July 2015: Business Building

Words: George Hedley

Know the Score to Win the Game

George-HedleyBy George Hedley

Playing a sport without knowing the score doesn’t bring out the best in your players. Imagine coaching a basketball team without keeping score. You would put in the best players you have, call plays designed to outscore the opponent, and hope to finish the game with more points on the scoreboard. But without a scoreboard, how would you know if you were winning or losing? The construction business is like sports. Without a scoreboard, players and managers don’t have a clue when they’re winning the game. The game of business is won by being under budget, ahead of plan, making money, finishing faster, or beating the competition. Without knowing how you are doing, you can’t know when you are winning or when to change the plays, players or strategy.

No score equals no game

If you earned your living as a professional coach, how long would you last if your winning strategy was to tell your players to “do their best” and “work as hard as you can,” without letting them know the score and giving them specific milestones to shoot for? Most business owners and managers never stop and take time to write out their company targets and goals for the upcoming year. Specific company targets could include: sales revenue, gross profit, overhead, net profit, profit growth, debt reduction, average project size, number of new customers, new market penetration, proposal-hit ratio, stockholder distributions, and company value. Before you start a project, get the estimator, project manager, field superintendent, and foreman together to set overall project goals. Hold a pre-job team meeting to get everyone on the same page. Sit down to plan the project and develop some targets and goals including: estimated versus final profit, proposed versus final completion date, production crew hours, equipment hours, general conditions costs, safe work days, call-backs or punch-list items, customer satisfaction, increased  change order revenue, and prompt payments. From there, follow up with weekly and monthly project team meetings. At the end of the project, hold a general review meeting to decide where you can improve and refine your goals for the next project.

Keep track and provide frequent feedback

Setting goals is just the start of achieving what you want to accomplish. Too often, in small companies, a tracking system or providing feedback to players rarely occurs with those who actually do the work. Players need to know how they’re doing during the game if you want winning results. The more often players can see the score, the more often they can make necessary adjustments required to win games. To track company goals, monthly feedback is mandatory. Project teams and field crews need to know their score weekly, so they can make strategic adjustments before it is too late. People who have written goals are twice as successful as those who don’t. Start with your overall company goals, and then write project and individual goals that will contribute to your overall company success. Incorporate goals into your company mindset. If your priority is to improve field productivity, stick to the program and make sure your team knows it’s a top priority and what the milestones and deadlines are. Otherwise, it is too easy to get sidetracked by “urgent” job problems and miss your annual target. To help you get started, email GH@HardhatPresentations.com to get your copy of “Write Winning Targets & Goals.” When you set goals keep score and, track your progress, and let your team know the score on a frequent basis, you will win more games.
George Hedley works with contractors to build profitable growing companies. He is a professional business coach, popular speaker and best-selling author of “Get Your Business To Work!” available online at www.HardhatPresentations.com. Sign up for his free e-newsletter, join his next webinar, be part of a BIZCOACH program, or get a discount coupon for online classes at www.HardhatBizSchool.com or email GH@HardhatPresentations.com. George Hedley – HARDHAT Presentations, 800-851-8553   
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