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You Can't Get Rich with Your Head in a Ditch


Ever feel like the more work you do yourself the less you get done? Most business owners work far too hard for the return they get. They have too many details to handle and not enough time to focus on the big things that make them the most money. See how you operate by taking this true/false test:

Does My Business Work Without Me?

____ I make most of the day- to- day business decisions

____ I can’t find any accountable or responsible help

____ I do the hiring, firing, purchasing, pricing, and sales

____ I like to be in control and in charge

____ It’s easier to do it myself than delegate or train

____ I work more hours than my managers do

____ I feel guilty when I leave work early

____ I never have enough time to do what I want to do

____ Customers call me on most important issues

____ My people don’t make decisions without asking me

____ My business won’t work without me

How’d you do? Does your business work without you making all the decisions and doing all of the important work? Each true answer is an area for improvement and an indicator of what you must do differently to get better results. Your people want to do great work, be accountable, and make good decisions, but something or someone is holding them back.

Are You Getting a Return on Your Energy?

As a business owner or manager, you need to get a huge return on your time. If your company is striving to complete $50 million in commercial construction every year, you don’t have time to sweat the small stuff. But, to get it all done, you need to be able to delegate to others to get the work done.

What Are You Responsible for?

___ hiring, firing, and personnel issues

___ purchasing materials, tools, and equipment

___ awarding subcontracts and negotiating change orders

___ marketing, sales, proposals, and estimating

___ project management and job meetings

___ scheduling crews and subcontractors

___ approving bills, invoicing, and collecting

Look in the Mirror

You name it, if it has to be done, you do it, and often until the wee hours of the night. Ever realize that the more you do, the less you accomplish? Doing everything for everyone stunts your company’s growth. Take a look at which items you checked. Which areas can you let go of, delegate, or train? All it takes is good systems and controls with regular feedback.

Perhaps what’s holding your company back is you. Are you the problem, as you attempt to make every decision, do too much yourself, and control everything and everybody? Take a hard look at your management style. Are you holding your people back from accepting responsibility and being accountable? When you make every decision for them, they won’t take responsibility. When you fix their problems, they aren’t accountable. When you control and lead every meeting, they can’t grow. When you make or approve every purchase, contract, and strategy, your people don’t have to think or be their best. When you don’t take time to train, your people won’t get better.

Don’t Control, Let Go

Think about the last time you took a vacation and your people had to make decisions on their own. Isn’t it amazing how things get done without your constant input? When you operate in an environment of high control, you get low performance from your people. And when you trust people to do their best without your constant supervision, and use a low control approach, you get high performance.

Many controlling and stressed-out business owners and managers often say to their employees, “Please handle this, but don’t make any decisions without checking with me first.” When you delegate like that, you really haven’t delegated or let go of responsibility. You can’t be partially responsible. When you solve your people’s problems, they bring you more problems to solve. Are you wearing a sign around your neck that says “Bring me your problems?” This may make you feel large and in-charge, but overall performance will suffer.

If in Doubt, Delegate

When a project owner calls you about a field problem, do you immediately handle it yourself and get right back to him? Try listening politely and then turn your customer over to your project manager or superintendent to take care of the situation. When it’s time to award a major subcontract or a large material purchase, do you get right into the middle of negotiations? Instead, ask your project manager to review all of the bids, analyze the scope of work, discuss any questions they may have with you, and then have them award the order to the lowest responsible qualified bidder without your final approval.

When a superintendent or foreman asks you to call a problem subcontractor or supplier who isn’t performing on a job, do you make the call for them? A request from a field superintendent or foreman to make the call for them may be an indicator that you have a weak employee who can’t get subcontractors to perform without help from the office. This is not acceptable. When you have to make the tough phone calls, you are letting your people off the hook and not making them perform their job responsibilities.

By getting your head out of the ditch, your results can be incredible: higher profit while doing less, more loyal customers, and employees who love to work for your company. You can build a great place to work where people can grow, take responsibility and be accountable to meet your company’s goals. The only way to grow is to let go. What will you let go of?

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.