March 2021: Full Contact Project Management


2021 Theme: Eternal Truths for Simple Coaches

Title: “The Next Play”

Subtitle: The Importance of Compartments?


Words: “Coach” Gary Micheloni

  2020 was a challenging year. Isn’t that just the understatement of the day! It seems that it’s on the minds of everyone. Yikes! It could be that we need some kind of a change. Something new. Well, OK…“Coach Gary” is sending in a new play: “The Next Play.” Could it be the secret to succeeding in 2021? Let’s check this out, okay? A very prominent coach taught me this tactic, so let me draw it up for you. It’s a brilliant concept. But first, I need to make an announcement, because it ties into the idea of “Next Play,” which is coming up in just a second. The announcement is that we are launching a podcast, the “Brick and Block Podcast.” Think of it as the special team needed to help us all to “Get it done in ’21!” That’s what I’m talking about. That’s the Next Play I’m sending in—more about the podcast in a moment.  To explain all this, let’s talk strategy and tactics. In this case, some basketball—basketball tactics—because they relate directly to the construction industry in general and your masonry business in particular. Really! Good basketball is prevalent everywhere in our country--not just on the East Coast, but even out here where I live on the West Coast, because we play some pretty good ball, too.  Believe it or not, there is a parallel between basketball and masonry, east or west, north or south, wherever the game is being played. Some schools have lots of resources; most have less. Some have high-scoring offenses; others play with gritty defense—same game, but different slants, depending upon the team and the competition. The same thing goes for the masonry business: various locations, specialties, geographies, job size capabilities. My college basketball team of choice in the San Diego State Aztecs has a history of playing some pretty solid defense—some of the best in the country. Generally, their defense always keeps them in the game, seldom out of it. Mason contractors might consider this “tough defense” type of coaching. So, how does it apply? How is it done?  Team, here’s where you should start taking notes. The Aztecs used to be horrible! After decades of mediocrity, a new coach, one with a track record of decent teams with winning records, was brought in. Coach Steve Fisher changed the culture. If you wanted to play on his team, you had to buy into his mantra of playing solid defense. Everything hinges on it. Selfish play will not be tolerated. Excellent defense is to be expected.  Okay, I hear you out there saying, “But ‘Coach,’ where does the Next Play idea come in?” I hear you! Hang on for one more moment, and you’ll see.  Here’s the thing: business, like basketball, is a game of switching momentums, of point runs by one team and then by the other. But things don’t always go well, or according to plan, whether in sport or construction, do they? When he needed to turn the tide in a game, or after a team mistake on a play, Coach Fisher had a tactic that he employed, and we all need to pay attention to it. Here it is: “Next Play!” He would shout this to his team on the floor. That’s the secret! Write it down. What’s that mean? He taught his team to compartmentalize. In other words, forget about what wrong or miscue just happened. Concentrate on what comes next. In his case, he’d call out another play, a different defense, change to a diverse lineup, a different attitude, a different tactic. But the same strategy: challenging, locked-down defense. Screw something up? Put it in a compartment, and don’t look at it again for the rest of the game. Go to the Next Play. So here we all find ourselves at the beginning of 2021, hoping it’s going to be better than 2020. There is an old saying, “If it’s to be—it’s up to me.”   So, if 2020 wasn’t a great year for you and your team, the family, company—you name it—then the ball is literally in your court to make the necessary changes. You’ve heard it said, I’m sure, that one definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, yet expecting a change in results. If you have had enough of 2020, then do something to put it in your rear-view mirror--and accelerate away from it. Agree? Now, what does all of this have to do with a podcast? Nothing—yet everything! For me, the “Brick and Block Podcast” is, literally, my statement to anyone who’ll listen that I’m changing up some things—going to be somewhat different this year than last. I’m going on to the Next Play! QUESTION: What’s the Next Play for you and your company? How do you install a locked-down defense in your life? An easy answer here might be changing up your marketing or advertising approach. Heck, some construction companies do none of either but still hope to increase market share and revenue. Hey, it’s just a suggestion—something to get you thinking about the future—as well as thinking about today. Let me give you three quick tips on things you could easily do or change—or at least think about them.
  1. Website—how’d yours? Is it current—does it still represent your 2021 thinking, or is it something that dates back a few years? And speaking of websites, let me throw this in: do you have one? You would be surprised at how many companies haven’t. A website might have been a geeky idea; these days, your customers expect them from serious companies. Lock it down!
  2. Social media—are you utilizing it? It’s not just something kids do anymore! Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, and Twitter all have ‘business pages.’ All of these help with what is called ‘search engine optimization,’ or SEO for short. They are helpful for people to find your company when they are looking for the services you provide. They have money or budgets and want to spend them with the right company. Is that you? Will they find you? Don’t make it difficult.
  1. Youtube—not only is it all about videos, but it’s also the second-largest search engine in the world. It’s a great place to be found. Do you have videos showing off your company? We’re going to talk about this in an upcoming podcast. 
I could go on, but I won’t, for the moment. One of the reasons for the “Brick and Block Podcast” is that it’s another way for mason contractors, vendors, and suppliers to share ideas and resources. Don’t let the good jobs go away. Lock them down. A great thing about a podcast is that you could be driving to a jobsite and still catch this column at the same time. My Next Play is hosting an audio version of “Full Contact Project Management,” giving you a preference of how you take it in. But more than that, I’m expecting to have MCAA contractors, equipment, and material supplier members be a part of it. What would that be like? Magazine and association staff (even other columnists!) would be a great addition. You guys are all guests! Here’s a Next Play: let’s give you and your company some free publicity. Drop me an email and let me know you’d be willing to record a Zoom call with me:  We could talk about the kind of specialty work you do, the unique materials, or the most recent types of equipment you provide. Or how about this question: What’s the one thing you wish you knew about your industry before joining or starting your company? Maybe…let’s talk about your specialty?  Team, there’s a method to my madness. You are going to see how a tiny—yet comfortable--change can benefit your business greatly. It would be helpful if you’d weigh-in by email and let me know if you’re up for my offer of some publicity, or maybe just to suggest a topic. We will regularly cover marketing and project management—specifically geared to the masonry industry—along with the other issues of most interest, and I’d consider it an honor if you could join me there. You should be able to find the “Brick and Block Podcast” on apps like Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple, I Heart Radio, Amazon Music, and so on. Or, you can just find it on the Web: I’d love to hear from some of you MCAA members, magazine readers, and advertisers who’d be willing to talk by Zoom. We’ll record it and share with everyone what’s working for your business. Your Next Play could benefit a lot of other companies. 
Coach Gary’s Corner: Gary Micheloni is a construction company marketer, speaker, author, consultant…and a coach. Get Coach Gary to speak for your group.  And be sure and tell him about how you are leading! 
Copyright 2021 Gary Micheloni
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