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

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

3 Steps to Building Your Core Team

Building a core team to improve your construction business

Building your core team with purpose

No matter how small or large your commercial construction business is, having a core group of people (a team) who “get it” will make your job easier. You want people who see your vision, agree with your vision, and will work to help you accomplish your vision.

Before you begin the process of building a core team, you must have a vision for your contracting business. Because, quite simply, your core team must have hooks on which they can hang their hats (and their understanding.)

Building your core team even when there are skeptics

Some folks are born skeptical, live skeptical, and will probably die the same way. And there isn’t much any of us can do about them. So, for the purpose of this article we’re not going to worry much about them.

Yet, there are those who may be skeptical of a process, an intended outcome, or even your vision before they’re brought into the fold. Telling chronic skeptics apart from occasional skeptics is fairly easy when you take the time to look.

This might help. Some names society has adopted to describe skeptics are:

  • Party pooper
  • Wet blanket
  • Killjoy
  • Spoilsport
  • Grinch
  • Naysayer
  • Grouch

And, the way you tell the difference is your level of surprise. Yep, if you’re totally taken off guard by Harry’s party poopiness, it is likely he is simply having a bad day. Likewise, if you’re surprised that Sheila agreed to the request without complaint it is likely she is most frequently a naysayer.

If you’re interested in more information about dealing with naysayers, check out this article from Entrepreneur.

Step 1 Building your core team through equipping them

You pass on your vision from the very beginning of the hiring process. Your vision must be included in the handbook each new hire receives. From that point onward, the vision must be spoken of, acted on, and entrenched in the daily processes you adopt. If your employees don’t know what you want or expect of them, they flounder. If your vision is made perfectly clear they have an easier time of knowing which path to follow next.

Step 2 Building your core team through training them

That means investing in them by sharing podcasts, books, and articles that you read. It means taking them or sending them to classes, workshops, and conferences. Give them responsibilities that stretch and motivate them. Most importantly, show them what you value through your own daily actions.

Step 3 Building your core team by mobilizing them

It does no good to network your team into the vision if you’re unprepared to mobilize them. Perhaps Albert Einstein said it best: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

Put another way by Warren Buffet: “Hire smart people and get out of their way.”

Determine what skill sets, talents, and know-how each of your core team members has. Equip them and train them, then give them the freedom to make your construction contracting business better.

What core team building looks like

A core team is a gathering of like-minded people who are all about the vision. It takes clarity on what that team should look like. Further, it takes an investment to help them reach expectations.

 

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. 

Providing 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

 

Be a Visionary Construction Subcontractor

Be a Visionary Construction Subcontractor

Be a Visionary Construction Subcontractor

Think like a Visionary Construction Contractor

You might think that because we’re construction accounting specialists that we would want you to frame your vision with numbers. And frankly, we often do. Yet, on this occasion we’re suggesting you take a step back from the numbers and look at what being visionary means in a different light.

Setting goals, planning out the numbers, determining profit or loss are all part of what it takes to run a successful commercial subcontracting business. And we don’t take that lightly. Yet, we’ve noticed that among construction business owners, those who are visionary beyond the numbers are those who tend to end up with the best numbers.

Yep, setting your vision, acting with your vision in mind, and spreading your vision is a potent way to strengthen and grow your business.

Put simply, it is a step you can take to set your construction business up for long-term success.

Envision the contribution your construction company makes

It doesn’t matter if your people are pulling wire, laying in pipe, installing the glass, or participating in any other piece of the commercial construction industry because they’re all contributing to the end product. And yes, construction is one industry which anyone can see is greater than the sum of its parts.

It is so easy to see, it is absurd to think about. Can you imagine a GC saying to the client, “Well you know, plumbers are expensive, what do you think about not including plumbing in the plans? That would save you thousands of dollars we could apply to having better electrical solutions.”

The faucets, the drains, the pipes are all items which provide value to the package well beyond the cost of parts and labor. Health, safety, nourishment, and cleanliness all come to mind.

Yet, it is even more than what happens on the jobsite. Leaving the absurd aside, let’s look at the contribution your contracting business makes.

Down and dirty, deep and basic, it provides for you and your family. Yet there is more.

  • The well-being of your employees and their families
  • Provision for your subcontractors
  • Support of your suppliers
  • Contribution to the business landlord or mortgage company
  • Success of your service providers (like us)
  • Adding backing of personal and business associations you’re a part of
  • An allowance for charities or organizations where you and/or your employees volunteer or support financially
  • The cash infused into your community through vehicle purchases, insurance, banking needs, utility providers, and on and on

And! Well, there is always the end of the job. And, there is always the completed project. Plus, there is always the way your construction business contributes to the outcome of the building venture. There is satisfaction in being able to say, “I helped build that.”

