High Performing Contract - Nov 2011 #98
Nov 2011 – Issue #98
This e-newsletter is dedicated to supporting High-Performing Contractors and all contractors who are working to become one. Written by Dennis Sowards
Contractors are working to improve their company, but too often it doesn’t lead to a greater competitive advantage. That's because the other contractors (A.K.A. the competition) are also trying to improve. Contractors go to the same association meeting and conferences, and read the same trade magazines. Everyone is trying to do the same improvements and while progress is made, they still end up average in the level of progress made!
High-performing contractors are able to make greater progress than the “average” because they have a foundation that enables them to move faster and more effectively. Some of these key foundation characteristics are:
Focusing on customer value-- High-performing cont actors understand that they are in business to serve their customers. They view all plans, actions, policies, and key decisions in the context of delivering increased value to their customers. They are relentless in driving out waste (anything that uses resources without adding value.)
Engage employees-- High-performing cont actors create work environments that actively encourage all employees to participate in making the company better, developing critical thinking skills and working as a team. They don’t just say they respect and trust their employees – they live it.
Manage by key metrics-- High-performing cont actors use a few, meaningful metrics to manage the work. They use both scoreboard and dashboard measures. Scoreboard metrics show if they are “winning” and their success as a company. These measures include customer satisfaction, safety, sales, net profit, return on investment, etc. Dashboard metrics show progress in day to day and week to week in the key performance areas such as bids won, jobs on schedule, percent of planned work being done each week, on-time delivery, quality, etc. Most contractors measure their financial state; the High-performing cont actors use the measures to manage and improve their processes.
Apply process thinking– Key value added processes cross several department lines and usually do not have a process “owner.” By default, no one person is accountable for the whole process, except the president. High-performing cont actors look at the whole process and how the work is handed off across departments. They drive out non-value added steps and wasted resources. They work to create flow so the process delivers on time and is done right the first time. They have a process owner to manage the whole process.
In today’s fast paced world everything is changing and everyone is seeking improvement. The real winners are those to have a rich foundation in high-performance so new improvements are nourished and grow quicker than the competition.
**************** Employee Focus
What do employees want? When asked this question, most managers will answer, “More money.” However, a recent survey of workers by Right Management, part of ManPowerGroup, found that the number one priority for workers considering their next job is the opportunity for advancement. Workers were asked to rate their highest priority in seeking their next job and the results are:
Greater opportunity for advancement – 27%
Better management team – 21%
More flexible work environment – 21%
Better compensation – 17%
Less work pressure – 14%
Even with the down economy workers are not just seeking more pay. They want to grow and be part of a company with a great management team
Many workers feel trapped in their current situation. The High-performing contractor will make great efforts to keep loyal employees. Based on the research, smart managers will work to vary people’s tasks and responsibilities; to create and maintain work teams that collaborate; to cross-train; and to help employees see their career opportunities.
As we reach the end of the year, many companies will conduct employee performance reviews. The managers that “get it” will not focus on compensation discussions, but will address what the employee needs to develop his or her skills to grow within the company and how the manager can help him or her. Money isn’t the top motivator and an employee does need to feel he/she is adequately and fairly paid. However, to engage employees in the company, they need to feel the company is more than a paycheck.
**************** Process Management- 6 Tips to Improve Meetings
High-performing contractors are always trying to find better ways to lead and manage meetings. Here are six useful tips:
1. Require pre-meeting status reports
Have all participants email succinct weekly reports to all attendees prior to the meeting. The email should address four questions:
- What is the goal of the project?
- What actions have been taken since the last report?
- What barriers or problems exist to achieving the objectives?
- What do you need other team players/managers to do to help?
This can reduce the time spent on minor or frivolous topics, especially time related to the status of projects.
2. Beware of holding “weekly” meetings
Automatic, recurring meetings risk being real time wasters. If you leave a meeting without any action steps, you should question the value of the meeting. Gathering people for no other reason than "it’s the weekly meeting" makes little to no sense. Having a meaningful, planned agenda helps avoid this problem.
3. End on time
Even if you start a meeting late - end on time so people know what to expect and can plan accordingly. Don’t plan more on the agenda than can reasonably be covered in the time allotted for the meeting. Cover priorities first. This keeps participants focused, and helps them maintain their calendars effectively.
4. Finish with a Review of Actions Captured.
At the end of every meeting, go around the room and have each person state his/her action items. This usually takes less than 30 seconds per person, and it almost always reveals a few action steps that were missed. The method breeds a sense of accountability. If you state your action steps in-front of your peers, then you are likely to follow through. Someone should record the action steps and each owner as a meeting record.
5. Turn it off
BlackBerrys, iPhones and all smart-phones should be banned during meetings. They are very distracting and disruptive and suck the life out of meetings. Requiring that they stay off and unanswered during meetings, helps keep things on schedule and prevents unnecessary interruptions. One group has a rule that if anyone answers a phone (including text messages) during the meeting the perpetrator had to put $5 into a meeting-treats can used to buy donuts for the team.
6. Minimize distractions
Ever notice the loss of focus that happens when someone walks by the open door during a meeting? Distractions cause a loss of momentum and should be avoided. Focus the meeting away from facing a door or windows. If you can’t do that, shut the door and cover the windows. Be creative, how you reduce the distractions.
We need meetings to do effective collaborative work. Using these six ideas will help the meetings be more beneficial to all participants.
**************** Learning Opportunities
You may be interested in attending one of these training seminars by Dennis Sowards:
Nov. 10, 2011 – Lean Construction– Sponsor: AGC of Utah – Salt Lake City – contact them at (801) 363-2753 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Jan. 26, 2012– Leadership Skills fro the 21st Century- Sponsor – P.I.P.I. & 469 JAC – Phoenix, AZ - contact Cathy Mayeux at email@example.com for details.
Feb. 21, 2012- Eliminating Treasure Hunts – Applying the 5S’s for Lean Construction - Sponsor – P.I.P.I. & 469 JAC – Phoenix, AZ - contact Cathy Mayeux at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
March 22, 2012- Advanced Lean Techniques– Sponsor: P.I.P.I. & 469 JAC – Phoenix, AZ - contact Cathy Mayeux at email@example.com for details.
April 11, 2011 – Delivering Excellent Customer Relations – For Service Technicians - Sponsor – P.I.P.I. & 469 JAC – Phoenix, AZ - contact Cathy Mayeux at firstname.lastname@example.org for details
April 26, 2012- Designing and Achieving World-Class Performance in Construction- Sponsor – P.I.P.I. & 469 JAC – Phoenix, AZ - contact Cathy Mayeux at email@example.com for details.
Ma7 9, 2012 – Lean in the Service World- Sponsor – P.I.P.I. & 469 JAC – Phoenix, AZ - contact Cathy Mayeux at firstname.lastname@example.org for details
May 24, 2012- Job Planning That Really Works- Sponsor – P.I.P.I. & 469 JAC – Phoenix, AZ - contact Cathy Mayeux at email@example.com for details.
If you are interested in bring one of these workshops to your company or association, please contact Dennis Sowards.
**************** Thought for the day
“Le sens commun n’est pas si commun.” Or--Common sense is not so common.
Voltaire, French author and philosopher (1694-1778)
For more information about the High-Performing Contractor assessment process contact Dennis Sowards at 480-835-1185 or at dennis@YourQSS.com (see www.YourQSS.com)
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