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The Profit Builder

2 Simple ways to get staff to take more ownership

One of the key complaints I hear from managers and leaders is that their staff don’t take ownership. This challenge seems to be universal as evidence in a survey I did recently where 72% of respondents said they struggled with this very issue. 

In this week’s blog, my guest Sonja Stetzler shared with me two simple things managers and leaders can do to get their teams to take more ownership.  At the end of the blog, she even provides a simple “cheat sheet”  you can use.

Hope you find this 20-minute video helpful in supporting you on your leadership journey.

 

Warmest,

Vicki

p.s.  Get the tool Sonja shared about in this video blog – it’s a great little tool for helping you to get your team to take more ownership!

p.p.s. If you found this content to be useful, please share it with a friend?

Vicki Suiter helps people see their businesses differently, then gives them the tools to do things differently.  Since beginning her business in 1990, Vicki has helped hundreds of contractors achieve the kind of success they never dreamed possible. Today, in addition to consulting, Vicki is an in-demand speaker at industry conferences nationally and internationally. Vicki’s articles and opinions have been widely shared in print and across the web. She is also the author of the book “The Profit Bleed” How managing margin can save your contracting business.

What Stops You?

This week I caught myself in the mental loop of “ya-buts”.  You know, the little voice in our head that paralyzes us from taking action.  That voice that runs through the litany of things that make us second guess, not trust ourselves, and then . . . hesitate. 

And stop.

In today’s video, I share with you the question I asked myself that helped me get back into action.

Maybe it will help you too the next time you feel stuck in inaction.

Warmest,

Vicki

p.s.  Do you have some question(s) you ask yourself to get unstuck? Please share in the comments below, or, reach out to me on LinkedIn or Facebook and tell me.  

p.p.s. If you found this content to be useful, please share it with a friend?

Vicki Suiter helps people see their businesses differently, then gives them the tools to do things differently.  Since beginning her business in 1990, Vicki has helped hundreds of contractors achieve the kind of success they never dreamed possible. Today, in addition to consulting, Vicki is an in-demand speaker at industry conferences nationally and internationally. Vicki’s articles and opinions have been widely shared in print and across the web. She is also the author of the book “The Profit Bleed” How managing margin can save your contracting business.

The real reason employees lack ownership…

Some of the most common complaints I hear from business owners and managers is, “It’s tough to find good people to work for me!” and, “people just don’t take ownership of their job!”

You may think the problem is all because of a labor shortage, or that people lack motivation or a good work ethic, but it may be something else.

This is what I talk about in today’s video blog. Enjoy!

Do you have a practice that helps you hold your team accountable? Share it in the comments below or reach out to me on LinkedIn or Facebook and tell me.  

Make it a great day!

Warmest,

Vicki

p.s.  Get your free resource “6 Steps to Writing Great Position Agreements” and start building a team that takes more ownership.

p.p.s. If you found this blog useful, please share it? Thanks!

Vicki Suiter helps people see their businesses differently, then gives them the tools to do things differently.  Since beginning her business in 1990, Vicki has helped hundreds of contractors achieve the kind of success they never dreamed possible. Today, in addition to consulting, Vicki is an in-demand speaker at industry conferences nationally and internationally. Vicki’s articles and opinions have been widely shared in print and across the web. She is also the author of the book “The Profit Bleed” How managing margin can save your contracting business.

I stopped doing this, and it made me less effective…

For the past few months, the topic of social media has been nagging at me. It’s something I know I need to pay more attention to. Not just because it’s a “should” but because I know that if I’m going to accomplish my goals, I’ve got to get better at what I’m doing in that arena.

Each week I move the “gotta address” list of social media issues from one place to another on my desk, promising myself that I’ll get back to it.  Daily I think to myself “I’ve got to sit down with that list and make a plan.”

That nagging feeling and angst of uncertainty occupies a lot of space in my brain, and always has me wondering “am I going to completely blow it if I don’t do something with this stuff soon?”

Today while meeting with my VA (virtual assistant) Dortha who handles my social media, it suddenly became clear to me what the real problem is. 

About three months ago I stopped meeting with her on our every other week schedule.  We used to meet every two weeks, and when we did, we had an agenda and a list of projects we were working to move forward. 

Without the meetings, those projects didn’t go away. And while we were communicating via email, there was always these pieces that just didn’t get addressed.  Those pieces I kept in my head and kept carrying around on that piece of paper.

Today as we were talking, this sense of clarity and certainty about what we need to do next became completely evident.  My angst and worry subsided, and I felt like we were back on the same page.  

It was clear that our stopping our meetings made me, and her, less effective in what we are doing.  And it caused me to let that “list” to occupy much too much of my mental time and energy.