Act like a Visionary Construction Subcontractor

Before we go on, take a minute to check out the 8 most iconic Marine Corps recruiting slogans.  You can link over to see the story behind each slogan, and it’s worth the look. Yet, I’ll list them here so you can see what their message is to the world and to themselves.

“The Marines are looking for a few good men.”

“The Few. The Proud. The Marines.”

“Teufelhunden.”

“First to fight.”

“Tell that to the Marines!”

“We don’t promise you a rose garden.”

“If everybody could get in the Marines, it wouldn’t be the Marines.”

“The Marine Corps builds men.”

Now we’re getting to the heart of the matter. These are recruiting slogans which are internalized by the men and women who walk through the doors, sign on the dotted line, and put on that amazing uniform.

There is vision in those recruiting slogans that is a part of the cycle that brings about the loyalty instilled in the Marines.

And, that is the kind of vision which will get potential new hires in the door and potential clients on the phone. It is also the type of vision which will help create loyalty from those new hires and new clients.

Internalizing your vision as well as passing on your vision is a powerful tool.

Tell Your Visionary Construction Story

Your vision must align with your core values and company culture. It should describe what your intentions are. Yet, when you first begin to structure your visionary construction story don’t fret about making it perfect. It could change.

Look at the visions these well-known and successful businesses had in their start-up phases.

Airbnb: “Connecting people who have space to share with those who are looking for a place to stay”

Facebook: “Creating an online directory for colleges that is kind of interactive”

Uber: “An app to request premium black cars in a few metropolitan areas”

Ooze Vision

Yes, there is some amount of future-thinking involved in creating the vision for your commercial subcontracting business. Yet, grounding your vision in the present, in the day-to-day operations makes it tangible and useful.

Here’s a personal example. My cousin, who lives in Oklahoma once wrote a visionary statement on the back window of her pickup camper shell. It turned heads. Then made people smile. And caused conversations. You see, she and her family were headed back to New Mexico to spend time with her parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins for the holidays. Her simple, poignant, and to the point vision read, “We’ll be home for Christmas!”

The beauty of this next example can be found in the punctuation. “Working for a safer tomorrow . . . ” Verona, Wisconsin fire department. Think about the options and promise in those three little periods suggesting there is more to the picture.

And, here is an example of Boring! “We are a family owned company, committed to becoming the contractor of choice, pursuing excellence through dedication, experience and disciplined employees with an ongoing passion to deliver quality, timely and profitable projects.”

Not only is it boring, you’d have a hard time getting your employees or your clients to find the heart of what that company does. Remember it? Not a chance!

Check out these visions to get an idea of what works.

“A world where everyone has a decent place to live.” Habitat for Humanity

“That people everywhere will share the power of a wish.” Make-A-Wish

“A world without Alzheimer’s.” Alzheimer’s Association

“To make people happy.” Disney

“To revolutionize the way people do financial work.” Intuit

Visionary ideas for reaching General Contractors

Want to be noticed by the GCs in your area? Here are a few succinct visions I thought of. Feel free to copy, reshape, or adjust any of these for use in your vision building exercises.

“Helping General Contractors look like heroes to their clients.”

“Making our clients plumb happy.”

“Partnering with General Contractors to be sure the lights are bright for their clients.”

“We dig deep to provide solid foundations for our clients.”

“Joining forces with General Contractors to exceed THEIR client’s expectations.”

These are designed with these things in mind:

  • Likely to get the attention of your target audience
  • Makes it easy for your employees to see the essence and capture the heart of your vision
  • Is bold enough to stand out from the crowd

Your vision should be big and bold. It should be engaging yet simple enough for your employees and your clients to remember – and live by. (Remember those Marines?)

If it is honest, turns heads, and gets people asking questions, then you’ve found a winner.

What do fiercely successful businesses have in common? They have a culture built on a succinct and memorable vision.

Visionary Construction service provider

So, what does the vision for an accounting firm whose clients are small to medium commercial construction subcontractors look like?

Helping our clients Run With the Big Dogs. [bold]

Want to know how we do it? Get in touch here or give us a call Toll Free: 866-629-7735.

5 Strategies to Retain Your Best Construction Employees – Part 1

First strategy is creating and passing on the vision.

First strategy is creating and passing on the vision.

Create a great place to work!

This is the first in a five-part series. Find the other posts by clicking on Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5

Everywhere you turn there is another call concerning the lack of qualified construction workers. It is a problem. Many people and organizations are taking steps to try to change the situation for the better. Some examples can be found here, here, here, and here. Yet, the effort isn’t going to be easy and it won’t happen overnight. In the meantime, holding on to the qualified hands you now have will give you a buffer and allow you to weather the storm while the newest guys and gals are attending classes, being trained, and getting up to speed.

