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01 Dec 2016


When do you play better - when playing a game you despise or one you truly enjoy?  

Let me ask you another question - have you ever promoted someone due to their excellent job performance, only to see their performance deteriorate? I have. And it ended up being a lose/lose situation for everyone involved.

But often the reason isn’t lack of ability, it’s the simple fact that the person who was promoted is now in a position he or she no longer enjoys.
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01 Nov 2016


Have you ever searched for something, not knowing what you were looking for, and found it? No? Me neither.

That would be a silly question to a lot of people, but not contractors. For, unfortunately, most contractors have their team aiming for an unidentified target - expecting them to hit it, without first setting clear expectations of what the target is.

How about your team members? Do they know, and better yet understand the targets you set in order to achieve your goals? Or, are you allowing them to just do the best they can?

If it’s the latter, you have a problem. It’s also a fairly common one.
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01 Oct 2016


“How can I be successful in setting my company apart from my competitors, when they are providing similar services and working under the table for cash”? That’s a question I get from a lot of contractors these days.

My answer? “Leaders of successful companies surround themselves with people and companies that demand the highest industry standards from them. The companies that are working for and paying cash while avoiding taxes, workers compensation and other costs will always be playing in the little leagues as high standard customers will not use them. You should Focus on better clients and avoid playing your competitions short sighted business game.”
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01 Sep 2016


As a team leader, you deliver the same direction over and over again. You explain, you demonstrate, you feel like you’re grinding it in. Then, just when you think your team finally gets it, they take two steps back!

Do you ever wonder when your direction and demonstration will become second nature to the person you are training? What I am about to tell you may stress you out, as you probably have a long road ahead to get what you expect from the people in your operation.
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01 Aug 2016


You want to grow your business, right? But you’re already doing all that you can. You’re at capacity - already and running so hard that you can’t go any faster. So even the thought of doing more sales stresses you out. Also, adding more projects to your team would only create more chaos and confusion among them.

Sound familiar? Don’t worry, you’re not alone - I often hear the exact same thing from managers seeking advice on growing their construction companies.
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01 Jul 2016


Yesterday, while I was flying back to Columbus, Ohio, from Kansas City, Mo., a lot of things were going through my mind. I was concerned about a $5.7-million job that Lang Masonry started three weeks later than we planned, and the fact that the general contractor is requiring us to catch up on the schedule, regardless of the cause of the delay. I was also apprehensive about decisions that would be made by a couple of banks over the next few days. Projects, revenue, capital expenses…all of these were churning in my mind.

Yet with all that, I was excited about coming home to Ohio so I could watch my daughter Amy compete at her regional track meet. Yesterday afternoon, I watched while Amy jumped 5 feet, 2 inches, earning her a position to compete at the state level next week.
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01 Jun 2016


As I’m writing this month’s tip, I am patiently waiting between events at my daughter’s track meet. I’ve got a big smile on my face as Amy has won the first two events she competed in.

While Amy was competing in the high jump event, between jumps the high school boys were running a long race that consists of several laps around the track.
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01 May 2016


If you have followed my tips throughout the years, you are prob­ably aware I sincerely believe that, in order to win at the game of business, you must recruit and field the right players for your team.

Think of the game of basketball. The coach who fields the best players normally wins the most games. This same winning coach not only starts the game with his top five players, but he also ensures he has a deep bench of talent ready to play should one or more of his top players need a rest, get hurt, or get in foul trouble.
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01 Apr 2016


Remember when you were a little kid and your mom would put you to bed, telling you it’s “quiet time”? This is a lesson most of us forgot as we grew up and began purchasing things. As a purchaser, quiet time isn’t when you go to bed at night. It is right after you have gotten a price for the goods and before you com­mit to buying them. In the construc­tion world, you should never award a contract or commit to using some­one’s services until you have quali­fied the bid to ensure every item has been included in the scope of work they have quoted.

Imagine you are a general contrac­tor (GC) who was just awarded a con­tract to build a hospital. Your phone is ringing off the wall because the word on the street is “you have the job.” The first call you take is from a good friend and sub-contractor (SC) who gave you a price on the mason­ry bid package. Your old friend says over the phone, “I heard you got the hospital project?” You remain silent. “How is my price?” Silence again. And then, finally, “Did you go in with my number to get the project?”
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01 Mar 2016


A lesson learned from those who dug water wells by hand years ago is that the harder you dig a hole, the deeper you will get. The deeper you get, the less the view. The less the view, the less you can observe. The less you observe, the less you can plan for others to help you succeed. Without others to help you succeed, even if you hit water, you may never get out of the hole.

During a recent conversation I had with a couple of contractors, “getting out of the hole” was the main topic of discussion. Keep in mind that both these men work very hard. They are smart, good at what they do and driven to succeed.
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01 Feb 2016


As a team leader, you deliver the same direction over and over again. You explain, you demonstrate, you feel like you’re grinding it in. Then, just when you think your team finally gets it, they take two steps back!

Do you ever wonder when your direction and demonstration will become second nature to the person you are training? What I am about to tell you may stress you out, as you probably have a long road ahead to get what you expect from the people in your operation.
Read more...

01 Jan 2016


Why do contractors bid work, and then slowly sabotage their chances of getting the work by telling the prospective customer, “My price is high, but…?” I have not only made these mistakes myself; it’s the first thing many contractors tell their customers when trying to obtain work.

Several years ago, my equipment company, EZ Grout, sponsored a golf outing to promote our equipment. A well-known contractor and potential new customer asked me for pricing on the mud tubs I had sitting on my truck.
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