Business success can be defined by several different parameters. For some, it comes down to dollars and cents — how much profit is generated and how much is applied directly to the bottom line. For others, it’s based on the volume of work being performed and the backlog of work to come.
For Brad Humphrey, president of Pinnacle Development Group, a consulting firm specializing in the construction industry, success goes much deeper. He cites a survey sponsored by the Center for Construction Innovation & Development that identified 20 indicators of what a contractor has to do to be successful. The complete survey results will be presented at National Pavement Expo (NationalPavementExpo.com) next month. In the meantime, Humphrey recently revealed his top 10 list based on the survey results. (See “Top 10 Signs of a Successful Contractor” at ForConstructionPros.com/11181812.) For our purposes, I’ve narrowed this down even further to my top five:
Have a vision: According to Humphrey, the No. 1 survey response was to have a vision for the company. This calls for identifying its current position in the market and where you want to be in future. A close second was having a vision for the company’s leadership — knowing how you want to lead, and the type of work culture you want to create.
Communicate frequently: While Humphrey emphasizes the importance of daily tailgate talks as a means to set project goals, I would argue it’s equally important to communicate the company’s vision and objectives to ensure employees at all levels are on the same page. Also essential is daily communication about safety protocol for your jobsites.
Provide education and training: Education and training should not consist of a one-time program for new hires, or periodic training to meet regulatory requirements. It should be an ongoing part of leadership development within your company. Regular education and training will hone existing skills and add new skills to increase the value of your workers. It can also aid in employee retention by increasing job satisfaction and advancement opportunities.
Cross-training employees to build proficiency in different skill sets adds even further value to employees, and makes the job of scheduling work much easier.
Create a sense of urgency, not emergency: “Emergency-based contractors wear out and lose employees,” Humphrey states. “Having a sense of urgency in your company actually inspires and energizes workers.” Creating this sense of urgency begins with keeping workers informed about expectations for their job performance; sharing the company’s progress, or lack thereof, on a regular basis; and communicating customer demands and expectations for projects.
Create a positive company culture: “The most successful contractors, of any size, that I’ve witnessed up close and personal were all firms that enjoyed people, celebrated successes and laughed a lot,” says Humphrey. This means letting employees know you care about them, their families and their growth within the company, and not being afraid to have fun once in a while. Also be willing to create an environment that encourages employees to provide input on how to improve operations, and reward them for their efforts where appropriate.
Success means different things to different people. How you define it within your operation could determine whether the company moves forward as the economy expands or stays stagnant while others around it prosper. ET