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Checklist: Is Your Remodeling Business at Risk of Becoming Mediocre?

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Thu, May 21,2015 @ 10:12 AM

Checklist: Is Your Remodeling Business at Risk of Becoming Mediocre?

Improving a remodeling businessAs you grow your business day to day management and leadership considerations can quickly creep up on construction business owners.  Profitably growing a remodeling business to any volume, but in particular growing past the $1M threshold in produced work, definitely requires advanced business skills.   Growing and running your business by the seat of your pants is a sure way to create a mediocre business that will never generate maximum profits. This article offers several ways business owners can determine if they and their businesses are headed for mediocrity.  It also offers options to help you and your business get back on track.

 

Mediocrity Definition

 

Here is a checklist of indicators that your business is becoming mediocre:

  • Your business lacks written policies and procedures.
  • Even if you have policies you do not have predetermined consequences for violating them and or you do not enforce them.
  • You complain about things customers and or employees do or don't do; but then do nothing about them.
  • Concerned employees point certain concerning things out and you do nothing to address and or correct things.
  • Your employees point things out to you and you actually make them feel guilty for doing so or that they are annoying you by pointing them out.
  • Your customers offer feedback or complaints and you make excuses for why things happened, rather than embrace their help and use what they share with you to make improvements or corrections.
  • Long term customers stop doing business with you and you don’t bother to ask them why.
  • You create artificial harmony by ignoring culture deficiencies and or tension between team members and pretend everything is OK.
  • When something happens you always find a way to make it someone else's fault rather than take responsibility as the leader.

 

If these things are happening at your business you have two options

Construction employee complaintThe first is to let them keep happening.   If you allow things to continue you will likely lose customers, compromise your brand, have high employee turnover and you will never fully achieve creating a successful and profitable business.   Eventually, when your family and others ask you why you never really succeeded in business, you will again have to resort to rationalizing why it was someone else's fault.

Your other option is to recognize these things are happening and start addressing why they are happening.  Only until you know and recognize why they are happening will you be able to work on preventing them from happening.  

 

Preventing these things from happening may require two different solutions

The first is to stop certain things from happening all together by no longer tolerating them.   Put your big boy or girl pants on and be the leader you should be.   To hold others accountable make sure you create and follow through on consequences.

The other is to change how you do things so they just don't happen anymore.  Put policies in place and make sure they are enforced.   Those policies should also include clear consequences for violating them.

Lots of remodeling businesses are becoming mediocre as they try to grow in this improving economy. Will you join them or will you stand out from the crowd by becoming the reference standard for what it means to be a professional contractor in your marketplace?

 

Want help growing your business in a profitable and manageable way?

Options:
Consider joining our Construction Business Owner Peer Group Program scheduled to begin in September to be held at Middlesex Community College in Bedford MA.

 

 

If you prefer on-on-one help specific to your business email Shawn now to set up a time to discuss your business and the help you are looking for. Or call Shawn at 978-726-6531.

 

Topics: Employee Relations, Business Management, Success Strategies, Business Growth, Sage Advice, Business Considerations, Breaking $1Million

How You React To Your Own Frustrations May Set The Example For Your Team

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Wed, Apr 15,2015 @ 06:00 AM

How You React To Your Own Frustrations May Set The Example For Your Team

Frustrated construction business ownerDealing with customers, subs and employees isn't always easy. All too often they can say and do things to us that can really strike a nerve.   How you react in the situation can really make a statement about your professionalism as well as what they might actually share with others about your reactions.

Besides the people who get your goat others may be observing your reactions as well.  The observers may include your employees, trade partners as well as your customers.  How you react to stress and frustrations will definitely leave a lasting impression on them.

Consider these examples

If you beat the snot out of a chunk of wood with a sledge hammer as a way to cope with frustration and or stress your employees will likely think it’s ok to do so as well.  What if after seeing you do it they are frustrated by a client the next day , go out to the back yard of the job site and do the same in view of the customer?  What will the customer be thinking and how might it affect the atmosphere on the job site for the rest of the project?  How might it affect future referrals?

