We are halfway through 2019. Are you and your co-workers getting it done? Or are you missing your mark and talking about:
- the other guy is too cheap,
- we can’t find enough workers,
- we can’t get our number
After being an owner and or being involved in this industry for 37 years, I have used and or heard every excuse for not being successful that has ever been in existence.
You know what the successful firms do? What differentiates the successful from the “oh so close but no cigar” firms?
Successful firms do not allow their employees to be victims.
Everybody in the world is facing the same crisis as to finding enough workers to get their jobs done on time and on budget. There is a worldwide shortage of workers. Some of the workers left our industry in 2008-2011 when there was a 40-60% drop in opportunities for construction jobs. Some have come back with the resurgence, but not enough. Young people are not flocking to our industry as a career. Baby boomers are getting older and some are leaving the industry to retire or do something less stressful. Whatever the case, it is tough to find and retain employees today. I get it.
Don’t let the difficulty in finding employees be a crutch to limp along. Do something about it. Look in the mirror and ask yourself the 4 tough questions about your own company that I wish I had done more of when I owned my own firm:
- Does my company value and respect the young employee that needs coaching, experience, and training? Because nothing will make a young person look for a better job elsewhere than if he/she does not feel respected in his/her journey up the company ladder.
- Does my company really “own our crap”? By that I mean when you lose a bid to another firm, do you hear your estimators and key producers who worked on the estimate simply shake their heads and say “good f’ing luck to those lowballers-they are way too cheap”? Instead, the team should get together and figure out if their way of looking at the schedule and/or production was flawed. Perhaps the low bidder was too low, but companies should not allow their own firm to be a “victim”. Rather you should be looking for ways to have improved the schedule, improved the equipment cost allocation, improved the overhead distribution, or sought out better subcontractors that could get you closer to what you want.
- As you look in the mirror-do all of your people attack every moment? If people in your firm are anxious about a bid, anxious about their position in the firm, unclear about what is expected of them, if they need some additional skills so they do not get negative under pressure-THEN FIX IT! Negative energy is non-productive energy and if you are going to be burning energy, you might as well make it productive. Every moment. Your employees should not have time to be a victim. They should see every challenge, every opportunity, and every setback as a moment to seize and attack aggressively in a productive manner.
- Finally-from top to bottom in your firm you need to understand being successful is a choice. It is not by being lucky. You have to do the work, be prepared, and because you choose to be successful, your choices will result in being that way. Succeed in getting that key worker some additional training so that person becomes a success instead of “someone with potential”. Choose winning. That does not mean taking chances without knowing your team has the skills and the equipment and training to conquer that chance. Train for success. Choose success.
If you are not hitting your budgeted and planned targets at the halfway point of the construction season, look hard in the mirror. Try to be objective in your reflection. Do not beat yourself up-that is negative. But definitely do not choose to be a victim. If you are choosing success, providing value for your young people, not using excuses to define failures but rather analyzing and making your systems better so you have successes rather than failures, and if all of your people are attacking every opportunity with the necessary skill and positive attitude, you are at the top of the heap. You will find those ideal clients. You will figure out what “bait to use” to land those clients. You will get your needed numbers for success. You will attract and retain employees when other firms cannot.
Look hard in the mirror. I wish I had done more of that when I was in a position to alter my course as a business owner. Do not miss this opportunity!
That’s All Folks!