Most construction business owners don’t like to set a rigid schedule every week. They want the flexibility to jump immediately on the issue and take care of it. Because owners like to be in control, putting out fires becomes their way of doing business. Therefore, they don’t want to schedule regular monthly or weekly meetings. When they finally decide to put regular meetings on their calendar, owners always find more urgent reasons to cancel or postpone these meetings until next week or never, whichever comes first!
Meetings Make Life Better!
Well-managed contractors are well managed by the owner and management team. These top contractors have regularly scheduled management meetings allowing them to stay in touch with their estimators, project managers, field supervisors and foremen. Meetings allow managers to leverage their time and be the leader instead of the “make every decision” supervisor, constant decision-maker and full-time problem-solver. Meetings allow owners to delegate and keep people accountable and responsible to achieve results they want. Meetings make life much better as you create a better run company, free yourself to do what you should do, and allow for time to plan, strategize, sell and focus on making more money.
Meetings Maximize Bottom-line Results!
The meeting leader must create a scorecard tracking system to record each attendee’s performance on every job for all to see every week. This will improve job performance and allow your foreman and supervisors to know, track and hit their goals, rather than working blindly without anything to aim at.
When you hold regular field supervisor meetings for example, each foreman and supervisor is challenged to achieve specific results, track progress, report on last week’s progress versus their weekly target, and then discuss plans for the upcoming week. They report on their job schedule, crew-hours, equipment hours, safety, quality and performance. Every attendee is then committed in front of their peers to hit weekly goals. This teamwork approach creates a competition amongst peers to be the best and beat their project budget and targets.
Make Meetings Mandatory!
To take back control of your company, set a series of mandatory meetings monthly or weekly. Set them at the same time and never postpone or cancel them.
When you cancel meetings, it shows they’re not a top priority, and it’s OK to miss for more important reasons like bids, inspections, customer demands, field issues, or any other weak excuse that can and will come along. And when the owner can’t make a meeting, still hold them by delegating the meeting leadership to a key manager.
Start and end every meeting on time. This allows attendees to plan their calendar around these regular mandatory meetings. Use a written agenda to keep the meeting moving, and assign someone to take notes to document what was agreed to and who is accountable to make things happen. If your company has projects and jobs spread out long distances from your office, use a conference call service or conferencing software like GoToMeeting.com to still hold meetings on the regular schedule.
Mandatory Annual Management Meetings:
1. Strategic Planning Session
Every year take a day or two to sit down and plot out the strategy for the upcoming year. Engage a facilitator to help review last year’s results, look at what’s working and what’s not, and identify areas for improvement. Set new targets and goals. Create action plans to improve your company.
2. All Company Town Hall Meeting
At least every year, get everyone together for a “state of the company” review session and discussion. Talk about successes, failures, goals, results and plans for the future. Train and recognize key people who made a difference in your company’s performance. Facilitate roundtable discussions on ways to improve scheduling, communications, productivity, equipment use, estimating accuracy, customer retention or other areas that need improvement.
Mandatory Monthly Management Meetings:
1. Monthly Company Strategy Session
Every month owners and managers must meet to discuss their company overall strategy. Review your strategic plan goals and action items. Review results and strategies for your financials, revenues, overhead and profit, receivables, cash flow, organizational chart, management, people, operations, systems and procedures, work flow, project management, supervision, safety, quality, scheduling, productivity, equipment, accounting, technology, estimating, and sales and marketing.
2. Monthly BIZ-DEV Strategy Session
Create a marketing and sales activity calendar to review your business development progress every month. Identify key markets and customers you want to seek and do business with, develop a plan to find and cultivate new customers, strategize how to better your customer relationships, look at ways to improve your bid-hit ratio, and explore how to increase your margins with better customers and lower competition.
3. Monthly Project Management Meeting
Each project manager and supervisor presents their specific job results to the company management team. Review every project’s job cost report, schedule update, change order log, project receivable, problems and issues, accomplishments and progress. Hold people accountable to follow the company systems, manage their projects properly, do their job as expected, and hit their targets.
Mandatory Weekly Management Meetings:
1. Sales, Proposal, Estimating and Bid Follow-Up
Every Monday morning get your sales, marketing and estimating team together to review your revenue stream, current and cumulative contract awards, sales activity, lead flow, customer relationship meetings, jobs bidding, followup required for jobs already bid, and strategies to improve your bid-hit ratio.
2. Superintendent and Foreman Weekly Meeting
Every week get together with your field foremen and superintendents to review their individual project progress, goals, results, schedule, activities, manpower, workload, equipment requirements, material needs, subcontractor performance, safety success and customer issues. Each foreman or supervisor reports individually on their project and commits to hitting weekly goals. Work together to help with ideas and suggestions to meet or beat schedules, budgets, safety and productivity goals.
Make Meetings a Mandatory Must!
Use these mandatory meetings to get everyone on the same page and achieve your project and company goals. The dynamics of holding regular meetings builds teamwork, creates accountability, holds people responsible, and frees up management from visiting every job every day and making all the decisions for everyone all the time.
George Hedley is a professional construction BIZCOACH and popular industry speaker who helps contractors increase profits, grow and get their companies to work. To help you get started improving your meetings, email GH@HardhatPresentations.com to get a copy of “Field Tracking Systems For Contractors!” To learn more, visit www.hardhatpresentations.com.