Your vision matters
Vision in your construction business is different from goals or objectives.
“You’ve got to give yourself the freedom to dream – to use your imagination to see and feel what does not yet exist. A vision is not the same as goals or objectives; those come from the head. A vision comes from the heart.” – John Graham
This is the first of a two-part series. In the first part, the discussion will center on ways to develop a worthwhile vision. For the second part, we’ll move on to the how-to of passing on the vision to others.
It must be visionary
Your vision must be lofty while remaining deliberate, informative, and well, you know, visionary. When you make it motivating and inspiring, it becomes the means for leading the charge and getting your team to rush onto the field. It’s something neither you, nor they want to give up on, even when times are hard.
Build a worthwhile vision
Before going further, I need to make it clear, I’m not talking about a “vision statement,” but a vision. It’s a vision that can become full-force and embedded in the very culture of your construction company.
One that will (likely) find its place in a vision statement.
But it’s more than that. It is a vision that goes to the heart of what you do, how you do it, and why you do it.
If your initial vision was (or is) “get the jobs, get ‘em done, get paid,” that’s a start. Because those are perfectly good steps for any business, be it in construction or any other industry. And, without first attaining the work and completing it, there is no income, which means there is no business in need of a vision.
Determining your vision
You may already have certain ideas, thoughts, concepts in mind concerning the vision for your construction company. Here are a few ways to shore up those intentions. You’ll see, they’re divided into four categories, that doesn’t mean you must choose one and leave the others behind.
Category One – Strong values
What personal values do you uphold? What attitudes and actions do you forbid? Remember, your character, your charisma, and your fortitude are all contagious.
For example, if you want your employees to treat the representatives of the general contractor with respect, you can’t bad mouth that representative in company meetings.
Or, you could try this; bring Mom into the picture. “The job isn’t done until Mom approves.” It could be Mom, your dad, your spouse, your kids, someone you admire, but there is always someone who draws you to do your best. Turn that “someone” into the person who everyone in your company is eager to please.
Second Category – Business Strengths
Determine what makes your construction business notable. What are you and your employees good at? Here are a few things you might consider:
A unique delivery system, product, or service
Operational systems in place and continually being improved
Exceptional at building difficult technical projects
Longevity – your company has stood the test of time
Professional delivery with a laid-back approach
Reliable, Trustworthy, and Fair
Now, you can turn this strength into your vision.
For instance, if your strength is Operational systems in place and continually being improved, your vision may look like this. “Daily improvement pushes us to be exceptional in every respect.” To make this “improvement” aspect work, you must remind your employees that part of their job is improving the systems already in place. Encourage feedback. Then, reward improvement behavior at every opportunity.
Third Category – Your business story
How, when, and why did you become the owner of a construction contracting company? What is the story behind how you got started? What did you hope to accomplish (beyond bringing in the cash,) and how were you planning to do it?
Think about what problem you overcame at any time during your journey of becoming a construction business owner.
Who helped you along the way? What part did he, she, they play in getting you to where you are now?
This article, 5 Essential Tips For Business Storytelling, from Forbes, relates the telling of your story to marketing. It uses the word “consumer” multiple times. Don’t worry, you can insert the word “employee” in its place, and it won’t take away the importance of the message at all.
Fourth Category – Niche
What niche do you serve? Why are you better equipped to complete the tasks at hand because of your expertise in this niche area? Retail, theaters, hospitality, medical, stadiums, and awnings are among the niche areas I’ve seen contractors capitalize on in recent months.
Speaking of awnings, here’s an example of a niche within a niche. When you land on the Awnex site one of the first things you see is this sentence, “AWNEX designs, engineers, manufactures and installs aluminum construction canopies, awnings, trellises, wall louvers, roof screens and patio covers for the commercial chain store & quick service markets.” (Emphasis added, so you see what is meant by niche within a niche.)
Now, I have no idea if the owners of Awnex put their niche to use in their vision transfer to employees. But they’re missing out if they don’t.
Words of Power
Now it’s time to get to the words. Diverse concepts come into play. Concepts such as:
And, to each of those concepts, you add words that inspire, words that trigger emotions, words that add clarity. Power words. Here are some examples:
Look for and use the power words that best suit your construction company’s vision.
Want to see some power words in action? How about this bit taken from the John F. Kennedy “moon speech?”
We meet at a college noted for knowledge, in a city noted for progress, in a State noted for strength, and we stand in need of all three, for we meet in an hour of change and challenge, in a decade of hope and fear, in an age of both knowledge and ignorance. The greater our knowledge increases, the greater our ignorance unfolds.
President Kennedy used words that conveyed the fear as well as the hope of his time.
Fear: change, fear, ignorance
Hope: knowledge, progress, strength, challenge, hope
Mull it over
Often, when you see a blog post here, you’re encouraged to take action. This time you’re being encouraged to mull over what you’ve just read. Think about it. Next time, there will be insight concerning helping your team help you to build the vision.
Schulte and Schulte Provides Accounting, Contract Document Management, and Advisory Board Level counsel for small to medium commercial construction subcontractors. You can check our blog here.
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