What's in a name? Think about how people perceive you and ask yourself some of the questions below.
How do you present yourself at work? (Sloppy, polished, fresh, professional, passionate, energetic)
Owners feel you are? (trustworthy, reliable, dependable, dishonest, unaccountable, careless)
How do your peers perceive you? (nice, smart, sharp, witty, sarcastic, friendly helpful, mentor, hard worker, best supervisor, best resource on the job, a$$hole, rude, un-responsive, selfish)
Now ask yourself who you want to be? Not everyone wants to be at “the top”, the corporate level, and that’s great. It is understandable that the building and physical part of the job is exciting, and people really enjoy that career. The important part is, regardless of where you want to be, set YOUR goal and be at YOUR "top".
Your Name: (filled in from the description, you filled in from questions above)
What does your name? (Will you be the person nobody wanted to work with, the person that never completed a task on time, the person everyone wanted leading their crew, or the example the company uses of “what good looks like”)
How does this relate to construction, and why should you care? We go to work everyday to build our name, to take that next step up the ladder or accomplish a personal goal. We get one opportunity in life to leave whatever name we want to leave. How many people do you connect with at work? There is plenty of opportunity if you put in the effort to become who you want to be. Never settle! It's your life make it count!
In 2014 we have found success by working hard, meeting challenging goals and executing by means of hard work. However, replicating the same process will not ensure success in 2015, especially with the labor shortage having a significant impact on construction next year. Needless to say, in 2014 we worked harder, now it's time to work smarter. Start off with lessons learned from the year(check out a this article from FieldLens: Construction 2014: What 5 Industry Veterans Learned). Now, create a resource list, comparing it with next year's workload. Graph it out to locate critical areas/time-lines that will create problems. Key areas to focus on would be: task that requires a large labor pool, specialty task, labor intensive task and over-lapping projects all of which have the potential to disrupt or break a job. Once the critical areas of concern are identified, gather the crews and ask: how can we simplify steps of the task, where can we cut back on the need for manpower, what materials, technologies or ideas will help encourage a simplified process?
Start with asking the right question's and following up:
It's time to stop using the phrase "this is the way, we've always done it” and replace it with " How can WE keep improving", constructing it faster, simpler or easier on the crew. Don’t become complacent; complacency will only continue our rote way of learning. So change it up! Develop a creative minded atmosphere that will aspire crews to strive for nothing less of success.
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Justin Santistevan wrote this guest blog to give us his perspective as a young, new superintendent.
So you finally made it! You are a Superintendent... Now what? If you are anything like me, you might be thinking, “what am I suppose to do now?”
Schedule is obviously a high priority. Getting to know what needs to be done first, who do I need to get on board, and when.
After studying the schedule you’ll know whom you need to contact and get on board first. Then, I talk to them about sequence; what do they need in order to start on time and create a flow that will keep them productive and keep the other contactors working behind them on task? As you bring on contractors, make that know to the rest of the team. For instance communicate with the framer that the window installer is going to be starting in two weeks and will be starting in the same areas that you started and he will follow you. Promote coordination and team work with all the contractors on the job. Each contractor’s scope is important, big or small; treat them all as though they are.
Finding the drivers, the contractors that can make or break the project. After studying the schedule, I went to those contractors first. By talking to them and getting them to buy into the schedule, we can determine what needs to happen in order to achieve success. Eliminating the need to work over top of each other or working 100 hours a week to meet the schedule. By creating a sequence that builds motivation and collaboration it just starts to come together. You don’t have to know it all, but with hard work, studying the plans, and asking questions, you can find all of the information you need. Don’t be afraid to ask contactors questions as well. I find when I ask the contractor’s questions about things I’m not sure about, they didn’t think any less of me or give me a hard time. They were more receptive to me, they knew I cared about what they were doing and they know I want them to be successful, in turn I we are able to share a mutual respect for each other. One of the biggest resource is talking to coworkers I have worked with in the past. I have been lucky in my career to work for a very knowledgeable, motivated and detail oriented Superintendent who has taught me that preplanning, looking ahead and always seek feedback from others. Encouraging new ideas to be more productive, embrace change and new ideas. So if you think you are alone you are not. Seek those that are determined to succeed, those who have vision and have a positive attitude, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. People like helping people; it makes and builds good relationships, which are as important in your career as they are in your personal life.
Want to know more about Justin? click here.
With 2014 coming to a close, it's a perfect time to reflect on 2014 and prepare for 2015. Invite a group of your peers to see what went right and what needs to change. As well as what goals need to be set and improvements made in 2015 to be successful. Below are some examples and docs you can download, or make your own. If you did some exciting and neat things this year send them in and share your successes!
There are only so many days in a week, so many hours in a day, and your company provides only so many hours of training. If you want to learn and grow today, take charge and start mentoring yourself.
