Leverage your strengths

Editor's Perspective

Workforce development is critical to the success of the asphalt industry and the construction industry in general. Finding enough qualified workers to support the current and future demands of the construction industry is expected to be a significant concern for years to come, and creating a greater awareness required to meet the projected shortfall of qualified construction workers should be a top priority of all who rely on this important industry to generate a livelihood.

Creating an increased awareness of the construction industry?s workforce needs, coupled with better understanding of the construction career opportunities that await prospective employees, will only help foster a greater appreciation for the value the construction industry provides in maintaining a quality infrastructure and a strong economy.

Contractors from all industry segments and the industry in general realize a variety of solutions will be required to meet the ongoing recruitment demands of a robust construction industry.

But what about the people you currently employ? Are you optimizing their strengths? At the recent National Asphalt Pavement Association?s 53rd Annual Meeting, keynote speaker Marcus Buckingham delivered a powerful message on the importance of leveraging your strengths and the strengths of your employees. In his session, ?Go Put Your Strengths to Work,? Buckingham discussed how people often fail to recognize their strengths and many employers fail to optimize an individual worker?s strengths.

Too often, in performance reviews, an employee?s strengths are noted, but the focus is generally on the employee?s weakness, or the opportunity to improve on those weaknesses.

Buckingham?s suggestion is to focus on the strengths and look for ways to take those strengths to the next level of performance. As much as we all would like to improve on our weaknesses, you have to recognize that the effort to do so may not generate the results you would like. But if you focus that energy on what you?re good at and what your employees are good at, your efforts are likely to generate positive results, and also avoid taking on a task that you?re not good at, or promoting one of your employees to a task that they?re not good at. For example, you may think a high-performing salesperson would make a great sales manager, but if managing others is not a particular strength, you?re better off cultivating that high-performance salesperson into a super salesperson.

It?s all about recognizing strengths and building upon those strengths, and if a weakness exists in your organization, then find someone else with the strengths required to address the weakness.

Your company and the construction industry as a whole will continue to face the challenge of attracting qualified workers, but make sure you optimize the skills and strengths of your current workforce. Company executives talk about how their workforce is their number one asset.

Use it wisely!

Greg Udelhofen, Editor