• Yvonne Root

Chain of Command




Why have a chain of command?

Organized construction contractors know how to use the chain of command.

A clear and valid chain of command:

· Facilitates communication. It makes communicating more efficient and accurate.

· Allows orderly and organized business operations. It contributes to making sure system gaps are discovered and dealt with.

· Accounts for the proper allocation of time and resources. Knowing who is responsible for what and who reports to whom effectively halts the not-my-problem problem.

Structuring options

Typically, when thinking of the chain of command, the military version comes to mind. Yet, there are other options you may want to consider. Each comes with its own set of pros and cons. And the decision to use one or another may be based on the size of your construction business, your company culture, your need for cross-communication, or some other criteria. This article, from Broadly, offers a brief review of six chain of command structuring options and their accompanying charts.


Oh, and don’t think that by choosing one over another, you’re stuck with it. You may try one structure and find it doesn’t work. Or your needs may change as your construction business grows, and some other framework will work better. Don’t get out the chisel and stone. But do develop and use a chain of command structure.

The key

The key to developing and using a structured chain of command in your construction business is to keep it as minimal as possible. Don’t overburden the chain with more layers than are necessary.

Keep in mind when making structuring decisions that the more power and authority each person is given, the more his or her responsibility and accountability levels rise.

The plan

When developing the framework and chart for the chain of command, use these seven basics to keep the task on the right path.

1. Resolve to keep your company’s goals as the governing guideline

2. Determine the tasks needed to reach the goals

3. Group the tasks into strategic categories

4. Consider what will best facilitate resource sharing

5. Make ease of communication a top priority

6. Determine who has authority over people, situations, and final decisions

7. Decide the hierarchy of relationships in and between positions

When the poop hits the fan

In a perfect world, a chain of command would work perfectly. Everyone would know which tasks are theirs, know their supervisor, and know the correct protocol for taking action. In our broken world . . . let’s just say, that ain’t gonna happen.

Of course, in a perfect world, no vehicles would break down. Yet they do. That doesn’t mean we stop using them. It means we deal with broken trucks and cars as the need arises. The same is true for implementing a chain of command structure.

Nope, it won’t function properly one hundred percent of the time. But it is still a useful vehicle for making the most of the talent within your construction company. Done well, it increases communication, enhances performance, and reinforces company values.

And experience shows, there are those times when a broken chain of command is useful.

· When a supervisor is negligent – perhaps he sees no need for safety protocol

· If a person in charge performs poorly – such as when she gets to work late and drunk daily

· In cases where the manager is involved in an ethics violation – like stealing from the company

Ensure your procedures and policies address the behavior that would allow for a bypass of the standard chain of command.

When you are the poop

When owners or top tier managers bypass the chain of command, it is sometimes known as dipping-down. There are a few reasons dipping-down may happen. You or a member of your senior staff:

· Has little or no confidence in the ability of the reporting person beneath them in the chain

· May overreact to minor issues

· Might have a problem with ego

Keep in mind, you hired management for a reason, and frequently bypassing them undermines their credibility and thus their ability to manage effectively.

Don’t be a poop!

The final word

Having a chain of command in place is right for you and your staff. Employees who work in stable environments experience less stress and more productivity. Plus, knowing the next step up the chain gives employees clear career goals to work toward.

A proper chain of command guide becomes a win for both you and the people working for you.

The Profit Constructors provide Construction Accounting and Operational Accountability for small to medium commercial construction subcontractors.

Our services allow you to organize your operations so you can

· Remain informed

· Avoid hassles

· Reduce risks

And we desire to familiarize you with business concepts, which will make it easier for you to be a better commercial construction subcontractor through our blog posts.

So you can Run With the Big Dogs! Call us 866-629-7735

© 2020 by Schulte & Schulte dba The Profit Constructors 

610 East Bell Road, Suite #2-612

Phoenix, AZ 85022-2393

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