It’s time to think about retention in a strategic way. The old “dime a dozen” rule doesn’t work in this day and age. It isn’t as if you have people knocking on your door throughout the day hoping to find a job. It is more likely you’re hard-pressed to keep good construction hands from one job to the next. There are 5 main areas which need to be addressed if you want to hang on to the good folks you already have in your employ.

  1. Passing on your vision
  2. Training your team
  3. Treating them well
  4. Having fun at work
  5. Paying them well

The first strategy is passing on the vision.

Pass on your vision

Don’t be short sighted! Helping your crew understand the vision for your company is worth the effort and it means much more than just a “that’s how it is done around here” speech. This article from Forbes gives much insight into how your company vision can create highly motivated and strongly committed employees. It is well worth the time it takes to read.

Writing and passing on your vision is the first step in creating a great place to work.

Some examples:

“Kitchell is committed to impacting our communities by delivering innovative services through dedicated people and loyal relationships. We provide design, development, construction, facility planning and maintenance services to fulfill the vision of our customers. Together, building value every day.” Kitchell

“Shook is committed to being a construction contractor that is known externally for quality, integrity and resourcefulness, and internally for profitability and employee satisfaction.”Shook Construction

“To be the world’s premier engineering, construction, and project management company. Customers and partners will see us as integral to their success. We will anticipate their needs and deliver on every commitment we make. People will be proud to work at Bechtel. We will create opportunities to achieve the extraordinary, and we will reward success. Communities will regard us as responsible—and responsive. We will integrate global and local perspectives, promote sound management of resources, and contribute to a better quality of life.”Bechtel

“Building Enduring Relationships and Strong Communities”Kraus-Anderson

“To build environments where our clients, employee-owners and communities prosper.”Sundt

Write your vision

The best visions tend to give both an outward (customer) focus as well as in inward (employee) focus. If you don’t have a written vision now is the time! If you do have a written vision, be certain you’re passing it on to those in your employ.

Share your vision

Your vision for your construction company should make it easy to explain business decisions to your employees. Employees tend to do what they think is best according to what they think the boss wants. By telling them what you really want, you give them a means to focus their behavior in ways that benefit themselves as well as the company. Here are a few examples of how other businesses are engaging their employees through their company vision.

An additional benefit is your employees see you as a better leader if you can communicate your vision effectively.

Your 3 step plan

  1. Take time now to write your vision or review and refresh it.
  2. Determine the means you’ll take to begin passing it on.
  3. Begin giving your employees the information they’ll need to follow your vision

P.S. Remember there is a big difference between laying a few bricks and building a cathedral. Be sure your employees know what they’re really doing.

5 Features You Must Rock in Your Construction Business

Rock Your Construction Business

Rock Your Construction Business

Have you ever looked around and wondered how you got to where you are? You may have inherited your construction contracting business. Or perhaps you’re among those who one day picked up your hammer and saw a better way of doing things. So you started your own business and now you’re on your way!

Whichever path you were on when you began “doing business as . . .” you’ve discovered a big road in front of you and it is time to move to the business side of being a successful construction contractor.

You Must be the Visionary

Your vision is where you want to see your company in terms of culture, market standing, reputation, and customer satisfaction. As a certain four-year-old amongst my associates puts it, “Ya gots ta own it!”

Only when you create and own the vision can you make it work. Stumbling along on the path of start-up contractors won’t get you where you need to go.

Your vision will be felt across the spectrum from employees, to subs, to clients, to pre-clients, not to mention the neighborhood at large.

Here is an example of how to move from path to highway:

You want your company to be known for the philanthropic endeavors it takes part in.

  1. You give of your time and resources to charities or individuals you feel need your help.
  2. You encourage your employees to do the same by giving them one paid day a year to take part in a charitable event.
  3. You recognize (perhaps in a formal setting) the employees and subs in your circle who are giving to others.
  4. You pay for your employees to complete a task on a philanthropic endeavor which takes multiple days to complete. You also ask them to contribute monetarily.
  5. You chair the committee at your local trade association which chooses a charitable endeavor and encourages others in your field to make donations of time and funds then sees the project through from beginning to end.

Making your vision exciting will also make it easier to pass on to those around you. Examples of exciting visions might include: to be the construction company everyone turns to when there is a difficult project, to be known as the company which completes their jobs faster than the competition, to be recognized as the area leader in customer service, to be the technical projects go-to company, or to become known for your philanthropic contributions.

While there may be other objectives concerning your vision these four are a good place to begin putting together your vision for your company –  your company culture, your company’s market standing, your company’s reputation (among both customers and employees,) and your customer satisfaction ratings.

You Must Make Decisions that Impact Multiple Functions

Your job is to run the business, not the projects. You need to be concerned with strategic planning and being sure it does not become an operational fix-it list.

