What Positions Do You Need To Fill?

If you were the general manager of a NBA basketball team, one of your top goals would be to have the best players on your team. With only five players on the court at any one time, every one of them is critical to winning. If you don’t do a good job hiring the right players for the right positions, your team won’t win many games. And eventually the fans will stop coming out and spending their money with your company. In other words, the success of your winning team is to have the right players on the floor at all times.

When I coach construction business owners, it is obvious most are stuck doing too much themselves and don’t have enough management help to grow their companies. For whatever reason, they don’t hire or fill these open positions. When you don’t fill positions with people who have the talent, potential or experience to accept full responsibility, your company won’t get to the next level.

Determine what players you need to grow your business.

What players do you need if your company was twice as big doing double the workload and number of projects? What players will help you handle more projects and get more done? What players will allow you to spend more time on your top priorities? Should you hire a junior person with little experience or someone who can start immediately with the experience and knowledge to take over the role required 100%? Will hiring a low priced assistant really free you up or just add more workload to your plate?

Business owners tell me they can’t find any good help. But how much time do they actually dedicate to finding the right players? What you get is a direct result of your priorities and effort. When you don’t take enough time to find, cultivate, and train new players, how do you expect to grow a winning team? Professional sports teams have a full time executive in charge of player personnel - finding the right players, managing their contracts, and keeping them happy. But most small companies don’t spend more than a few hours a year making sure their roster is filled, balanced, robust, or excellent.

Before the annual draft, every professional sport coaching staff makes a list of all their positions and current players to analyze what they need to add, change, or improve. In your company, the draft is now. To get started, make a list of all of your company positions, the talents required at each job, the player currently assigned each position, and then rank how well you think they are doing. To get a copy of a BIZ-Builder ORG Chart, email GH@HardhatPresentations.com.

Player Personnel Ranking Chart

Position Talent Required Player Ranking
Estimator Knows accurate costs Jim C+
  Completes bids on-time Jim A-
  Maximizes sub-bid coverage Jim B-
  Presents company well Jim B
Project Manager Manages budget Bill C+
  Maximizes change orders Bill B
  Keeps customer happy Bill A
  Paperwork on-time Bill B-
Superintendent Finishes jobs on-time Dave A
  Pushes crews to the max Dave B+
  Safe jobsite and no accidents Dave C-
  Coordinates subcontractors Dave B-
Foreman Manages crews and jobsite Sam B-
  Brings jobs in under budget Sam C
  Knows how to build quality Sam A
  Follows company procedures Sam C-
Carpenter Can build per plans Joe A-
  Hustles & works efficiently Joe B
  Takes initiative & action Joe B-
  Team Player & good attitude Joe D
Office Manager Completes tasks on-time Sue B-
  Understands accounting Sue C+
  Understands construction Sue B+
  Team player & good attitude Sue A

By taking a hard look at your player roster and the talent you really need, you can be objective about what you need to do to improve your win & loss record. Using the chart above, you’ll find you have some players who appear to excel at certain parts of their job, while lacking talent in other areas. Superintendent Dave finishes his jobs on-time but doesn’t follow the company safety rules or plan ahead well with subcontractors. This chart makes your choices obvious: 1) keep Dave and allow him to run an unsafe job, 2) give him a chance to improve, or 3) replace him with a better overall superintendent.

Carpenter Joe has been with the company a long time. He works hard, knows what to do, and works efficiently. But his attitude stinks and his negative demeanor permeates throughout the crew and makes everyone miserable. What should you do with him? You may have some players who have been with your company for a long time and are not completely fulfilling the total requirements of the job or improving with the new technology. This forces you to cover for them where they are weak. Is it time to replace them too?

Your business is no different than a professional basketball team. You need every position filled with the best player you can find and afford. You need shooters, forwards, playmakers, rebounders, fast-breakers, passers, and defensive guards. In your company you need the best salespeople, managers, leaders, organizers, coordinators, coaches, and accounting people who keep track of things. When you don’t have the best available, it costs you money and makes it impossible to win your game of business against your competition and customers.

Dump the duds!

Some Fortune 500 companies make it a mandatory requirement that every manager replace at least 10% to 20% of their staff every year. The belief is that at least 10% of people working at their companies should not be working there. Some of these employees have bad attitudes, the wrong talent, or they are in the wrong positions. It is a good thing to encourage poor performers to move on to another company where they can fit in and become the best they can be. After you rank your employees, decide which 10% to 20% shouldn’t work for your company and would be best suited to work for some other employer.

Draft the best!

To find the best people starts by determining what talent you need the most based on your current situation. Think like a professional sports coach. The draft is approaching and soon you will get to pick which type of players you want to go after. Look at your strengths and weaknesses. Where do you need to replace some of your older slower players who can’t keep up with the changing times. Where do you need some new blood or fresh talent? Do you need a leader who will help your business grow? Do you need someone in accounting who will professionalize your business operations and allow you to focus on obtaining more work. Perhaps you need a manager of field operations who will take charge and get your company organized and in-control. Or maybe you need an estimator who can price work accurately and present your company to potential clients in a winning manner.