The Buck Stops Here! - Take Responsibility for Results

Construction industry business owners and managers continue to be stuck in the past! They fail to realize by squeezing out the last drop of productivity, cutting their overhead and costs to the bone, working harder, and continuing to do business the same way with the same old customers and project types won’t cut it today. I’ve been getting lots of e-mails asking what should companies do as the market remains flat or starts to improve. When companies don’t get the results they want, it's not their competition, the economy, or their people. It’s usually the leader who has gotten stuck and is not willing to try new ideas or change! And therefore not getting the results they need.

Start At The Top!

Company owners are 100% responsible for everything in their company: sales, profits, growth, quality, customer service, organizational systems, people, productivity, cash-flow, and management. In other words, the buck stops at the top. Weak leaders blame poor results on circumstances beyond their control. Weak leaders sit and wait for something to happen, hope customers call, want the economy to turn around, or wish some other miraculous event occurs quickly to change their fate. All while they don’t do anything different or decisive to make results happen on their own. Leaders have to do something and take responsibility for their future. Now! (Or never.)

I drove by a well-located Sears department store and their parking lot was empty while the rest of the shopping center was jammed full. Sears can blame their decline on Wal-Mart, Target, or the internet. But in reality, the leaders of Sears were stuck in the past and made decisions to do nothing and not change their business model, customers, image, products, services, and pricing. Rather than trying innovative products or unique concepts, they keep offering the same tired old comfortable things and didn’t change how they do business hoping something would get better. The leaders hoped their new competition would go away and customers would keep buying from a business that was out of touch. The leaders didn’t do what they needed to do. They had no vision or innovation and were afraid to try new things. They got eaten alive and now continue to scramble to keep up with their competition.

Change Me First!

Getting great results in this economy is an indicator of the leader’s vision and innovation. Real leaders make quick decisive decisions to adjust and stay ahead of changing business climates. Poor leaders wait for something to happen and complain about everything except their own performance. Business owners rarely come into the office and say, "I've made a decision I need to change how I manage, how I lead, and the direction of the company.” Poor leaders walk into the office and say: "My employees are too slow and aren’t making it happen. My customers are wanting lower prices and don’t pay us fast enough. My competitors are too cheap and willing to work for next to nothing. I can’t make enough profit. Therefore, everyone will have to work harder and we’ll have to cut costs.”

Effective leaders realize they must have the courage to change themselves first before anyone will follow their lead. They must have a vision of where they’re going, be willing to try new markets, different customers, additional project types, and go against the grain. Over ninety percent of employees rate their company leadership below excellent. Employees don’t see business owners taking charge and going for the winner’s circle in these times.

Are You Doing Something?

I speak at lots of conventions to contractors, entrepreneurs, business owners, and managers. The common business challenge is to grow and make a profit. This only starts with the business owner having a dynamic focused vision employees get excited about. People want to follow a leader on a mission. They won’t follow someone who is negative and complains about problems, the economy, the competition, and why they can’t compete. Leaders who really lead, stand up and say: "Here's where we're going, the changes we need to make, and how we’ll make it happen." Instead of: "Work harder and we'll see how it works out; and if we do well, maybe we'll be able to stay in business and survive." This attitude doesn't make people excited about coming to work and improving the bottom-line.

What’s Your Innovative Exciting Vision?

Effective leaders start with a new innovative vision and connect it to specific measurable results. Some companies have visions to be the best company, offer the best service, or provide the best quality. While that's an O.K. vision, it’s not exciting. Examples of exciting visions: Be the leader in cutting-edge technology and innovative solutions while providing customers a unique finished project delivered significantly faster than the industry norm. Or be the ‘go to’ company for building difficult complex projects that require technical expertise and engineering.

What’s Your Target?

After defining your exciting vision, specific results must be targeted to quantify your goals. For example, if your vision is to be the fastest service provider, determine what specific measurable results enhance your bottom-line. Some specific measurable targets can include: a referral from every customer, no installation errors, or 98% on-time completion. What specific targets and numbers can you shoot for to realize your vision and get the results you want? To get your copy of George’s ‘Write Winning Targets & Goals, email [email protected]

It’s Time To Stop The Buck!

Ask everyone at your company: "What's the innovative vision of our company? What are we trying to accomplish and our top three priorities? What specific targets are we shooting for?” You'll get 37 different answers if you have 37 people in your company. To get bottom-line results, get everyone on the same page from top to bottom.

Leading and getting results starts with you. Change, innovate, and try new ways of doing business, new project types, new customers, and new markets. Communicate your exciting vision clearly. Define specific targets with expected results. And make it happen! You can sit and wait, or stand up and get your company moving again. What’s your choice? Only you can decide if you will start the bucks rolling your way.