4 WAYS TO CREATE ACCOUNTABILITY AND DISCIPLINE IN YOUR TEAM!
1. Set Goals
To create discipline you have to have a reason to be disciplined. Setting individual goals and team goals is a key way of achieving harmony in your business. Goal setting should be the very foundation you build your company on because it affects all areas of your business. The process of setting goals should be a collaborative effort because there is an important relationship between goal clarity and team effectiveness. One of the fastest ways to propel success is to have a team that has clarity on the action plan. It is very important to remember that how you define your goals also sets up your organizational culture. Those companies who have clear goals remove chaos from their structure and as a result, they improve productivity.
2. Create Structure
To achieve discipline you need to have structure. Each person’s roles and responsibilities need to be defined so that everyone knows what they are accountable for and how their roles impact the roles of others on the team. Create an organizational structure and show them examples how one team effects another, for example: if the installation crew provides bad quality of service it affects the sales team from getting referrals. Define the rules of the game, if you don’t outline rules nobody knows what’s inbound and out of bounds. Take note that when your company grows, it’s important to look at your teams’ roles and duties again, as things change such workload and the introduction of new team members.
3. Make The Team Accountability To The Team
Create an environment that requires everyone to participate, where the team benefits if they win together and consequences if they don’t work together. For example, you can set team targets in all areas of your business such as in Sales, Quality Control and Marketing, and if they achieve their team goal then everyone benefits. You as an employer also need to take responsibility for the team, for instance, if a team member is failing their team, then you need to step in and address the issue. You want to foster an organization that has open communication, where people can provide feedback on performances, this will help in curbing issues. When you create accountability in your environment it will off-set people from being lazy, blaming others and missing deadlines.
4. Systemize Habits
If you systemize habits, it will lead to more consistent outcomes from your employees. You don’t always want to be improvising because it’s simply not very productive, it leaves room for errors. Have systems in place that people have to follow with specific steps for how these systems need to be adhered to. For example, an installation crew needs to follow a certain checklist so that quality is assured. To produce more productive teams you can have a follow-up system of accountability, which allows for regular meetings that measure and track productivity. When you are drawing out the steps to systematizing a task it’s important to have your employees involved because they can provide valuable insight to the position. Once you have the steps layout, you should then have it all documented and posted so that the organization is clear on the process.
If you are struggling to find discipline in your team and you had hoped that common sense and basic respect for the job would be given, then I would highly suggest that you take a look at your workforce structure and see where you can systemize habits. Your role in the company shouldn’t be just to settle problems constantly, it should be about creating a culture that is based on accountability to each other so that productivity is always up. As the leader of the company you need to first set expectations for yourself and the team, and then model it.
Scott used to dread running team meetings.
Prior to this month, Scott, a contractor in the Greater Toronto Area, used to dread running team meetings.
The stress he felt leading up to them impacted how he handled specific topics discussed during the meetings, and he often found himself being extremely reactive as opposed to proactive.
It wasn’t until his interactions with Profit For Contractors did he realize his lack of structure and focus was the reason the team meetings were not successful. Scott didn’t know how to properly lead his team in this scenario and therefore communication was often skewed or lost in team meetings.
“We know poor communication can unleash an array of issues when it comes to running a business” Tweet This
Scott discovered the simple Profit For Contractors tool that helped him change everything: “The Top 5 Money-Making Meetings Guide”.
With this tool he was able to:
- Learn how to prepare for meetings ahead of time so that he is more proactive
- Be a better leader to his team
- Communicate effortlessly
- Set agendas for meetings
- Stick to a specific timeline so meetings were short, but effective and precise
- Save 2-4% on their bottom line profits
- Hire a new manager to take over the task of running meetings
The relief Scott now feels from knowing he or his manager are leading effective team meetings is life changing. Profit For Contractors offers simple tools to help you work smarter, not harder and in turn teaches you how to use these very tools on quarterly webinars.
If you are looking to change the way you lead your team meetings, and ultimately, make more profits, then join Profit For Contractors on our next education webinar June 27, 2017, at 11:00am EST.
If you have any questions concerning this topic, feel free to contact Profit for Contractors at 613-604-4531 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Technology has come a long way over the decades. It provides many options to allow contractors to better master their business. Almost every aspect of a contracting company can be systemized using technology of some sort.
Back in the day, there were far fewer tools to help you do daily work tasks. It was a lot more grit, brain power, and hands-on work to get the job done. It required working long days including evenings and weekends, immense stress due to keeping it all in your own head, and a tired body from always being on the go.
