• Yvonne Root

It Takes Guts and Then Some




In almost every entrepreneurial enterprise the owner must maintain a certain amount of guts. In the construction industry, we see folks with guts, but not only guts.


We find construction contractors tend to have a significant share of grit, chutzpah, moxie, spunk, willpower, courage, fortitude, backbone, and (of course) heart.


These are the attitudes, traits, and demeanors we see used by savvy contractors.


They See the Humor

From mundane moments to outrageous events, they often find something to smile about and sometimes see things as downright laugh-worthy. This is something that goes beyond the oft-quoted saying to find the silver lining.


Perhaps it should be called having humor-colored glasses. It takes being receptive to the possibility. Like when I noticed the cowboy boots facing the toilet in the stall next to mine in the truck stop restroom. Sure enough, that cowboy was embarrassed and apologetic and couldn’t leave that space fast enough. I didn’t feel violated; I did feel like I had gained a fun little story to tell when the gang gathered around the proverbial campfire.


Or it could be about noticing the congruent incongruence. It happens when we see the difference between what we expect to happen and what does happen. Like the tired old Jack Benny joke where he is explaining a situation, the audience believes he is using his wife as an excellent example of what he is describing. It comes down to these words, “Take my wife . . . please.”


In my mom’s day, there was a pert little admonition that stated, “Behind every good man is a woman.” The next generation turned that saying on its head by adding one simple word; it became “Behind every good man is a surprised woman.” Of course, nowadays, to remain perfectly PC, the saying has a further change; “Behind every good woman is a man or another woman or no one at all.”


You get the idea; the humor of any situation comes from being open to the idea that what we expected to happen didn’t, but what did happen was so funny it was worth giving up the expectation – at least for the moment.


Showing Mercy is Prevalent Among Them

Don’t get me wrong, we believe in contracts; we think dotting the “i” and crossing the “t” is an excellent way to conduct business, but there is more to the story. One small step toward mercy can be seen in the idea surrounding the concept of following the law’s intent rather than the law’s letter.


Taking a more significant leap into mercy requires knowing what the word mercy means. “Mercy is undeserved forgiveness and unearned kindness.”


It may be as small as allowing late or reduced payments or as big as writing off the debt of an overwhelmed customer.


Here are a few ways contractors show mercy to their employees – they:

  • Accept that people cope differently.

  • Are generous in their interpretations of the attitudes of others.

  • Give unwarranted bonuses or gifts.

  • Listen, even when it seems the ground has already been covered.


Rolling with the Punches is Important to Them

Like Kermit says, “It ain’t easy being green.” And folks, it ain’t easy being a construction contractor at any given time or under various circumstances. So excellent contractors know that rolling with the punches, remaining flexible, and allowing for adjustments is part of the package.


The following quotes are about “rolling with the punches,” even if those exact words are never used.


“Leaders honor their core values, but they are flexible in how they execute them.” – Colin Powell


“An effective leader allows exceptions to the rule for exceptional results or when circumstance demands.” – John Wooden


In matters of style, swim with the current, in matters of principle, stand like a rock. –Thomas Jefferson


“Write your goals in concrete and your plans in sand.” – Unknown


Flexibility is a requirement for survival. – Roger Von Oech


“The block of granite which is an obstacle in the pathway of the weak becomes a steppingstone in the pathway of the strong.” – Unknown


“Mishaps are like knives, that either serve us or cut us, as we grasp them by the blade or the handle.” – James Russell Lowell


They Look for Opportunities

Some words bright contractors never use are:

  • I can’t.

  • My team stinks.

  • But you don’t understand.

  • It’s not my fault.

  • We never did it that way before.


Instead, the construction contractors in the know look for opportunities within and outside their company’s routine or circumstances. They look at what they know, then try to look at that information from a different perspective.


The other things they do are:

  • Be mindful of what is happening around them.

  • Ask questions.

  • Read and research.

  • Make contacts outside their usual network.

  • Think of a way to improve one thing (then another thing, then . . .)

  • Hire people with new and different skill sets (think supply chain manager.)


They Make a Grateful List

Even contractors who are not into journaling or writing find that writing a list of the good things, people, and circumstances surrounding them helps them have a better attitude when facing challenges.


Sticky notes, 3X5 cards, notebooks, listing apps, or whatever comes to hand are all acceptable means of beginning and continuing grateful lists.


Remember, this isn’t something that happens once a year. Being content in whatever circumstance you find yourself is more valuable than gold. Take advantage of it.


They Use Mistakes

Savvy contractors know the value of learning from, overcoming, and using mistakes.


You will make mistakes. Everyone does. (Just remember to avoid those “hold my beer” moments.)


Look again at each of the sections above – especially, See the Humor and Look for Opportunities if you have questions.

They Choose Someone or Something to Help

Helping others is part and parcel of the construction industry. From providing jobs to providing structures, construction contractors are part of the fiber of their communities.


But going a step further and intentionally helping individuals, organizations, or charitable institutions is another level of value.


Here are some reasons why:

  • It’s a significant mood-booster.

  • It strengthens your personal and company values.

  • It allows you to support a cause you believe in.

  • It is an encouragement to others to do the same. (If you donate secretly, at least let your children know so they will see the power of generosity.)

  • There is a good chance you will meet like-minded folks, and the opportunities are boundless from that point.


Reflection: How many of the traits listed above do you already have? Are there some you don’t yet use? How will you begin to improve your weaker points?



Construction Contractors look to The Profit Constructors to provide advocacy in dealing with:


  • Clients and customers

  • Employees and subcontractors

  • Vendors and service providers

  • Governmental entities


Working with The Profit Constructors gives Construction Contractors the means to organize their operations in ways that help them:


  • Remain informed

  • Avoid hassles

  • Reduce risks

  • Be future-ready


Ready for action? Or want to know more? Get in touch today to schedule a complimentary discovery call. 866-629-7735

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