As we ended our meeting we set our next meeting for two weeks.  I knew that this was the key to my being more effective in this area of my business, and was reminded that when I have a consistent set of practices for managing results with my team, communication flows better, I have more peace of mind, and we get more stuff done!

Recently my friend Josh Patrick invited me to be a guest on his podcast, and on it, I talk more about how to create a consistent set of practices around managing for results, or as the title of the interview says, “Top Down Management.” 

It’s a quick listen, so go check it out.

Do you have a set of practices for managing effectively with your team? Please share your top two most important practices for managing for results with your team. Or, reach out to me on LinkedIn or Facebook and tell me.  

Make it a great day!

Warmest,

Vicki

Vicki Suiter helps people see their businesses differently, then gives them the tools to do things differently.  Since beginning her business in 1990, Vicki has helped hundreds of contractors achieve the kind of success they never dreamed possible. Today, in addition to consulting, Vicki is an in-demand speaker at industry conferences nationally and internationally. Vicki’s articles and opinions have been widely shared in print and across the web. She is also the author of the book “The Profit Bleed” How managing margin can save your contracting business.

The ONE thing you can do to ensure that candidate is a right fit…

When asked what their biggest frustration was as a manager, over 30% of survey respondents said they wished they were better at hiring.

In the early stages of my career, I remember feeling that way as a manager.  I was hiring a lot of people who didn’t seem to be the right fit, and it was super frustrating.

Can you relate?

That frustration pushed me to learn how to hire better.  I learned that one of the key steps was knowing how to ask better questions.

Questions that let you get insight into the candidate’s depth of their skill, practices, and qualifications to the job well.

Questions that let you how they think, their strengths, weaknesses, and how they problem solve.

Questions that help you get to know the candidate, not just on paper, but as a person.

Asking those kinds of questions gives you a whole different understanding of who that person is, and if they are really qualified to do the job.

In this week’s video, I walk you through what kinds of questions to ask, and what to listen for too. I help you understand how to set up the interview to ensure you’re confident and clear if the candidate is a right fit, or not.

At the bottom of this post, is a link where you can get those questions to use the next time you’re interviewing.

I’d love to hear what is one of your practices, systems or discipline you have that has helped you in hiring better – so leave a comment below.  Or, reach out to me on LinkedIn or Facebook and tell me.  

Make it a great day!

Warmest,

Vicki

P.S. Each of the questions has tips on what to listen for as people respond. Those tips can help you listen for “right fit” in regard to skills, qualifications, and personality. And you’ll stop feeling uncertain as to whether or not that person can really do the job.

P.P.S. If you found this post helpful, would you please share it?

Vicki Suiter helps people see their businesses differently, then gives them the tools to do things differently.  Since beginning her business in 1990, Vicki has helped hundreds of contractors achieve the kind of success they never dreamed possible. Today, in addition to consulting, Vicki is an in-demand speaker at industry conferences nationally and internationally. Vicki’s articles and opinions have been widely shared in print and across the web. She is also the author of the book “The Profit Bleed” How managing margin can save your contracting business.

Attracting “A-Players” to work for you…

In a survey I did last week, I asked respondents where they would like to be more effective as a manager or leader.  45% said attracting and hiring “A-Players” to their team.

The complaint I hear a lot these days is “it’s tough to find good people to work for us – it’s an employees market.” 

That statement has me think back to 2009 when people were saying “it’s tough to find work these days – it’s a buyers’ market.”

While I fully appreciate the reality of supply and demand, this thought occurs to me…

When those conditions exist, what are you and I doing to develop a company where “A-players” want to work, or that the best clients want to hire?

Last year when I was teaching a webinar (titled “How to Get Your Team to take More Ownership), someone I’ve known for many years, Peter, asked if he could share something.

Here is what Peter said…

“If you want to attract the best, be the best.  It doesn’t come from outside, it starts with you. Your processes, your disciplines, and the every day practices as a leader.” Peter went on to say “it was when we implemented better systems and process, and commit to following them, that we became a stronger better company.  It was when we started making ourselves a better company, we attracted a higher caliber of person to work for us.”

After the webinar I reached out to Peter and asked him to tell me more about what prompted his share.  He explained that as he listened to people talk about their struggle in hiring great people, he could so empathize.  Here’s what he told me…

“I’d been in business for eight years, working 60-70 hours a week, always babysit my team to get things done, and not being able to be away from my business without worry.  I was exhausted and beyond frustrated.  I wanted to change all that, and knew I needed change something about how I ran my business.

It was while at a conference and talking with some peers and their staff that I began to realize that it WAS possible to change all that – but I needed to change how I approach my business. From that day forward I committed to finding out how.

I became friends with those business leaders, and we began talking often.  They were incredibly generous in sharing with me what they’d done to grow their businesses, and develop teams of “A-players.”