It doesn’t have to be that way anymore. Let’s compare:
THEN: picture the contractor who used a dull pencil and wrinkled papers crammed into an overstuffed folder to organize their day, keep their team accountable, hire new employees, and track their profits. Chaotic, right?
NOW: picture the contractor who uses a smartphone and tablet to systemize many aspects of their business; no mess, just a piece of technology tucked into their work pants, ready to tackle the day at the click of a button. Easy, right?
While there’s nothing wrong with using ‘old school’ methods to run and systemize a contracting business, it can create a bit of chaos if not done properly. Let’s face it, working solely on paper and in your own head can be tough— and lead to missed opportunities, and chaos in the office and job site.
Instead of sorting through dozens of papers scattered all throughout the company van, why not use a digital app to keep you organized and the company systemized?
There are many examples of what technology can do for us:
Organizing our time: now we have Google Calendar, Self Control – one example of a free apps that can block distracting websites from you during the workday, and the ability to set reminders on our phone. After all, why keep all your daily tasks in your own head when you can see them in front of so that you never miss a beat?
Keeping our team accountable: now we have digital checklists connected to mobile apps for employees to use such as the free online tool Trello. We also have software that can track your teams’ work hours such as ExakTime. Why just assume your team is working efficiently without you being there— know for sure so that you’re paying your crew for the time and effort they truly put in.
Hiring new employees: now we have the Internet and plenty of sites to help us find the perfect candidates for a job opening. Kijiji, Craigslist, Indeed, Monster, and Workopolis to name a few. Why just post the print ad on your office window and hope people will drop by— post it everywhere so you get more opportunities to work with only the best.
Tracking profits: Now we can hire employees to use QuickBooks or put together easy-to-read spreadsheets in order to stay on top of our financials. Why just hope for profits when we can plan for them?
At Profit For Contractors, we understand the struggle of keeping it all in your own head and not having the time to look for technological tools to help you better organize and systemize your business. It’s why we’d like to help you.
On our upcoming FREE webinar: “Systems & Procedures to Help you get CONTROL of your Business” we’re discussing the top systems contractors are using to maximize profits, get control of their teams, and get time back. It’s happening Tuesday, April 25th, 11:00am EST. Save your spot today by clicking here.
If you have any questions contact us at email@example.com or give us a call at 1-613-604-4531.
This blog post is full of time management tips. To learn how to implement them into your business and workday, book in a quick 15-minute chat with us: http://bit.do/15minchat.
1. Create Productive Habits
Create a calendar that includes your goals and the details of your actions needed to complete those goals. Make sure you prioritize your actions and tasks so that you’re always working on the most important items. Do not multi-task, but rather work in block times. For example: 8am-9am check emails/faxes, 10am-12pm work on estimates and bidding, etc. This way you can focus on 1 task at a time without deviating from being distracted by too many items.
2. Motivate and Delegate
Cultivating a ‘no waste’ environment in your small business is extremely important! Get your employees involved and on-board by getting them to create their own calendars. Share your calendar with your team members, so that they are aware of when you are available for meetings. The calendar will aid in improving your communication with your team members. You should also start delegating work; one way is to develop an apprenticeship plan that focuses on getting team members trained on low-valued tasks. This in return will help you free up your time to focus on the high valued tasks. Have the details of the training laid out in a manual, so that you can leverage this process for any new hire.
3. Take Time to Check on Finances
The old adage that “Cash is King” is true, but we should consider time as a factor as well. Time’s value of money is crucial, especially in account receivable analysis. Many companies fail to keep up with the account receivables.
You should bill your customers right away. Every day you wait is another day without getting paid. Print your account receivable report every month or if you are in a cash crunch then every week, so that you will know when you need to initiate stronger collection methods.
4. Time and Projects
The most important thing that all contractors should be doing is responding to quotes on a timely manner. To achieve this, you need to first prioritize your tasks, so that you make the time needed to create a quote, because if you’re slow at getting it out, then you give your competitors a bigger chance to walk away with the win.
Always track your time, because during projects this will be a vital source that will help you generate a more accurate estimates on how much time you need to work on a project and it will prevent you from getting under cut.
Many contractors will take deposits upfront and bill end of projects, but when you do this you leave yourself open to running out of cash especially if it’s a large project, and that is why I recommend that you breakdown project fees into different stages of payment.
One of the easiest way to increase your income, is to pay attention to how you are spending your time, and then make adjustments to help you spend it better. Having time management as a vital role in your company will allow you to make better choices that will yield better results. Get proactive about time management and start conditioning your environment and do not let it condition you.
