbing out his chisel and tapping away on the wall of his cave to produce his to-do list for the day.

  • Find long-haired woman and drag her to cave
  • Throw spear into large mammal
  • Learn how to make fire
  • Berries
  • Dog

This was a pretty smart caveman-type-person. Let’s call him “Grug.”  Grug knows the value of a to-do list, and he is on the right track. But, he can improve his to-do list skills. Here is a quick critique of his entries.

Find long-haired woman and drag her to cave.

Grug, made the mistake many make with this item. Finding said woman and dragging her around is more likely a project. A project that may indeed have many steps, each of which can be separated out and added to Grug’s to-do list as needed on any given date.

If Grug had let his calendar inform him concerning on which date this project needs to be completed, he may have made a to-do list entry more like, “locate nearby village with long-haired women.” Future action steps on future to-do lists might include, “scope out perfect woman,” then “note when woman goes to water source,” and so on and so on. Grug’s to-do list should be the place he breaks down his long-term goals into actionable steps.

Throw spear into large mammal.

If this is a step in Grug’s short-term project of Feed the Fam, then he did a great job of adding to his list. This is likely an actionable step he can take today because he has completed the step of finding the beast already.

Plus, Grug remembered to start his entry with a verb. It helps Grug know immediately what needs to be done. He need not look at his list with perhaps the single word “mammal” and wonder, “What is this all about?” instead, he knows, “This is my next task and this is how I should do it.”

Learn how to make fire.

Good call, Grug. We’re with you on this one.

Berries and Dog

Oh no, Grug has forgotten his verbs. Chances are he might not have a clue why he wrote those entries. Pick berries? Dispose of rotting berries? Pet dog? Find dog? Feed dog?

One more thing – Grug should have used a tablet *giggle* to write his list. Cave walls don’t transport easily.

There are three main principles we learn from our dear friend Grug:

  1. Use your calendar to inform your to-do list, breaking down your projects or plans into actionable steps.
  2. Use a verb at the beginning of each item on your to-do list so you know right away what to do when you look at your to-do list.
  3. Keep your to-do list manageable and portable.

On that last note, a small notebook or a 3X5 card work well. If you want to have a running reminder of what you’ve already completed the notebook is a good choice. If you’re happy to have completed the list and will let the project speak for itself then tossable 3X5s might be your paper of choice.

What if Grug adds items to his to-do list that include dealing with his co-cavemen?

Grug should keep his to-do list for his own actions, but he can very well indicate on his list that he is delegating certain tasks to others. He should also include any pertinent data right on his list. For example, he should include contact information or at the very least where to find the information. And, if he plans to get in touch with Galg he should include what he is getting in touch with Galg about. He might say something like, “Call Galg about footwear idea.”

Getting back to the 21st century

If you have more to do than your memory can hold, figure out a better way to keep track of everything than just keeping it in your head. Building your modern construction contracting business depends on taking smart actions at smart times. Get in the habit of creating smart to-do lists and you’ll wonder what you ever did without them.

This is another in a series of articles all about organizing your construction contracting business. You can go here to find more.