Springtime Challenges

Springtime Challenges

Springtime Challenges

This article is the first of many that I will be doing in a series of personal and business articles to help motivate and inspire other people and to help business owners.

In 1986 I started in the construction business after attending HVCC. I worked in the industry for eight years before going into business for myself. In 1994 I started HMA Contracting with two friends. Over the past thirty years, I have successfully navigated the business and eventually became the sole owner of HMA after acquiring my partners’ shares.

No matter what year it is, the same challenges come up in the springtime for the excavation and paving business. These challenges are numerous, from preventing our motivated team from feeling overwhelmed to ensuring they understand the need for re-training and staying motivated, and preparing for the bad weather that happens every spring. As the leader of the business, it is crucial to be transparent about things I have seen in the past. Sharing the company culture and guidelines (safety is huge) is always necessary, with springtime being the most important season to do this. It is my job to share. Often during the season, I share with my management team group emails detailing my thoughts and observations, providing them with a clear understanding of my perspective. In these memos and emails, I always pre-frame my messages to prevent any misinterpretation.

As we get knowledgeable about our challenges, and we build plans to break through the challenges, next comes the communication with our crew members. Too many times in this business I have seen a management team stop the flow of information at middle management. We need to always share the workload we have, and we need to discuss the expectations we have for them. Like I said above, transparency is very important. Getting the challenges handled and the communication right enables us to have a rewarding summer and fall season.

It is funny, the springtime season is more challenging than the summer and fall seasons, even though we do more work during those months than we do in the spring. In the past, we have done fifty percent more work in the summer months than we have during the springtime months. The reason for that is due to the momentum we build as we jump over obstacles.

It is very important for everyone to always control their state during the year, with springtime being a springboard for the rest of the season. Our state is controlled by three things. The first being the way we use our body. Are we exercising, moving to keep our energy, or are we sitting depressed about the challenges we see coming our way. What are we focusing on? Are we realizing that every spring season we have challenges like the ones we are having now or are we thinking that these challenges will be catastrophic because we are making things worse than they are. Lastly, what meaning are we giving the experience we are going through? We make three decisions in life: what are we going to focus on? What does it mean? And what are we going to do? Making sure that we keep our state strong is the number one priority. Our psychology as a leader will affect everything.

As we get our work moving, it is very important that we share preconstruction budgets with our team, along with weekly job cost reports showing how well they are doing compared to bid. We need to share our milestone budgets with our team. I am a true believer that ninety-nine percent of people want to do the best that they can. These budgets and schedules will form a structure for our crews.

Before the summer season gets going, we always sit down with the managers to go over the financials for the first quarter of the year. We also discussed other important items like marketing, sales and project management. We also do a workshop where everyone shares the number one challenge they are having while working here at HMA. While discussing our financials we always go over the backlog of work we have for the season. We discuss what our needs are to ensure we can reach our budgeted sales projections. We keep a very detailed schedule board for our crew assignments and job durations. We always want to remember to share why we are doing the business. For HMA we are doing it so we can build a growing, prosperous business for those employees who have an interest in the business, thus allowing these employees to develop and grow.

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