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The Official Publication
of the Mason Contractors
Association of America
Let go to Grow
As a business owner, I need to get a huge return on my time. Each year, my company generates more than $40 million in sales, so I don't have any time to sweat the small stuff. But, I have great people who do. When I started my company, I took care of everything: hiring, supervising, purchasing, marketing, sales, proposals, estimating, project management, meetings, paying bills, invoicing and depositing checks. You name it; if it had to be done, I did it, often into the wee hours of the night.
Finding good help
Our company became a revolving door. Hire people, put them on the job, and then watch them leave after less than a year. This was not good for our bottom line. We had lots of exciting work with great clients, but our company didn't retain people. My job description changed from business owner to head of the personnel complaint department, which was not what I enjoyed doing. I continued to try and find answers to our people problems. I looked everywhere for the magic fix. I attended management seminars, read business books and hired consultants. Nothing worked. As a last resort, I decided to try a new approach. I let go of all the daily management decisions. I delegated everything except leadership, vision, values and setting our company goals.
Look in the mirror
When a customer calls with a problem, do you immediately handle it yourself and get right back to him? A better solution would be to listen, and then turn your customer's concern over to a supervisor to handle. When it's time to make a major purchase or award a large subcontract, do you get right in the middle of the negotiations? Instead, ask your manager to review the proposals, analyze the inclusions and exclusions, negotiate terms with the lowest responsible company, and then get your final approval. When a supervisor asks you to call a supplier who isn't performing, do you jump in and take charge? Train your supervisors to plan ahead, use written procedures, checklists, schedules, and team meetings, and then manage their workflows professionally. A simple delegation strategy is to increase your managers' maximum spending limits. Give more responsibility by allowing them to spend at least $1,000 or $5,000 before they have to get the boss' approval. The key is to stop making decisions for them.
Lead to grow
What's your time worth? When you do $10/ hour work, you are not even earning $10. My company needs to bring in $2 million annually to cover our overhead and profit. As the owner, I only have 2,000 hours to make that happen. Therefore, I'm responsible to create at least $1,000/hour doing important things that make the biggest impacts on our bottom line. Effective business leaders only do work 25 percent of the time. The spend the other 75 percent leading their company; building customer relationships; seeking new business opportunities; and motivating, inspiring, coaching, and leading people.
Less is more
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|Last Updated on Friday, 13 February 2009 22:38|