Register for a complimentary webinar on Jan 24 at 11:00am and learn how to free up your time in 2017 and stop leaving behind what’s important. Click here to register: http://bit.do/jan24-web
You’re driving home after a long days work and your phone rings with yet another call from your team. They need your direction on something that should be routine for them. Yet again you have to pull up your sleeves to do a task you know is way below your pay grade. The task should be delegated to a team member but you just can’t shake free of it because you fear if you don’t tackle it yourself, something will go wrong. Sound familiar? Unless you do something about this boomerang effect now, you’ll be trapped for life with a business that cannot survive without you.
So how has your business come to be like this? The number one reason being that you lack systems. Currently you’re acting as the system; you’re either giving the step-by-step instructions every day or you’re doing the steps yourself— tasks you need to let go of.
Supporting your team with tools, templates, checklists, and other forms of systems is important for a number of reasons. The most compelling is so the owner can run the business without being run by the business. Systems should run your business; your team should follow the systems and your task should be to lead your team.
If you don’t have systems in place you’ll find it difficult to:
- Scale your business
- Create consistency amongst your team and their tasks
- Concentrate on high-value tasks as owner
- Maximize profits
- Assess employee performance
- Set targets for growth
Henry Ford made a profit by building and selling some of the first automobiles in America, but he became one of the wealthiest and most successful entrepreneurs in the world by figuring out systems that produced, marketed, and sold his cars for him. We need to do the same for your business. I’ve created a tool called “The Service Call Success System” that’ll help get you started. Download it here: http://bit.ly/28LXDyH
Now that you’ve got the tool and you’re ready to follow along, we need to figure out where to start.
Here’s a list of common areas contractors have problems with due to a lack of systems:
- Administrative duties
- Tracking labour and material
- Marketing and sales
What are some areas in your business that are lacking systems? Create a list and then determine what tasks can be delegated from those areas. Start with planning to delegate the lowest-value tasks first— that way you can start to focus your time doing higher-value tasks in your day. You may want to do this in a team meeting in order to get them to understand what the benefits are for the business and for the team and what this means moving forward. Delegating lower-value tasks is all part of creating systems that will increase your teams’ ownership and accountability so it doesn’t always fall on you.
It’s time to create a system:
Step 1) Break the steps down into phases: For example, your service department would include 3 core phases of START (Prior to the service call itself), RUN (During the service call), and FINISH (Service call is complete.) Use different coloured sticky notes to list tasks specific to START, RUN, and FINISH.
Step 2) Measure each step: Rate out of 10 how well each step is being performed. Once finished, you’ll see the lowest rating is the weakest link and that’s where we’ll need to create our first system.
Step 3) Create a system: Ask yourself what type of system is going to work best for each step. Is it going to be a checklist, a form, a white board, some type of spreadsheet, or maybe new software? Get your administrative assistant to create something on paper and do some research into some software systems that may help, and then test it for a couple of weeks and tweak accordingly.
What we’ve just covered is going to give you the insights for some quick wins in order to get you moving forward now. If you’re interested in what other topics we teach and tools we have to help you enhance your business, then come out to our live webinar sponsored by Electrical Business Magazine on August 23, 2016 at 2 p.m. EST. Click here to register to the “Cash Flow Problems? 5 Ways to Maximize your Profits” live webinar. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
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.
Some people are great at a variety of things. Some people are great at just a few things.
Some people are ‘naturals’; they’re good at just about everything they lay their hands on— but that doesn’t necessarily mean they enjoy doing it.
Even though these people can do just about any and all tasks, I wouldn’t consider most of them their strengths, and that’s because it may be draining to them— stressful, energy-sucking, difficult, you name it.
If you can recognize the true strengths in your team members, you can play them to the best of their abilities and it’d only be beneficial to not only them, but to you and the business as well.
You have to claim your strengths and recognize the signs that define a strength. If we can apply this to ourselves, we can easily apply this to our team. If we can find things we’re good at— that also ‘fuel our tank’, you’ll have a lot more success. And it’ll be a lot easier to move forward in strengthening your business.
There are four core signs, or emotions if you will, to knowing something is truly a strength:
When you do the activity you feel effective and you feel in control. This is where you feel self-sufficient— you can work on your own and know you’ll rock it every time.
When you go to do the activity, you look forward to doing it. You’ve got this natural ability for doing this task or activity.
While you’re working on it, you’ll be very focused and you may lose track of time, because you’ve just lost yourself in the task… in a good way, because you’re keen to learn the task or activity.
After you’re done the activity, even if you feel drained, you feel fulfilled.
It’s important to understand this because when we get so busy in our work, we sometimes define what we’re good at based upon results. Or we may do the same with our team members.
