By George Hedley
Most companies, managers, project teams and field crews don’t have a clue when they hit a homerun. Employees are told to ‘do your best,’ or ‘work as hard as you can,’ but not given specific milestones to shoot for. 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 is rarely discussed with those who actually do the work. These facts and more were discovered based on a recent survey I conducted with over 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 towards their annual profit and sales targets. The rest must just try to do as much as they can and stay 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% have clear targets for their overhead budget, 24% for safety, 17% for customer service, 12% for employee development, 8% for repeat customers, and 6% for bid-success ratio. This lack of targets affects everyone from the top down: less than 29% say their field employees have specific written goals for any area of their work.
Baseball Without Batting Averages?
Can you imagine a baseball team where 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 to aim for. At the project level, only 40% set clear goals for job profit, 30% for schedule, and 29% for productivity. Even in companies who do set goals, only 38% 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’s a good batting average, or if they win the game!
Aim At Something!
The truth is that people who have written goals are twice as successful than 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:
C Challenging & Clear
Start with your overall company goals, 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 31st
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 & adjust resources
Incorporate goals into your company mindset. If your priority is to stick to a schedule, make sure 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.
Your #1 Priority Is To Keep Your # 1 Priority Your #1 Priority!
Set Weekly Targets
Use Monday morning team meetings to get your people together and stay on target. Set weekly goals, write them down and give each team member a specific target to hit, regardless of their position. For example, to stay on schedule for this week, dig 500 lineal feet of pipe, or complete all touch-up painting for the project, or get all outstanding change orders approved by Friday.
Set Monthly Goals
Get your team together monthly to review progress on your targets such as customer satisfaction, quality, safety, productivity, profit, and schedule. Also consider setting goals for general conditions, estimated job costs vs. final costs, and labor and equipment budget vs. actual.
Set Pre-Project Milestones
Before you start a project, get the estimator, project manager, field superintendent, and foreman together to set overall project goals. Hold a pre-job team meeting to discuss the targets and get everyone on the same page. From there, follow up with weekly and monthly project team meetings. At the end of the project, hold a general review meeting to decide where you can improve and refine your goals for the next project.
Aim at something, write it, track it, communicate it, and hit it out of the park every time!
George Hedley owns a $75 million construction and development company and Hardhat Presentations. He speaks to companies on building profitable businesses, leadership, and loyal customers. He holds 3-day in-depth “Profit-Builder Circles” open to construction company owners in an interactive roundtable format every 3 months. His “Profit-Builder System” includes proven tools to always make a profit, build equity, create wealth, win profitable jobs, motivate your people, and enjoy the benefits of owning a profitable company.