Spark the Vision in Your Construction Business

Vision in your construction contracting company

Your vision matters

Vision in your construction business is different from goals or objectives.

“You’ve got to give yourself the freedom to dream – to use your imagination to see and feel what does not yet exist. A vision is not the same as goals or objectives; those come from the head. A vision comes from the heart.” – John Graham

This is the first of a two-part series. In the first part, the discussion will center on ways to develop a worthwhile vision. For the second part, we’ll move on to the how-to of passing on the vision to others.

It must be visionary

Your vision must be lofty while remaining deliberate, informative, and well, you know, visionary. When you make it motivating and inspiring, it becomes the means for leading the charge and getting your team to rush onto the field. It’s something neither you, nor they want to give up on, even when times are hard.

Build a worthwhile vision

Before going further, I need to make it clear, I’m not talking about a “vision statement,” but a vision. It’s a vision that can become full-force and embedded in the very culture of your construction company.

One that will (likely) find its place in a vision statement.

But it’s more than that. It is a vision that goes to the heart of what you do, how you do it, and why you do it.

If your initial vision was (or is) “get the jobs, get ‘em done, get paid,” that’s a start. Because those are perfectly good steps for any business, be it in construction or any other industry. And, without first attaining the work and completing it, there is no income, which means there is no business in need of a vision.

Determining your vision

You may already have certain ideas, thoughts, concepts in mind concerning the vision for your construction company. Here are a few ways to shore up those intentions. You’ll see, they’re divided into four categories, that doesn’t mean you must choose one and leave the others behind.

Category One – Strong values

What personal values do you uphold? What attitudes and actions do you forbid? Remember, your character, your charisma, and your fortitude are all contagious.

For example, if you want your employees to treat the representatives of the general contractor with respect, you can’t bad mouth that representative in company meetings.

Or, you could try this; bring Mom into the picture. “The job isn’t done until Mom approves.” It could be Mom, your dad, your spouse, your kids, someone you admire, but there is always someone who draws you to do your best. Turn that “someone” into the person who everyone in your company is eager to please.

Second Category – Business Strengths

Determine what makes your construction business notable. What are you and your employees good at? Here are a few things you might consider:

  • A unique delivery system, product, or service
  • Operational systems in place and continually being improved
  • Exceptional at building difficult technical projects
  • Longevity – your company has stood the test of time
  • Professional delivery with a laid-back approach
  • Reliable, Trustworthy, and Fair

Now, you can turn this strength into your vision.

For instance, if your strength is Operational systems in place and continually being improved, your vision may look like this. “Daily improvement pushes us to be exceptional in every respect.” To make this “improvement” aspect work, you must remind your employees that part of their job is improving the systems already in place. Encourage feedback. Then, reward improvement behavior at every opportunity.

Third Category – Your business story

How, when, and why did you become the owner of a construction contracting company? What is the story behind how you got started? What did you hope to accomplish (beyond bringing in the cash,) and how were you planning to do it?

Think about what problem you overcame at any time during your journey of becoming a construction business owner.

Who helped you along the way? What part did he, she, they play in getting you to where you are now?

This article, 5 Essential Tips For Business Storytelling, from Forbes, relates the telling of your story to marketing. It uses the word “consumer” multiple times. Don’t worry, you can insert the word “employee” in its place, and it won’t take away the importance of the message at all.

Fourth Category – Niche

What niche do you serve? Why are you better equipped to complete the tasks at hand because of your expertise in this niche area? Retail, theaters, hospitality, medical, stadiums, and awnings are among the niche areas I’ve seen contractors capitalize on in recent months.

Speaking of awnings, here’s an example of a niche within a niche. When you land on the Awnex site  one of the first things you see is this sentence, “AWNEX designs, engineers, manufactures and installs aluminum construction canopies, awnings, trellises, wall louvers, roof screens and patio covers for the commercial chain store & quick service markets.” (Emphasis added, so you see what is meant by niche within a niche.)

