Tips for Improving Your Construction Company and Projects in 2016

A new year brings new opportunity

So here we are almost a solid month into a brand new year!  As many of us struggle to hold on to those New Year’s resolutions that will make us a better person by 2017,  let’s not lose sight of the fact that research suggests that 1 in 3 of us will ditch our vows by the end of January.  So, instead of writing about how to lose 20 pounds by spring, in this article, we will focus on tangible tips for greater success on your upcoming construction projects and how to make your company better in 2016.

The beginning of a new year is also a time for contemplation of the previous year, and time to speculate, consider and wish for this year to be better. As you do so, you are no doubt wishing for company growth, increased profits, successful projects and a year with few problems. But have you really thought how you’ll achieve these goals? Do you have a plan?

Before becoming totally immersed in the hassles, problems and work in the New Year, take time to consider how you will improve your company and the way your projects are managed. Why not put some simple New Year’s resolutions in place and keep them!

Try some of these resolutions:

  1. Training – investing in your employees and yourself with appropriate training will yield dividends.  Contractors tend to put training off for all sorts of reasons.  The reality is contractors simply cannot afford to NOT adequately train their staff.  For this reason, it’s no surprise that contractors on ENR’s top 400 companies, each year, take investing in their employee’s development, through training, very seriously.  Start your training plan today!  ABC’s TCP program is a good place to start:  www.training4contractors.org Training will definitely pay dividends.
  2. Improve communication with your team. Do they know where the company and projects are going? Are they focusing on issues that require their attention?
  3. Effective delegation is an art that needs to be practiced. It motivates and empowers our employees. However delegating responsibility shouldn’t meant you abdicate responsibility – relinquishing control. You need to follow-up without micro-managing. Also, ensure the person has sufficient knowledge and support to complete the task delegated to them. Again, training employees will better equip them to take more responsibility, allowing you to focus on more important things – or maybe even spend some time with your family.
  4. Make time to visit your projects. Some managers don’t visit their projects as often as they should. Yet, this is where money is made or lost. This is where your company’s reputation is built or destroyed. Visit your projects and get an understanding of how well they are run. Add value on your visits, ask questions, talk to employees (they’ll appreciate it) and talk to your clients.
  5. Lead and motivate your team. You will be amazed at what a motivated and inspired team can accomplish.
  6. Say thank you. This is something we often forget to do. Congratulate your team or an individual on a job well done.  Offering even small incentives on a job well done goes a long way and encourages individuals to do even better next time.
  7. Consider new technology. Many of us become fixed in our tried and established old ways. Yet, there’s new technology out there that can be helpful. Unfortunately not all technology may be appropriate for your needs, so do your research well. Of course new technology will only be beneficial if you have buy-in from employees, and provided they’re trained to use it properly.
  8. Clear out dead wood. Sometimes we hang onto some employees who aren’t pulling their weight because we feel sorry for them as they’ve been with the company forever. This year may be the time to have a serious conversation with them, and if they can’t or won’t improve their ways, let them go after following due procedures.
  9. Improve your market intelligence. Ensure you know what’s happening around you, what new projects are coming up and what your competitors are up to. Often we’re so focused on managing our projects, or company, that we don’t see what’s happening in the world around us and miss opportunities. Start tracking future projects, delegate individuals to follow particular projects, talk to clients and encourage employees to keep you informed of future work opportunities.
  10. Celebrate success. We’re often so busy we don’t stop to celebrate winning a new project, or successfully reaching a project milestone. Success is inspiring and motivating. Your team wants to know that they belong to a successful team.
  11. Lastly and most importantly – Spend time with your family. Don’t let working long hours and on weekends become a routine. Plan short vacations or weekends away with the family now. Before you know it you will be half way through the year and you won’t have spent quality time with your family. Learn to leave your work at your office…yup that includes emails too!

Conclusion

Don’t let another year go past without making a few necessary changes. Take action now on some of these points and you’ll be able to look back at the end of 2016 with a sense of achievement.

(Written by Paul Netscher, author of ‘Successful Construction Project Management: The Practical Guide’ and ‘Building a Successful Construction Company: The Practical Guide’. Visit www.pn-projectmanagement.com )