Building Operations

Building Operations Blog for Professional Home Builders



In the Wall Street Journal on 10/24 an article was published indicating that 52% of US companies were reporting major difficulty in filling jobs. 47 % blame the lack of hard job skills or technical skills and 35% state candidates just don’t have the experience.

Not a day goes by that I don’t experience multiple builders telling me why improvement in their business won’t happen. The economy, the lack of traffic, the longer cycle times, the bigger builder cost advantage, the lack of commitment from employees, the lack of subcontractors performance, etc…… I certainly know that we all have suffered greatly through this housing depression. I am not suggesting we ignore the obvious obstacles, just not let them be the bane of our existence.

I recently saw the movie "MoneyBall" with Brad Pitt as the lead playing a GM of the Oakland A’s baseball team. For the readers who have not seen the film, I won’t give away the major plot and ruin your experience.

The film had many correlations to our leadership options in homebuilding. This is what struck me as being very relevant to our decisions as leaders today.

Recently, there has been a lot of press about football player’s compensation. Specifically, many of the new contracts written for superstar quarter backs have had press showing over $100 million to several hundred million dollar packages. What the press doesn’t tell you is the compensation is made up of a relatively smaller fixed salary with a huge variable incentive plan. Our industry could learn a thing or two regarding this sports model of compensation.

I recently conducted an online survey of over 1200 home building employees. The survey asked the question,” If the US market was good today, would you strongly consider leaving your current employer”? 

The options in answering this question were;

1.      In a Heartbeat

2.      Yes

3.      Maybe

In every industry I have worked in, Communication seems to be the common denominator, of dysfunctionality. We write books about, train our leaders on it and spend countless hours using technology today to attempt to convey our thoughts. Sadly though, the form outweighs the substance.

When I am involved in a consulting project involving the people of an organization, the number one issue that surfaces is the confusion, misinterpretation and anxiety surrounding communication.

From 1979 to 2001 I worked in high level positions within corporate America. I was always surprised over the number of consultants that called offering their advice, solutions and their roadmap to success. So in 2001, when I decided to broaden my scope nationally and offer my consulting services. I was always very conscience of my approach. Initially, I actually had CEO’s tell me that they felt I was more interested in the sale than I could ever be about their success. This was a certain wake up call.

For over 30 years I have worked with executives that indicate they are interested in improving their skills, leadership ability or their overall company performance. About two thirds of that time was as a corporate officer and the balance as a consultant. In the old days, exploring the strengths, areas of development and desires of the executive wasn’t called coaching. In fact, many executives at that time would have taken offense to the term.

As a consultant, I literally spend 30 hours a week on the phone with builder owners, CEO’s and senior level staff of Home builder’s, Real Estate Brokers and Land Developers. My approach on every call is to build a relationship and determine the pain points that keeps these executives up at night.

From the year 1999 to 2001 I led the enterprise wide SAP conversion for a top ten builder. Up until that time, very little was ever seen of a fully integrated software system for the builder. Software companies claimed to be fully integrated, but when you tested the product, it fell short of expectations. SAP was to be the shining knight on the white horse for Home building, offering a system that would revolutionize the industry. Well simply stated, it was developed by software developer’s not home builders and failed miserably.

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