When a company encounters a frequently occurring cost within the company they normally do their best to minimize that cost by which ever means necessary. If equipment rental proves to be a vital investment then they invest in the short term expense of essential equipment so as to save in the long run.When subcontracting proves to be a burden on a company’s profit margin then they turn towards the hiring of a professional to fill the demand. Yet when it comes to the high cost associated with creating a construction safety plan many companies are still investing in legal services to perform this task, one of the least cost-effective methods currently available.So why do companies still utilize the ineffective investment opportunity of legal services when it comes to creating their construction safety programs, simply put it relates to the customization that is demanded. If it was the requirement of the construction industry to create one set construction safety plans for their business, every business won’t hesitate to create and manage this task on their own.However, its the requirement of government which every project which a company takes part in have its own personalized plans which are relevant to the particular tasks that may be performed on this job. This makes it a regular burden on a company to produce these plans whilst customizing them not just to the site but to the specific guidelines which exist for the location they’re working at.Therefore these businesses continue to invest in the services of legal people to create their construction safety programs because of the situation they’re placed in. It would prove ineffective to hire a steady worker to create these plans as there aren’t sufficient projects to justify a full time hiring. If the process was simplified, there would be an opportunity for change as companies will most likely spend the time required to create these construction safety plans, instead of invest in legal fees. With the genius of an experienced construction individual and the advantages of the on-line environment, such an alternative has been created with the use of templates.You’ll be able to utilize these templates as a source through which you would be able to create a construction safety program for each of your jobs. They are easy to follow and can be customized to your specific needs, making a great alternative to the use of a legal representative. When you can invest in the use of templates, your own company can become responsible for safety, saving time and cash to help create a more efficient business venture.
In my article Giving Constructive Criticism – What’s the Problem? I talked about three of the reasons managers struggle to give their employees constructive criticism in order to improve employee performance. In this blog I’m going to talk about a fourth reason, what I call the ‘pain problem’Here’s how some of the managers I’ve worked with describe it:’I know I need to give my employee some constructive criticism on an area of performance they need to improve. But I know that when I do they will be; upset / angry / disappointed / embarrassed and I don’t want to make them feel that way’Constructive Criticism: The Pain ProblemThe issue here is that managers don’t want to cause their employees pain. That ‘pain’ might be upset, anger, disappointment or embarrassment. So because we don’t want to cause pain (who would?) we avoid giving constructive criticismBut here’s the thingNOT giving criticism causes pain. It causes pain to;• The business: If our employee is underperforming that must be causing pain to the business• The team: Nobody, but nobody, wants to work with an underperforming team member – particularly if that underperformance isn’t being dealt with. Not dealing with underperformance is the easiest way to demotivate an entire team – and that brings pain• You as the manager: Do you enjoy not dealing with underperformance? Does it do great things for your confidence? Need I say more?And most importantly it causes pain to;• The employee: Very few people enjoy being an underperformer. Even if they are not aware that they are underperforming, other people will be (including you). Underperforming employees are rarely, if ever, well thought of. Other people don’t tend to relate well to an underperforming colleague (do you?). I could go on. The whole point of giving constructive criticism is to help the employee improve their performance. If you don’t give the criticism you can’t help your employee improve their performance. Is that fair?So, we know that there are consequences to not dealing with underperformance. But we still have the issue of how to deal with our reluctance to cause our employees pain. Here are two ways to address the issue1. Be skilful in giving constructive criticismI’ve written a lot about how to skilfully deliver constructive criticism so that your employee finds that criticism easy to understand and easy to accept (and relatively pain free). Without repeating the whole lot, here are two key points:a) Focus on behaviours. Your employees are much less likely to have negative emotional reactions when they hear criticism focused on their behaviours rather than on their personality. There is much less pain in hearing criticism on what we do rather on who we are.b) Focus on Action>Results>Consequences. When we help our employee to see the results and consequences (to the business) of their actions we can help them see the need to change those actions. The more we focus on the business consequences the less ‘personalised’ the criticism feels – and the less painful2. Take Ownership for Your Responsibilities – and Only YoursNo matter how skilful we are at giving constructive criticism, our employee may still feel some upset, anger, disappointment or embarrassment. Why? Because, for many of us, that is how we are hard wired to react to criticism. It’s often part of the ‘fight or flight’ response to stress and a natural response to hearing something we find stressful – criticism.My view is that we cannot and should not try and take ownership of our employee’s emotional response – that is for the employee to ownWe should take responsibility for:• Giving constructive criticism in order to improve performance
