Have you ever had to run a large-scale job with a poorly structured set of plans? Or perhaps you’ve had to run a job without any plans at all? I can tell you, that as a fellow Electrician, I have been in this position and it turned out to be a disaster. I still question to this day why my boss even took the job in the first place.
Let me reflect on this moment and elaborate on the details so you can better understand the situation. I remember it was a lighting job that cost the company a fortune. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to do a good job or the rest of the crew was lacking the skills or not working hard enough that caused the mayhem. The shear fact that no one had any clue what we should’ve been doing was what caused complete chaos before we had even gotten started. The general contractor would verbally instruct us everyday as to where he wanted the fixtures; changing his mind like having to change a baby’s diaper. The special material required was ordered wrong which resulted in an 8-week lead-time. The layout changed at least 3 times which ran the job more than double the estimated time, it needed 30% more material than quoted, and nobody was happy with the final product.
So what’s the point of my story, and how does it relate to you? Well, whether it’s a job or a business that you’re running, I can assure you, you need a set of plans to clearly define the what, who, and when in order to clearly know how things are going to be done.
“You need a set of plans to clearly define the ‘what, who, and when’ in order to clearly know ‘how’ things are going to be done.”— tweet this
One of the biggest problems contractors have is that with each job they run, a huge list of issues (due to a lack of structure, order, and plans) starts to pile up and they don’t know where to start in order to resolve them. These contractors spend all day acting as a fire fighter trying to put one issue to rest then jumping onto the next. The result? All this fire fighting is like a bandage to the problem, not a long-term solution, so their list of issues just keeps getting longer and more complicated as time goes on.
If you don’t sit down and create structure within your business and plans for your team, it could result in:
- Your team being lost and not knowing where to even start on each project
- A team with zero accountability that can’t ever problem-solve on their own
- Working more hours and losing the freedom to spend time doing the things you love
- Having a business that isn’t scalable because it’s just not able to grow beyond where it’s at now
What’s the solution? Let me share with you the 5 steps that are proven to help electrical contractors gain more control of their business:
Step 1— List all of the problems you have in your business. Get your entire team to share what isn’t working for them and get your administrative assistant to compile it.
Step 2— Write a list of all the roles you have in your business. Do you have a Foreman, Electricians, Apprentices, and Accounts Receivable staff? (Ideally you want to draw this up in what is called The Contractor’s Role Assessment chart. Click here to get the easy-to-use tool.)
Step 3— Assign the list of problems to the roles. This will bring light to what areas and roles are weakest so you know what’s causing the cracks in the foundation of your business.
Step 4— Pick the weakest role to focus on fixing first. Break down 2-3 results you want to see from this role. Ex: Foreman: Ensures job is on schedule and in sync with what was quoted.
Step 5— Define the rules for the role. This is where you become leader and start creating systems for each role. Using simple visual aids such as flowcharts, checklists, white boards, and calendars, generally create better outcomes.
Once you have a system in place for a few weeks or months, that has been tested and proven to work, and something goes wrong, you have someone to hold accountable. Always keep in mind though, that as a good leader you must accept the fact that some systems must be tweaked or changed over time to better work with your current crew and business as it currently stands.
Having the roles, results, and rules laid out will allow you to lead your team versus bossing them around and constantly running around resolving issues.
When I look back on that project my boss had our team tackle— without any structure, plans, order, or someone leading the way, it’s no wonder it ended up a disaster. Never forget how important it is to find the weak spots in your business and get to work creating systems that’ll fix them and the issues they cause. You can take your business from chaos to control— it’s just all in how you lead your team and plan for a successful future.
Click here to download the Contractor’s Role Assessment Chart to help accelerate getting more control of your business. If you would like some help using this tool, or would like to chat more about this topic, click here to book time for a complimentary 60-minute chat (valued at $397) sponsored by Electrical Business Magazine.