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Sandbaggers on Your Team


Golfers who pad their handicap to gain a competitive advantage are often called sandbaggers. They keep their handicap artificially high so they get a few extra strokes from their opponents when playing match play. The term ‘sandbagger’ comes from the concept of filling your golf bag with some sand so it’s heavier than normal, causing you to get tired and not play up to your potential. In order to keep their handicaps higher than they should be, sandbaggers do little things like missing short putts on purpose when they don’t need to make a putt to win a hole. And then, when they need to win an important match, they take the sand out of their bag and play their best. Not an honest way to compete.

Construction business owners, project managers, and field supervisors have lots of things to do every day to keep their balls rolling toward the target. They often get overloaded and don’t take enough time to do everything perfectly like they know they should. After a while, they get in the habit of doing things the easiest or fastest way, and take short cuts to get things done. This reduces their bottom-line results. Think of the little things in your business you know you should do to play your best game every day. When you don’t follow sound business principles, added costs, small problems, or costly mistakes add up and significantly weigh you down. This drags your bottom line lower than it could be.

For example, when you keep poor employees on your payroll too long, or continually use the same supplier without getting other bids, you’re saving time but costing yourself money. When you continue working for bad customers rather than seeking new ones, or not taking the time to focus on collecting your receivables faster, you’re saving time but losing small amounts of money that add up significantly over the long haul. When you do extra work without signed change orders, or only offer what is on the plans and specifications to get awarded jobs, you’re saving time while not maximizing your bottom line.

Even if you are too busy, stressed-out, or overloaded, you still have options and choices available to do a better job and make more money. There are other tools to help you get out of the rough, back on the fairway, make more putts, and play up to your full potential all the time. You can get the unnecessary sand out of your bag and increase your company bank account.

Clean out the deadwood

Who on your crew or staff causes you the most grief, doesn’t do a good job, or has a bad attitude? These poor performers are impacting everyone on your team and bringing them down. Poor performers should be cleaned out, fired, and removed fast. Think of employees as trees in the forest. When they die, run out of life, or stop growing, they become deadwood. Deadwood gets in the way, is a fire hazard, and causes you to trip or fall as you move forward. When you let the deadwood remain, you tolerate poor performance. When you don’t remove or clean out deadwood, other employees have to put up with them, work around them, cover for them, and make excuses for them. Additionally, your good employees lose respect for a boss who won’t do what’s right in a timely manner and accepts less than the best from his people.

You probably think you are too busy to get rid of your deadwood employees and find some new people to do a better job. You probably think you can’t find any good help. But, by doing nothing with poor performers, you’re avoiding tough decisions and losing more money than you can imagine. One dead tree can reduce your crew efficiency by as much as 25 percent. Make a list of your employees and rate them on the skills you need them to have to be efficient and proficient in their duties. Also, rate their attitude, teamwork, enthusiasm, and aptitude. And rate them on their desire to take on more accountability, responsibility, and leadership. Through this process, you’ll discover your valuable employees, those who can improve, and those who shouldn’t work for you.

It’s not your fault that that as many as ten to twenty percent of your employees might not be the right fit to work for you or your company. You shouldn’t feel badly about realizing that not everyone you hired was the right employee to work for your company. You did your best hiring them. But some people eventually didn’t fit the required job description or aspire to excellence in your company’s environment. In other words, a few of your employees are working at the wrong place. It is not good for them or for you, and they need to move on and find a place where they’ll contribute in a positive way. Feel good about cleaning out the deadwood. It’s good for you, your employees, and those who’ll be leaving your company. So get out your axe and trim out the deadwood. Then make it your priority to find positive people who’ll make your company a better place.

Business - Commercial Construction Industry

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This article contains general information only. Sunflower Bank is not, by means of this article, rendering accounting, financial, investment, legal, tax, or other professional advice or services. This article is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, before making any decisions related to these matters, you should consult a qualified professional advisor.