Consistency is one of the most overused words in the workplace, especially in job descriptions. What company isn’t looking for consistent employees? The employees that show up at the same time every day, puts out the same effort, and delivers the same results. It sounds like a perfect scenario, but there is evil lurking within. The problem with consistency is that it breeds complacency.
If our sole purpose in business is to produce the same every day, we will never drive growth. Our company will never produce better quality, gain more leads, or turn more profit. Consistency is an adversary of a growing construction business.
Our businesses do not start out complacent, but the majority of small construction companies end up that way. When we first start, we scratch and claw for every lead we can get, read all of our trade manuals, talk with other business owners, and anything else we think will help us grow our company to a solid income level. The problem lies when we make it to that solid income level.
Complacency via consistency can creep into any business, or individual mindset. We have been programmed our whole life to be consistent. Consistent in school, behavior, sports, and everything else. It seems inconceivable that consistency is the problem with most businesses, but the line between consistency and complacency is often blurred. Blurred to a point of stagnation within a corporation. The “we have always done it this way” mentality.
Our company went through a 10-year period of stagnation. We even spent a couple years in contraction, trying to figure out what activities generated the most profit. Our shock and awe moment came when my father and I went into full partnership. The net profit was now split, and we needed to generate more income to retain our standard of living.
This first push in over a decade to grow was when I realized that our consistency had morphed into complacency, and it was companywide. Everyone was showing up, producing the same thing day in and day out. It was extremely evident in our gross sales and net profit numbers, complacency had set in.
It was a process to convince the entire company that business as usual was no longer company policy. We widened our profit sharing plan to include more than just top tier employees, and started explaining profit, loss, and company direction. This open-book type policy helped identify the employees that had the drive to see the company succeed, and quickly rooted out the ones that wanted no part of growth.
If you are not dedicated to improvement in process, quality, and profit, complacency has set in. Not all businesses want to grow, and that is understandable, but all businesses should have a set of goals that it works toward. Some pick growth targets, others should pick profit margin targets, turnover rates, closing rates, or any other part of the business that could use improvement. Every business has an area they could improve, even mine.