Recently I visited a host of builder sites in Florida. My objective was to have a direct comparison of many builders’ models, sales personnel, sales process and overall experience. It’s been a while that I actually walked dozens of builder models over a 300 mile geographic area in a relatively short period of time.
I anticipated reviewing homes of builders that had survived our industry’s economic disaster and assumed that these same builders would all be demonstrating efficient and effective practices just too still be in the game.
I recently made the decision to relocate from Rochester, New York to Sarasota, Florida. Leaving annual accumulations of snow averaging 130 inches along with 80% of my days under grey clouds was my family’s motivation for the move. We couldn’t be happier. One of our new founded traditions is too be beach side every Sunday. Looking over the Gulf of Mexico is a certain fix for a hectic work week.
I wanted to share with my readers that I have come to appreciate a phenomenon that exist on the beach that is strangely similar to what you as a leader face every day in the workplace.
One of the advantages of consulting with businesses across the US is you see the companies that get it and the many companies that don’t. Sometimes observing the companies that will never understand the formula for sustained success can be very valuable. These companies take on values and beliefs that are easy to identify as the foundation of their lackluster performance but they haven’t a clue nor do they want to get it.
Most small to mid size builders today have found themselves without any internal professional Human Resource function. Either that function was a casualty of the many layoffs over the last 5 years or it never existed to begin with.
The builders, who remain in the game today, are alive because they utilized situational leadership during these tough economic times and focused on cost cutting, raising capital and finding that next buyer not employees.
Well ladies and gentleman, we made it through another year. A year of bankruptcies with several top 100 builders, uncertainty in the job market that generated 15% of our population into the poverty level and an economic future, thanks to our Washington politicians, that couldn’t look any bleaker.
Talking to builders today about improving the cost and efficiency can be an interesting proposition. When the topic is directed to managing a better commodity price, 6 out of 10 builders will respond as follows.” We are at the top of the food chain in market share in the areas we build and consequently have the leverage to obtain bottom prices from every sub and vendor in the marketplace” If I ask how they know, there response is consistent,” we just know”