You Can‚Äôt Get Rich With Your Head in a Ditch
Ever feel like the more 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‚Äôt 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‚Äôs easier to do it myself than to delegate or train
___ ¬†¬† ¬†I work more hours than do my managers
___ ¬†¬† ¬†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‚Äôt make decisions without asking me
___ ¬†¬† ¬†My business won‚Äôt work without me
How‚Äôd you do? Does your business work without your making all the decisions and doing all 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. Every year, my company strived to complete $50 million in commercial construction. I don‚Äôt have time to sweat the small stuff. But, to get it all done, I must be able to delegate the work.
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 ‚Äì often until the wee hours of the night. Ever realize the more you do, the less you accomplish? Doing everything for everyone stunts your company‚Äôs growth. Take a look at the items you checked. Which areas can you let go, delegate and train? All it takes is good systems and controls with regular feedback.
Perhaps what‚Äôs holding your company back is you, 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‚Äôt take responsibility. When you fix their problems, they aren‚Äôt accountable. When you control and lead every meeting, they can‚Äôt grow. When you make or approve every purchase, contract and strategy, your people don‚Äôt have to think or be their best. When you don‚Äôt take time to train, your people won‚Äôt get better.
Don‚Äôt control, let go
Think about the last time you took a vacation, and your people had to make decisions on their own. Isn‚Äôt 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 using a low control approach, you get high performance.
Many controlling and stressed-out business owners and managers often say to employees, ‚ÄúPlease handle this, but just don‚Äôt make any decisions without checking with me first.‚Äù When you try to delegate like this, you really haven‚Äôt delegated or let go of responsibility. You can‚Äôt be partially responsible. When you solve your people‚Äôs problems, they bring you more problems to solve. Are you wearing a sign around my neck that says, ‚ÄúBring me your problems?‚Äù This makes you feel large and in charge, while overall performance slides backward.
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‚Äôs 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 the bids, analyze the scope of work, and discuss any questions he may have with you. Then, have him 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‚Äôt performing on a job, do you make the call for him? When I get a similar request from a field superintendent or foreman, this is an indicator that I have a weak employee who can‚Äôt 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 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 goals. To get started delegating, email GH@HardhatPresentations.com for your copy of a BIZ-Builder Org Chart! The only way to grow is to let go. What will you let go?
George Hedley is a licensed, professional business coach, popular professional speaker and best-selling author of ‚ÄúGet Your Business to Work!‚Äù and ‚ÄúThe Business Success Blueprint For Contractors,‚Äù available at his online bookstore. He works with business owners to build profitable growing companies. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to request your free copy of ‚ÄúWinning Ways To Win More Work!‚Äù or sign up for his free monthly e-newsletter. To hire George to speak, be part of his ongoing BIZCOACH program, or join one of his ongoing Roundtable Peer BIZGROUPS, call 800-851-8553 or visit www.HardhatPresentations.com.
George Hedley, HARDHAT Presentations
- 99Last week I was coaching a construction business owner client. He told me his employees were terrible, even though most of them had been with him for five years or more.
- 97During my first seven years building my construction company, I tried to do too much myself. I put all the estimates together and presented the bids; awarded, negotiated and signed all the contracts, subcontracts and change orders...
- 97Years ago the construction business was a lot simpler. All you had to do to be successful was bid it, build it and bill it. To grow your company, you just worked a little harder.