2019, where did it go so fast? The last few years have been tough for many. Some of you will look back on 2019 and curse the gods of construction that were against you, subcontractors that let you down, the weather, politicians, uncooperative clients, competitors that undercut your prices, employees, the economy, in fact usually everybody and anyone. But this serves little purpose.
The end of the year is a time to contemplate the past year and consider the coming year. It’s the time of year when many make New Year’s resolutions. These include; getting fit, losing weight, stopping smoking, drinking less, taking up a new hobby, managing stress, changing jobs and spending more time with the family.
Unfortunately, few successfully keep these resolutions because they’re often poorly thought through, spur of the moment decisions (sometimes made after a few drinks), or because they just seemed like the right thing to say and do. There’s no plan on how to go about keeping the resolution. So other than providing some optimism, and a brief feeling of good, they often achieve little.
What will you be wishing for in 2020? No doubt you are wishing for company growth, increased profits, successful projects, a developing career, more family time, good health, less stress and a year with few problems. But have you really thought about how you’ll achieve these aims? Do you have a plan? How will you make 2020 better than in 2019?
Before you get totally immersed in the hassles, problems and work in the New Year, take some time to consider things you could improve in your company, your projects, and your everyday life. Why not put some New Year’s resolutions in place, and keep them.
Construction Project Resolutions
Investing in your employees and yourself with appropriate training will yield dividends. We always put training off because it never seems the right time. We are too busy. Our team is too busy. We don’t have money. People will leave the company after they’ve received training. Stop making excuses. Guess what – there will never be time unless we make time! Having skilled employees can provide huge benefits to you and the company and is usually money well spent. People appreciate learning new skills and will more likely stay with a company they see is investing in their future. Prepare a training schedule now. Of course make sure the training is effective and useful, and not just training for the sake of training.
2. Invest in new technology
Many of us become stuck in our tried and tested old ways. However, there is new technology out there that can be hugely beneficial. Of course, make sure that it is appropriate and get buy-in from your team. Don’t be left behind by your competitors!
3. Market intelligence
Ensure you know what is happening around you, what new projects are coming up and what your competitors are up to. Often we are 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 tracking forthcoming projects to individuals in the company, talk to clients, and encourage employees to keep you informed of possible future projects. Gathering market intelligence and finding new work is a team effort, and everyone in the company needs to understand the important active role they can play.
4. Effective delegation
It's an art that needs to be practiced. Delegating work empowers and motivates our employees. People feel more trusted. Delegating work will give you more time to look at the bigger picture stuff, talk to clients, plan for the future, maybe even spend more time with the family. However, delegating responsibility shouldn’t mean you abdicate responsibility. You need to follow-up without micro-managing. Also, ensure that the person has sufficient knowledge and support to carry out the task delegated to them.
5. Make time to walk your projects
Being on the project site, at the “coal face”, gives you a feeling for how well the project is run. Add value as you go around, look at safety, quality and productivity, and greet your team (they’ll appreciate it) and talk to your clients.
6. Communicate with your team
Do they know where the company and projects are going? Are they focused on where they should be? Often we are so focused on where we are going that we neglect to keep those around us informed. Lead and motivate your team. You will be amazed at what a motivated and inspired team can accomplish.
7. Improve tendering or pricing systems
Look at your pricing procedures. Study your price submissions. Are they acceptable? Could they be done better? What percentage of tenders do you win? This year may be the time to invest in new pricing software, look at ways of improving your submissions and maybe even be more selective in the projects you price. If you lose a bid, try and understand why what you could have done differently.
It’s not always only about the price! You need to sell your company to clients, convincing them that you are professional and can deliver the project they’re looking for. Pricing shouldn’t be a shotgun approach – firing off as many prices as possible hoping that one of them will hit the target. Learn to be more selective, then put every effort into winning the projects that you have the best chance of winning, and the projects that will be most beneficial to the company.
8. Learn new ways and methods
Don’t get trapped in always doing things the same way. Be prepared to ask questions. Look around. Investigate other options. Be prepared to learn from others.
9. Say thank you
This is something we often don’t do enough of. Congratulate your team, or an individual, for a job well done. A little appreciation goes a long way – it can make a huge difference to your team.
10. Spend time with your family
Don’t let working long hours and on weekends become a routine. Plan a few weekends away with the family now. Before you know it you will be halfway through the year and you won’t have had a weekend away. Learn to leave your work at your office.
11. Celebrate success
We are 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.
Don’t let another year go past without making a few necessary changes. Before we know it 2020 will be half gone! Take action now on just a few of these points and you’ll certainly be able to look back at the end of 2020 with a sense of achievement.
Write down the resolutions you want to implement. Include a short plan on how you’ll tackle them. Then, don’t forget to monitor progress throughout the year.
Make this year a new beginning. Don’t let this become another forgotten New Year’s resolution! You can make the difference with some planning and a little effort.
How do you plan to transform your company, your projects and your career this year? Please share your thoughts.
If you put some of these ideas into practice please don’t forget to give us feedback on how they helped you.