Tips for Creating a High-Performance Company

Growing bigger as a business isn’t as important as growing better. If you want to grow into a high-performance machine, Bruce Hodes, author of the book Front Line Heroes: Battling the Business Tsunami with Performance Oriented Cultures, offers these observations.

  • Any company has problems. You want to make sure that you keep solving the problems you have so you can move on to new problems.
  • The more people you get involved in an organization, the more complex the communication becomes. The ceo/owner needs to have a leadership team that will be his partners in solving the business problems they will encounter.
  • Everybody in a team brings their past to the team, and they bring their way of doing things. People have to give up their way and adopt the way of the company.
  • People that have been there awhile also have to change. There may be more technology, or instead of one crew there are now multiple crews. They have to change the way they work. They have a past, too, that they have to get rid of, and that’s a struggle.”
  • The ceo/owner really has two challenges: one challenge is to make sure he has the right people in the right places on his bus so he has the right people leading his company. The second challenge is making sure the company is doing what it needs to do to be viable five years out.
  • Companies need a planning process: a formal, annual process that allows the leader to surround himself with the best thinkers in the company to help figure out what the company needs to do to grow and invest.
  • If you’re going to grow you’re going to have to niche into different spaces to compete against builders that just cut prices.
  • Growing involves a simple planning process. Sit down and figure out what you want to do in the next 12 months and, if you want to grow, how you are going to do that. What are the problems in the company and where does the company need investment and resources? Then, with an aligned leadership group, decide what you want to get done in the next year, put a plan in place and do it.
  • Growing a company takes discipline and it may take risk. You may have to borrow money, you may have to leaverage, you may be growing on what you are earning.
  • Too many times you have leaders who want to do it all by themselves. They have the vision, but they have to have people around them who are prepared to work with them and really be partners, people who will give feedback and have different skill sets than the owner. You don’t want clones of the owner. A common mistake is when an owner/ceo surrounds himself with people who are too much like him. If you’re going to be successful as a family you have to have some differentiators.
  • You have to find ways that will support you in the marketplace and to gain customers. There are certainly lots of people who can build buildings. The question from the customer is: why am I picking you?
  • An owner/ceo has to be really open to being challenged, and seeing things from a different perspective.
  • Realize that the way it is now is not going to be the same way it will be in five years. We’re in a very dynamic age. All businesses are.
  • The owner/ceo has a vision of how the company is going to build buildings and the kind of company it’s going to be, the kind of culture or camaraderie it’s going to have, then he surrounds himself with the kind of people who find that vision compelling and want to play that kind of game. Then he makes sure that if they help him grow the company it is worth their effort in a financial way.
  • Employees have to buy into the vision of the owner of having a great company, doing things efficiently, having really happy customers.
  • Part of how you grow a company is having clients that rave about you. If you don’t have a brand, you don’t have a reputation, all you have is your last customer.
  • Two scenarios: you call a customer and he tells you there were big problems with his building, it leaks, he really regrets his decision; versus, the quality of the building is great, the crew was great, they were terrific to work with. People want to work for that second kind of company that does quality work. You can grow that kind of company.
  • You’ve got to work together in a high-performance manner, versus we have to put this together and survive the day. Many companies, they just want to survive the day. Great companies are really into what they do.”

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