A few of the basics you’ll be concerned with:

  • Making go/no-go decisions when deciding whether to take on a project.
  • Building a dependable team.
  • Deciding what your scope of services will be.
  • Becoming knowledgeable in sales and marketing.
  • Understanding changing technology trends both in the office and in the field.
  • Implementing efficient operating systems and successful training programs.
  • Determining what type of equipment is needed and when to purchase or lease it.
  • Knowing your numbers.

Remember, this is a journey. You may not have all these components cleaned up and ready to be put to use at this very moment, yet with determination and time you’ll find these things become part of your routine, become easier to accomplish with practice.

You Must Provide the Resources Needed Across the Organization

This is much more than buying the right computers for the office or the correct tools for the sites. This is about being sure you’re taking care of business in a well thought out and productive manner. You’ll find you:

  • Are constantly learning more about your trade as well as the industry as a whole.
  • Have more than one supplier on your list of go-to places.
  • Spend a minimum of 25% of your time finding projects and customers
  • Understand construction bid management.
  • Know about regulatory compliance and adhere to it.
  • Are adamant about safety standards and how they’re met.
  • Provide or find ways to train your team for their benefit as well as your own.
  • Develop the best benefits package you can afford for your team.
  • Know your numbers.

It may be necessary to pass on some of these responsibilities either through developing employees or outsourcing in some areas. Never the less, the buck will stop with you and your ability to surround yourself with the “right people” will be paramount in your decision making.

You Must Build a Culture Others Want to be Part Of

Some say, “If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” There is this wild thing that happens when you move from being the do-it-all guy to being a construction contractor with a team of employees and subs in your arena. Then the saying changes, “If the workers ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy – especially your customers.”

It pays not to get caught up in thinking which goes like, “I pay them to do a job, they should just do it.” Motivation comes in many forms. Making your construction contracting business fun, or exciting, or glamourous, or fast paced, or challenging is up to you. Your vibe will indeed attract your tribe. This is where hiring for attitude rather than experience can pay off big time. Bring in the guys and gals who can be taught the necessary skills because they have the right attitude about your customers and your business.

And guess what? Your employees want you to be generous. They want you to be generous with information. Let them know not only how you want things done, but why you want it done that way. They want you to generous with your time and your praise. A real pat on the back, a handwritten note, an awards dinner for “job done well,” all come to mind. They want you to be generous in training and coaching them in ways that will move them up the ladder in your company.

One last caveat concerning being the boss. Being “liked” by your employees is not a good or healthy goal. Being “respected” by your employees is a goal worth striving toward.

You Must Deliver Performance

Set high expectations.

Bring in systems as well as talent to execute each phase or portion well.

Figure out what your people need to do their job better, and help them get it. It could be tools, training, or knowledge. It could be advice or intervention. It could be as simple as targeted feedback.

Know your own strengths as well as your weaknesses and build your team using that knowledge.

At every turn, ask your customers how well you and your team are doing. Use that information to grow your business to be the best it can be in every way.

Your call to action

Determine to Rock Your Business by putting this information into action. Print it. Reread it. Save it. Use it.

Dancing into a Leadership Role in Your Construction Contracting Business

While it is apparent learning to dance takes time and effort and mastering the moves takes practice, we sometimes forget that being a good leader also takes time, effort, and practice (and it doesn’t hinge alone on how much innate talent you have.)

Knowing you have the skills of powerful leadership

As the owner of a construction contracting or service business it is imperative for you to take the time, make the effort, and be willing to practice the skills involved in leading your team. So, how do you know you’ve got it? Step back, listen, and see (really see) what your team members have in their minds when they see you, think about you, or (suck it up) talk about you.

[Note: I know some of you are male and some female, yet I don’t want to go through the language gymnastics of switching between genders while writing, so please understand I will use the words “he, him, his” in their age-old concept of mankind which encompasses both male and female.]

While your team may not recognize the bare, basic fact that you’re good at communicating and motivating they will be likely to say these things about you.

  • He listens to what I and the others tell him.
  • He handles dissent or even polite debate well.
  • He’s good at understanding strategy.
  • He has an ability to execute plans.
  • He’s good at project planning and gets the concept of following timelines.
  • He connects with all sorts of different people.
  • He is good at getting people to learn and grow.
  • He takes responsibility even when he has been wrong.
  • He has credibility and integrity.
  • He’s someone you can count on.

Making your vision become everyone’s dream

Be a leader who is confident enough to hire people you can trust, people you let do whatever they do best with a minimum of oversight.

Allow your mentors, advisors, and trusted employees to share their opinions before you make decisions.

Establish habits, structures, and procedures that help you and your team keep your vision in sight.

Take time to acknowledge (in big ways) your employees and team members for their effort or accomplishments.

Putting on the right dance shoes

Whether you wear work boots, tap shoes, or some other footwear keep in mind growing your construction contracting or service business, scaling into a profitable position will include time, effort, and practice at leading well.