• Giving the criticism skilfullyAnd that’s allWhen we try and take responsibility for other people’s emotions we treat them as children. Our job is not to parent your employees, but to manage them effectively. Our employee’s emotions are for them to own and it’s just not helpful to try and take responsibility for those emotions
Targeted lead generation is the life blood of construction marketing. But how can we populate that crucial database with contacts that will deliver?Business development can become a set of nice theories written by desk bound business gurus that have very little to do with the real world of making money and growing your business! The bottom line is that you have to find business opportunities from your current client base and develop new business outside of your “comfort zone.” This need not be an unpleasant task or a huge struggle if you remember that lead generation is about finding people for whom you can solve problems. When you’ve identified a potential solution for a potential client who has actually expressed a viable interest, you’ve got a “hot lead.”Here are some places to look for problems to solve.Who is currently doing work for the client prospect as a contractor, and when does their contract end? Try to identify all of the contractors working in your territory. Find out what their scope of work is, and how many staff they have. You can usually find out when their contract ends by asking the contracting officer. You may also be able to find out about any future procurement plans and what the criteria is for selecting contractors. Keep in mind, other contractors are not just competitors, they are also potential partners. They might not like you snooping around, even though they’ll be doing it too, but may not mind high-level queries aimed at identifying partnering potential. A good source of information of course, would be company websites.Once you are clear about the kind of work you are targeting, you need to identify what companies could potentially give you that work or be prepared to partner with you in a joint venture. Investigate company budgets, forecasts, and strategic plans. Many clients publish them and you can normally find this information on their web site. If you can’t find the information, ask. That way you’ll know what they want to do and how much they are preparing to spend on it.Build an organisation chart of your target company which should include projects as well as staffing, and then begin an investigation to fill in the details. Talk to people. What are they working on? What do they want to see happen? Play dumb. Ask them how things are supposed to work. Try not to be a burden. Be helpful. Show interest, and let them do the talking.Companies that are seeking to partner with each other are often prepared to share their contact base, as long as there are no conflicts of interest. It helps to know people at other companies and to talk about teaming potential, so when opportunities come up, you can pass leads back-and-forth. This is a great way to build trust and loyalty which are the foundations for good partnering.In the USA construction market, the Federal Government website has some useful links and information that can deliver good leads for your to contact. However, to have a competitive advantage, you have to be doing your research before the announcement hits the Fed Gov site.Bid Locator Services is another useful location for lead generation. These have similarities with the Fed Gov site, but may have better coverage of state and local procurements and may cover certain private sector industries. Just like the Fed Biz Opps government site, you shouldn’t rely too heavily on a locator service. You need to do your homework before opportunities are officially announced.In the UK construction markets there are a number of useful outlets for generating leads. Tenders Direct, BIP Solutions, Emap Glenigan, Barbour ABI Building Data and Builders conference.All these are good sources for construction leads. However, to have a real competitive advantage, keep your ear to the ground. A good source of information would be through your in house database system which would include all your previous clients. Keep in touch with them!You need to think through some critical questions before contacting your potential clients:Why should they choose your company?Does your client have a section criteria and do you know what their expectation is?Is there enough perceived benefit that offers unique solutions to meet the requirements of your client?Have you researched your potential client’s website to discover what their core business is and what are their strategic aims?Are you offer a solutions based service that will tick the boxes for this client?Does your corporate culture fall in line with the those and aims of your client’s company?Developing a database with key contacts is absolutely indispensable to your business growth.However you need to remain focused and targeted and avoid the dreaded scatter gun approach.Once you have populated your database with good contacts, they need to be qualified through careful and consistent contact and then sorted into hot, warm and cold leads.Schedule recalls in your diary and keep on the case.