Shooting par in golf means that you did exactly what you wanted to do. If you could shoot par in your construction business, you would finish your jobs on time, make your customers happy and make lots of money. Your estimator would price the work at exactly what it costs to build it; your project manager would do what the contract calls; and your foreman would bring the project in on-budget without any punch-list items or call-backs. Shooting par would bring a perfect outcome with excellent results.
In order to shoot par in golf, you’ve got to have the right tools and technique, and a swing that repeats itself over and over again. To develop a perfect a golf swing takes lots of training and practice repeating the same swing to ensure you hit the ball the same every time to get consistent results. In construction, you also need the right tools, standardized techniques and repeatable systems in place to make sure everyone does things the same way over and over. For example, you don’t want your five foremen running their jobs, forming concrete slabs, finishing the slabs, ordering materials, and maintaining equipment differently than each other. You want them all doing things the same way to ensure consistent results.
What would guarantee you shoot par every time?
Managing construction projects is difficult as there are so many moving parts totally out of your control. You don’t control the weather, complete constructible plans, a fair developer, competent architecture, perfect engineering, prompt payments, excellent supervision, subcontractor workmanship, supplier deliveries, or field conflicts. And then add a multitude of unforeseen problems if you don’t control how your foremen manage their crews and perform their work properly. In order to shoot par on your projects, you have to maximize the controls and systems you have in place, make sure they are implemented and followed, and then manage the process to make sure things happen the way you expect them to in an ongoing fashion.
Professional tour golfers have a coach they work with weekly. They practice the same shots for hours on end to standardize their swing. Without regular coaching, training and reinforcing the basics of a good swing, even great golfers go back to bad habits and stop shooting par. Your job as the owner or manager of a company is to follow the example of professional golfers and make sure your field players do things the same way and are continually trained to follow your company standards, monitored and assessed to make sure your systems are followed.
What field systems will guarantee you shoot par?
When my group coaching members get together, we talk about their best business practices and compare notes. After working with hundreds of successful contractors, it becomes obvious why the top performers stay at the top of their game. Top contractors do the same things to ensure success. What five or 10 things done perfectly would ensure the success of your field operations, project managers, estimators, accounting, or administration?
Field top 10 list
Get you field superintendents, foremen and crew together and make a list of your top 10 field task systems that, if installed properly, would guarantee perfect workmanship. For example, a concrete contracting company would want their crews to have standard field systems for the following tasks: form concrete footings, form concrete slabs, expansion spacing and installation, bolt installations, steel embed bracing, concrete finishing details, concrete curing standards, pre-pour checklists, and slab edge details.
With your top 10 company field standard systems in place, your superintendents and foremen can then be held accountable and responsible to always do things the company way. Your job as manager is to enforce and continually train these standards and make sure they are followed. Make sure you are clearly understood with your foreman, superintendents and project managers that there’s no choice whether these systems are followed or not. Take it down to the basics. If your foreman worked at McDonalds, would he get a choice how many pickles he put on hamburgers? Your company must be run the same as McDonalds if you want to ensure consistent results, performance, and quality.
Company department top 10 lists
With each department in your company, including estimating, project management, accounting and administration, follow the same top 10 list idea discussed above. Create top 10 ‘must-do’ standard company systems for each area of your company that must be followed. These systems will ensure your overall company functions tightly and in-control producing the results you want over and over again.
Weekly structured meetings
Top companies make time to be organized and in control. The worst companies never have any time available to hold meetings and continue to be out of control and run by the seat of their pants with one fire drill after another. When you install structure and accountability sessions into your company organizational standards, your company will become more professional, and you will improve the results in your field.
Every week hold a company field foreman/superintendent meeting to discuss every job under construction. Review and ask each foreman and superintendent how they managed their job last week including their actual results versus the budget. Next have them explain what they are planning to do over the next week. This standardized weekly meeting system will make each field leader become accountable, responsible and required to plan ahead and think about the people, tools, equipment, materials and subcontractors they will need to achieve their weekly project goals. Also have them turn in their project paperwork including four week ‘think-ahead’ schedules, timecards, receipts, meeting minutes, safety meeting reports, equipment usage tracking reports, and field change orders.
Other structured meetings that work include a weekly estimating meeting, weekly business development meeting, weekly accounting meeting, weekly project management meeting, and a monthly company strategy meeting
Shooting par consistently takes extreme focus and lots of hard work. To be a top construction business, do what successful companies do and develop standardized systems and structure that guarantees the results you want. Perfect your swing, improve your bottom-line and get in-control of your company by doing the same things over and over without exception.
George Hedley is a professional business coach, popular speaker and best-selling author of “Get Your Business to Work!” and “The Business Success Blueprint For Contractors” available at his online bookstore. He works with contractors to build profitable growing companies. E-mail: GH@HardhatPresentations.com to join his next webinar free, signup for his e-newsletter, be part of a group BIZCOACH program, join a peer mastermind BIZGROUP, take a field management class at Hardhat BIZSCHOOL online university, or hire George to speak. Visit www.HardhatPresentations.com.