Where to start:
a) Start with a list of your strengths, weaknesses and wants (what you want to retain, improve and learn).
b) Visit another jobsite; giving you a different perspective of leadership styles or use of new technologies. Spend some time on-site picking out their best practices.
c) Social Media (if you haven’t already, set up a Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and G+ account). Find people in your field of work to connect with Follow pages and learn from them.
Have No Time:
a) Wake up an hour earlier; dedicate this time only to your growth.
b) Use the weekend. Saturday/Sunday mornings are ideal for learning; you are focused and energetic, along with a peaceful and quiet house.
c) Use short breaks to read an article, post a question on your social media page or call someone to ask them questions.
d) Schedule one day a month dedicated just to you! Make note of items you would like to learn, getting through as many as you can. Save the remaining items for the next month or trade out with some new ideas.
Why Do I Need Training?
a) We can never know enough, even if we are the best at what we do. Complacency and ignorance will stunt your growth.
b) Talk to your boss and peers how you can improve, then set personal goals and a re-assessment date to check on your progress.
c) As fast as technology is moving, we can’t let it pass us by. Use social media to receive up to date information, this will help you understand where the industry is headed. Subscribe to a newsletter pertaining to your industry, you will receive up to date information and articles on your smart phone.
Try New Things
a) If you’re great at carpentry learn to finish concrete, if you’re talented at finishing concrete, learn to survey. Don’t be afraid to try something new or master a weakness; just don’t settle as a one trick pony!
b) Tackle a new computer program: Learn it inside and out, don’t just use it to 30% of its capabilities; learn it all.
c) Compare yourself to the best! Yes, you might look superb next to someone who does not possess the same skills or abilities as you. So find out who is the best, try to pair up with them (show us what you’re made of). Learn what they’re exceptional at and why, at the same time recognize your strengths and weaknesses.
a) Talk to your peers at the beginning/finish shift. You can also send group messages or hold discussion groups. You want to extrude all possible information from peers and professionals.
b) Set up job tours with other peers, if possible. Learn their processes and techniques, then compare to your way, discard the ones that don’t want to use and implement the ones you do.
c) Find an app to help you share and receive information. There is so much knowledge floating around tap into it. Find a great app to gather and share the data. Don’t be afraid, just do it!
Yes, it’s nice to be successful at work and build a name for the company. But, you need to protect yourself! Allocate as much effort into teaching and growing yourself as you do for others. Otherwise, you’re going to be left behind; waiting for someone else to teach you. Take the initiative, mentor yourself and become viable for the future!
In construction you always hear more, more, and more! In reality the boss wants less. Here are the 6 steps of less the boss wants you to know.
1) Less Time.
Avoid continuously asking the boss for time extensions on task, recognize the schedule and try beating the dates. When starting a task start your biggest surge of energy up front not at the end.
2) Fewer Steps
Simplify our process with less steps, is one of my favorites; it’s also the hardest to put into practice. In order to achieve fewer steps we need to change our thought process by asking how many steps are involved in a process, instead of how many days are needed to accomplish a task. Not only will this improve productivity immensely, it also teaches the importance to strategically plan the work.
3) Less validation
When presented with an assignment, understand what needs to be done and go for it! Obviously the boss trusts you; otherwise the responsibility would be someone else’s. So don’t feel compelled to call out a “play by play” (unless asked), if something wrong you will hear it. Therefore updates after the shift end or completion of a big task will suffice.
4) Less Manpower
This one right now is extremely vital, due to the industry's current manpower shortage. Learning how to accomplish tasks with less is easier said than done, however by following step three above it’s possible. Strategically planning your work will determine manpower a properly planned work will take less than poorely planned work. Take the time deciding on the right materials, equipment and sequence.
5) Less Arguing
How much wasted time and production, is spent arguing everyday? When receiving direction from the boss that you don’t agree with, bring it up, offer a solution and have a normal conversation. If it’s still not resolved and you believe the mistake could be substantial, let it lie and carry on with other work until it cools down, after that have the conversation again. If left with no resolution and re-work will be the outcome, then it might be necessary to call a higher up.
6) Fewer Hours
This may sound crazy; however just think outside the box for a moment. If crews run 80 hours a week continuously how productive, alert and involved cans someone be? Burnout’s the quickest way to production loss, low morale and frustration. Now imagine if construction had a 45-hour work week that started 8:30am on Monday and finished up at 4:30 pm on Friday. Enough overtime to be productive, with a long enough break to have fresh crews every week. Obviously this would never be implemented; even so with rolling schedules, manpower switches for certain tasks or how you schedule your crews can reach the objective.
As we go to work everyday trying to climb the corporate ladder, one of the most important assets we have is our name. Following the 6 simple steps above, will grow your name as on who is perceptive, resourceful and efficient.
You finally got the promotion you've been waiting for! Now it's up to you to make the most of it, push the nerves aside, take a deep breathe and avoid the 4 common mistakes new foreman often make.
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