News & Headlines
5 Secrets to Surviving the Economy
By: Gregory Parr, Founder & President
It is no secret that the construction industry has faced dramatic changes over the past five years. Growth has become increasingly challenging as project spending has fallen across the industry. In order to survive, construction companies have realized the need to refine their business principles throughout this period. As our company went through this process, we developed five essential secrets for survival.
First, there is a foundational importance of accountability in your business practices. Without accountability, no “secret for success” will be impactful, and you’ll produce less than adequate results for the company as well as your clients. Much like the “waves of trust” described in Stephen M.R. Covey’s book, The Speed of Trust, accountability can be established by starting to build accountability with you. Then, you can expand your circle of trust and accountability to your direct relationships, company, clients, marketplace, and society. Once you’ve implemented individual and company accountability measures, then you’ll be ready to unlock these other valuable secrets.
1. Clearly Defined Vision and Goals
A fine-tuned, well-communicated, and universally understood guideline for success removes the guesswork out of decision-making. Following the teaching Jim Collins presented in his book, Good to Great, he says, “First [get] the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats. And then [figure] out where to drive it.” An emphasis on vision before the journey begins will help to clearly outline who is required to do what, where, and when. Then, people will either fit the profile, be moved to another “seat,” or get off the bus all together.
The emphasis on communicating the vision is foremost. As the marketing saying goes, you need to have seven “touches” before you can effectively communicate your message. That same standard is true for communicating the company vision. It will gain value when the vision is constantly communicated among employees, so that everyone understands what is expected.
2. Add Value to the Client’s Experience
There are few more valuable things in business than being considered an asset to your client, rather than a liability. When it really comes down to the tires hitting the pavement, you build trust most quickly by leveraging every advantage available to go above and beyond for a client. This translates into long-term relationships, referrals, and repeat business.
3. Build Long-Term Relationships
There are no shortcuts to developing lasting relationships. It takes time and dedication to carefully understand exactly what the other party requires. Valuable relationships start by identifying how to offer benefits in the relationship. If you take a step back, it doesn’t look like a zero-sum equation, but more like a progressively improving back-and-forth, where each party gains a little over time. Whether you are engaged with a client or a subcontractor, the secret to success is mutual respect in order to advance the relationship.
Communicate frankly, but respectfully. Work on it every single day.
5. Technology and Education
Technology and education go hand-in-hand in delivering higher quality, more effective outcomes for our clients. Utilizing cloud-based applications, mobile computing, and industry-accredited certifications raises the bar in terms of the way we interact and service customers. Technology and education reinforce lean principles and make it possible for cost-savings to be realized more often.
Increased collaborative efforts, more readily available information online, and electronic document distribution also have changed the atmosphere of almost every industry. Staying on top of technology enables quick, reliable ways to help clients and reach out to prospects. The importance of being on the leading curve of technology is the difference between being one in a hundred and one in three.
As seen in the July 23, 2012 issue of Daily Herald Business Ledger
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