How many times do owners promote a team member and have them resign within only a few months? How many times does a person land a new position, who’s capable of these higher-value tasks, but in just a few months their performance fails drastically?
Perhaps it wasn’t because these people couldn’t do the jobs, but that the job required them to constantly do tasks and activities that didn’t play to their strengths— it became draining and unfulfilling to them.
You can’t make a weakness a strength— you can help diminish the weakness, and make certain daunting tasks and activities less so, but it’ll never be a natural or true strength.
So how can we minimize our weakness?
1. Stop doing it— team up or delegate the task or activity to others, if possible.
2. Defaulting your time— fill your day with your strengths and gain your energy from those tasks so that when you must handle a task or activity that is your weakness, you don’t get completely overwhelmed in your day.
3. Change your lens of strength— change your perspective on the matter, because sometimes you may think an entire task or activity is your weakness, but in reality only one small aspect or detail is. i.e.: You hate confrontation and arguments with clients or coworkers, but love research, problem-solving, and asking questions. So next time you find yourself in an argument, take it upon yourself to ask a lot of questions in order to solve the problem, and play it from a different angle.
Now that you have better knowledge on strengths and weaknesses in the work place, it’s time to step back and evaluate your team members.
So for example, instead of focusing on your ‘Employee A’ as being lazy because they constantly forget to fill in their paperwork, take it upon yourself to make this something positive. Play with your strengths, and help them diminish their weakness. If you love playing the role of leader and love the task of being educator, then this is a perfect opportunity to dig deep and explain why this is important and go over how to do the task once more.
If you’re the type of business owner that constantly feels as though you’ve accomplished nothing of high-value most days, simply because you’re constantly putting out fires, doing tasks you shouldn’t be doing, or are distracted by 1-million other things in your business, then it’s time you start implementing a few of these tips and tricks in your daily routine!
1. Get an app that literally blocks your online distractions. Apps for Google Chrome internet browser such as “StayFocused” can be set up to block your computer from accessing any tempting site from you for a certain amount of hours. Facebook always on your mind? Block it until lunch hour or even the entire work day. LinkedIn notifications distracting you? Determine what time of day (and for how long) is all right for you to check them!
2. Turn off your cell phone notifications. Especially if you have a personal cellphone on top of a work phone. When you’re working, put your phone on silent or sleep mode for the day. You’ll still receive all your messages but you won’t get a buzz or ding sound until you turn this option off.
3. Shut off notifications from emails and social media from your computer. Mac computers give you the option of setting the “Do Not Disturb” on for a certain amount of time in which you won’t get pop-ups distracting you from your work.
4. Do ONE thing at a time. You heard me. ONE. Block off time using your Google calendar in 30–60 minute long intervals. You can write comments and lay out full plans for each task right on the web. If you want, this app can give you a reminder, say 30-minutes, prior to your next task. Never miss a call or appointment again! Share your calendar with others so they can see when you’re free and when you’re busy. Also colour coordinate your tasks. Ex: make red very important, green a quick, easy task, and yellow something intermediate or something you do as a part of a team.
5. Every hour get up a stretch. Walk around your office, or at the very least, look away from your computer screen for 5 minutes. Trust me, this is where the migraines come in if you aren’t careful! Take time to stay hydrated, drink water, and eat something. Work is priority, but you and your body and mind should be too. You’ll be 10x more eager to work throughout the day just by taking little breaks for yourself every once and awhile!
6. Use sticky notes! These are great for when a random idea pops into your head that you don’t want to forget but shouldn’t focus on right away. Stick them right to your monitor and on your next break, re-read it and put it into your schedule for the day or week if possible.
7. Learn to say no. Dedicated to getting a big task done by the end of the work day? Do you have it put into your Google calendar for the next, say, 2 hours and have provided your team with a spare block hour sometime else in your day? If they come to you during your 2 hours of working on that big task, say no. Unless, of course, it’s an emergency. Tell them to come back during your free hour!
Stay focused, friends! All these tips will result in small, but positive changes, but they’ll take you such a long way as business owner! A more productive day is just around the corner.
For more tips and advice and to learn how we can help your business advance, click here to get more information!
We also have an amazing online workshop coming up that’s going to teach contractors like yourself how to create systems your team can run without you— which, obviously, will help you with your day-to-day productivity! Click here for more information and to register! (Spots are limited!)
At Profit for Contractors we’re dedicated to helping you and your business flourish.
With nearly a decade of successfully helping contractors fix and grow their business to its utmost potential, we’re confident we can help you too. Constant help is always at your fingertips, and with a little work, your goals can become a reality.
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Phone: (613) 801-0256
Location: 37 Moore St.
Richmond ON K0A 2Z0