Now, I have no idea if the owners of Awnex put their niche to use in their vision transfer to employees. But they’re missing out if they don’t.

Words of Power

Now it’s time to get to the words. Diverse concepts come into play. Concepts such as:

  • Growth
  • Stability
  • Workmanship
  • Organization
  • Efficiency
  • Reputation
  • Attitude
  • Community outreach
  • Values

And, to each of those concepts, you add words that inspire, words that trigger emotions, words that add clarity. Power words. Here are some examples:

  • Ablaze
  • Action
  • Advantage
  • Anticipate
  • Believe
  • Challenge
  • Commitment
  • Determination
  • Excellent
  • Focus
  • Honesty
  • Improve
  • Inspire
  • Knowledge
  • Mission
  • Perseverance
  • Proud
  • Skill
  • Trust
  • Understand
  • Value
  • Wisdom
  • Zeal

Look for and use the power words that best suit your construction company’s vision.

Want to see some power words in action? How about this bit taken from the John F. Kennedy “moon speech?”

We meet at a college noted for knowledge, in a city noted for progress, in a State noted for strength, and we stand in need of all three, for we meet in an hour of change and challenge, in a decade of hope and fear, in an age of both knowledge and ignorance. The greater our knowledge increases, the greater our ignorance unfolds.

President Kennedy used words that conveyed the fear as well as the hope of his time.

Fear: change, fear, ignorance

Hope: knowledge, progress, strength, challenge, hope

Mull it over

Often, when you see a blog post here, you’re encouraged to take action. This time you’re being encouraged to mull over what you’ve just read. Think about it. Next time, there will be insight concerning helping your team help you to build the vision.

 

Schulte and Schulte Provides Accounting, Contract Document Management, and Advisory Board Level counsel for small to medium commercial construction subcontractors. You can check our blog here

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

5 Strategies to Retain Your Best Employees – Part 5

Pay your employees well in order to retain them.

Pay your employees well in order to retain them.

This is the final installment of a 5-part series about specific strategies you can use in order to retain your best construction employees. You can find the first installment here, the second here, the third here, and the fourth here.

Pay them well

Dad explained to me, when I was quite young, that the wise person “knows which side his bread is buttered on.”  Dad was referring to his relationship with his employer. He knew, that in order to keep his job he had to perform up to a certain standard or he would be on the job hunt. Now-a-days, the roles have shifted somewhat, and it is the construction business owner who must look at his employees when it comes to determining the matter of buttered bread.

At the very least, keep your pay scale in the ballpark of what your market is paying. And, don’t wait until someone leaves to learn what others in your industry are paying. One simple way to check, is to use the information you can find on the website of the recruitment business known as indeed. Go here, enter the job title in the open section of the first block, hit search, and receive a plethora of information. You can refine the search as you progress in order to gain more and more specific information.

Consider the whole cost

If you can’t afford to pay them well, how are you ever going to afford to replace them? When it comes to the cost of employee turnover, you’ll do well to consider the whole picture. This article from Jobsite takes a look at some tangible as well as intangible costs connected with employees walking off your jobsites.

Retain them – parts 1 through 5

Coming full circle, it is time to admit that pay for your employees matters. Yet, if the only thing you offer is a bigger pay package you’re not likely to retain your best employees long-term. In a Harvard Business Review article, titled What Matters More to Your Workforce than Money  the author states, “One of the most striking results we’ve found is that, across all income levels, the top predictor of workplace satisfaction is not pay: It is the culture and values of the organization, followed closely by the quality of senior leadership and the career opportunities at the company.”

This same author goes on to state, “While pay can help get new talent in the door, our research shows it’s not likely to keep them there without real investments in workplace culture: making a commitment to positive culture and values, improving the quality of senior management, and creating career pathways that elevate workers through a career arc in the organization.”

Your turn

Be always on the lookout for ways you can improve the experience for your best employees. Make it a priority. Make it happen.