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November 2011: Business Building

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Most companies, managers, project teams and field crews don’t have a clue when they hit a homerun or do a good job. Employees are told to do their best or work as hard as they can, but not given specific milestones for which to shoot.

Most companies and managers never sit down and write out their company or project goals before they start a new job. And then, feedback and review of success or failure rarely is discussed with those who actually do the work. These facts were discovered, based on a recent survey I conducted with more than 2,000 construction industry companies.

Do you aim at anything?
You may know exactly what your profit and sales goals are. But, only 46 percent of companies surveyed set and track progress toward their annual profit and sales targets. The rest seemingly just try to do as much as they can, and remain satisfied with whatever they get.

Do you have specific, written targets for every area of your business? You are in the majority if you don’t. The survey shows only 30 percent have clear targets for their overhead budgets, 24 percent for safety, 17 percent for customer service, 12 percent for employee development, 8 percent for repeat customers, and 6 percent for bid-success ratio. This lack of targets affects everyone from the top, down: Less than 29 percent say their field employees have specific, written goals for any area of their work.

Baseball without batting averages?
Can you imagine a baseball team for which the coach didn’t have a team goal for winning games, and players didn’t have individual goals for hitting, fielding or pitching? Sadly, most companies send their teams onto the field without targets. At the project level, only 40 percent set clear goals for job profit, 30 percent for schedule, and 29 percent for productivity.  Even in companies that do set goals, only 38 percent ever tell their employees what they are.

The result: Most management, field and administrative players don’t know when they get a hit or make an error, what a good batting average is, or if they win the game.

Aim at something
The truth is that people who have written goals are twice as successful as those who don’t. The first step to success is simple: just write your targets down. To set your goals use my swat.com method:

S = Specific
W = Written
A = Attainable
T = Time-Deadline
.
C = Challenging & Clear
O = On-Purpose, On-Target
M = Measurable

Start with your overall company goals, and then write project and individual goals. If a company goal is to finish every project on time, each project must have written goals with specific action steps. Use this goal worksheet example to set your goals:

  • Project Goal: Finish project on-time
  • Deadline: Complete project by July 31
  • Action step 1 – Get project team together
  • Action step 2 – Identify resources and responsibilities
  • Action step 3 – Set project team meeting schedule
  • Action step 4 – Implement weekly field review
  • Action step 5 – Track progress weekly and adjust resources

Incorporate goals into your company mindset. If your priority is to stick to a schedule, assure your team knows it’s a priority, and what the milestones and deadlines are. Otherwise, it is too easy to get sidetracked by “urgent” job problems and miss your targets.


George Hedley is author of “Get Your Business to Work!” and “The Business Success Blueprint For Contractors,” available at his online bookstore. As an entrepreneur, popular speaker and business coach, he helps business owners build profitable companies. Email gh@hardhatpresentations.com to request your free copy of “Everything Contractors Know About Making A Profit!” or sign up for his free monthly e-newsletter. To hire George, attend a Profit-Builder Circle boot camp or be a part of an ongoing coaching and mentoring program, call 800-851-8553, or visit www.hardhatpresentations.com.

George Hedley, HARDHAT Presentations
3300 Irvine Ave. #135,
Newport Beach, CA 92660

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