Construction leadership stylesNow consider this example.  If you asked a prospective lead carpenter you are considering hiring how he or she deals with stress or frustration on the job and they share that beating the snot out of a wood scrap with their 28 oz Estwing works best, would you hire him or her?  I certainly wouldn't.

 

A better suggestion 

Instead why not consider the difference between your roles and your identity.

Your true identity is who you would be if all of your roles were stripped away.  It's who you really are as a person and in reality has nothing to do with what your job position is.  

By contrast, your roles are the responsibilities and activities you assume in the course of life, or while on the job, whether by choice or otherwise.  And no matter what roles you serve in life, they are not who you really are as a person.

I've learned from experience that until owners, managers, and employees can separate their identities from their roles, they may be personally affected by the comments, attitudes, and expectations of their clients and co-workers.  This doesn't have to be.  Life is stressful enough already.  Don't let job stress add to it.

For more specific information on the differences between your roles and identities check out this Remodeling magazine article I wrote several years ago.

Summary

Construction leadership roles

The next time someone really upsets you at work stop, before you react, consider you are only at work and it's your job position that is being questioned or judged, not your identity.  Your ability to keep your identity and roles separate will help you keep a cool head in otherwise stressful situations.  And, how you react and act will serve as a much better example to everyone with whom you interact.  If what I suggest doesn't work for you or one of your employees you might want to seriously consider anger management therapy.

 

 

More articles related to leadership:

Breaking Past $1M in Remodeling: Getting Ready To Do It

Invest In Your Remodeling Business Now, Or Pay Forever

Information and Guidance To Evolve From Being A Contractor To Being A Construction Business Owner

Five Great Books for Remodeling Business Owners

 

Topics: Employee Relations, Differentiating your Business, Culture, Customer Relations, Leadership, Creating Referrals

Contractors, Were You Being Thankful and Did You Giving Thanks Too?

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Dec 03,2013 @ 06:00 AM

Contractors, Were You Being Thankful and Did You Giving Thanks Too?


Thanksgiving Thoughts for Contractors

How did you celebrate Thanksgiving this year?

I hope you did something to thank the world around you for what you have and should be thankful for!

Here's what I did

My wife, daughter and I volunteered for the day helping put together and deliver meals for those less fortunate than us.   I belong to the Hudson Fish and Game Club in Hudson NH.   Every Thanksgiving, the club, its members and lots of volunteers all work together to make this annual event a reality for the surrounding communities.   It sure feels good to be part of the efforts.  In past years we have also helped with the delivery of the meals.   Although some drop-offs are an eye opener about how tough things are for may people, it’s also a great feeling to drop by with a bag chock-full of Thanksgiving dinner, rolls, pie, fruits, gravy and whole bunch more of traditional Thanksgiving treats.  The giant smiles and even sometimes the joyful tears can make your day!

 

 

Getting Everything Ready For The Big Day

HFG Thankgiving Dinner

HFG Meal Delivery Bags
   

Hudson Fish and Game Turkey Dinner Hudson Fish and Game Thanksgiving Volunteer

 

 

Volunteers Help Fill Plates For Delivery
HFG Thanksgiving Food Line Filling Thanksgiving plates at Hudson Fish and Game

 

 Almost 1200 Meals Were Prepared and Delivered!
Thanksgiving Dinner from Hudson Fish and Game Hudson Fish and Game delivers Thanksgiving meals

 

Did You Give Thanks To Your Employees Too!

One important way to spread the Thanksgiving spirit is to thank your employees.  My daughter got the message below as a text message from her boss.   She got it Thanksgiving morning while we were on the way to the Fish and Game Club to volunteer for the day.


"Happy Thanks Giving Kate!!  Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication.  You are truly a wonderfully kind person Kate :)   Eat some great food today..  Salute!"


After she read it she let out a big "WOW" and couldn't wait to read it to my wife and I.   She was touched by her boss's message and even more proud to read it out loud to my wife and I.  It put a huge smile on her face and on mine as well!  

Her boss will get paid back in spades for that simple gesture!

 

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving!


Topics: Fun Stuff, Employee Relations, Building Relationships