The two thing they all had in common was this . . .

  • They implemented solid systems and process, and then followed them. 
  • They got clear about accountabilities of their teams and then hired people who possessed those skills. 

So that’s what I did. 

Slowly week by week, month by month, I built solid systems and process, which allowed us to start systematizing what we did, and as a result become more efficient in production.  

My team started to step up in whole new ways.  Where before I used to babysit people all the time, now what I manage is results – and I hold people accountable.

I became fiercely committed to having the discipline to follow through, and have my team do the same. 

Now I work less than 40 hours a week, take off 5 weeks a year, and we’re being sought after by great people to work for us. 

And the other great thing is this – I’m loving what I do now more than ever before!”

I loved hearing about Peter’s success.  One of the things his story clearly demonstrates was his discipline in building a better company was the very thing that allowed him to build a team of “A-Players” who have that same discipline and rigor.

Be what you seek.

As we chatted, Peter shared one practice he has, that he says has transformed his company culture and positively impacted his ability to build a business where great people want to work.

The most successful companies I work with do this one thing too. 

It’s simple…

Do what you say you’re going to do when you say you’re going to do it. 

If you say you’re going to show up at the meeting at 8:00, show up at 8:00.  If you say you’re going to have that bid to them on Friday, have the bid to them on Friday.  If you say you’re going to call back by the end of the week, call back by the end of the week. 

It’s a practice. And one that if you do it consistently will instill discipline in your company that can completely transform your identity and reputation.  It’s a discipline that builds trust, confidence AND uniqueness.  We can all agree, it’s not a discipline everyone has.

Stand out from the crowd

I guarantee that if you strive to do this ONE thing, it can completely transform your business and your life.  As you build an identity of someone who can be trusted, more people will want to work with you.

Here are a few tips on how to implement this…

  • Stop making agreements you know you can’t keep. We often say ‘yes’ to things just so we won’t look bad. It doesn’t serve you or them.
  • When you know you can’t meet the deadline/time agreement you made, renegotiate it BEFORE it becomes a broken agreement
  • Start making more explicit agreements – like what and by when. You’d be amazed, but this actually helps you be less overwhelmed because instead of having a lot of “open-ended” agreements, you have time driven agreements, which will help you better manage your time.

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I’d love to hear what is one of your practices, systems or discipline you have that has helped you build a better company – so leave a comment below.  Or, reach out to me on LinkedIn or Facebook and tell me.

Here’s to your continued success.

Warmest,

Vicki

p.s. in the comments below, share one of your best practices, systems or disciplines that have helped you become a great company!

Vicki Suiter helps people see their businesses differently, then gives them the tools to do things differently.  Since beginning her business in 1990, Vicki has helped hundreds of contractors achieve the kind of success they never dreamed possible. Today, in addition to consulting, Vicki is an in-demand speaker at industry conferences nationally and internationally. Vicki’s articles and opinions have been widely shared in print and across the web. She is also the author of the book “The Profit Bleed” How managing margin can save your contracting business.

Doing this 1 thing can help alleviate your worry…

As Don sat down across from me the worry and angst on his face was palpable.  “What’s up?” I asked?

“I know we’re in better shape at the beginning of this year than we were last year at this time, but I’m worried that it’s not enough.  I’m concerned that the economy is going to turn, and we won’t have enough work.”

I can relate.  We’re all wondering when the economy is going to take a turn. And none of us have a crystal ball that will tell us that.

But what we do have is data.  Data that can help us alleviate at least some of that uncertainty and worry.

I asked Don if he knew how much his backlog was as of the beginning of the year.  “No” he explained, “we have just been pushing to get as much work done as we could by year-end to meet schedule deadlines, and we’re trying to ramp up bidding right now.”

With all the balls we must juggle as business owners, it can be difficult to take the time to stop and look at the data.  And yet, it is exactly that which will allow us to get more clarity, focus, and certainty about what we need to be doing to “have it all turn out okay.”

Finding relief in the numbers        

Looking at the data will let you move from worry and uncertainty, to have certainty and focus on what actions you need to take.

I asked Don if he could easily access this information, and could we look at it together. He said yes, and as we started to dig into his project reports we pulled out the following information…

               The balance remaining on contracts at 12/31/18.  I asked him to include T&M projects and an estimated amount that he would bill for the balance of the project.

               Value of contracts on projects signed, and not yet started

With this data in hand, we spread out over 12 months the amount he projected to bill on each project by month.  I suggested he be conservative.

Then we took his revenue goal for the year and split that out by month, taking into accounts fluctuations of when he is busier or slower.

We then tallied up the amount he projected to bill each month in total and compared that to his revenue goal by month. 

This allowed Don to see exactly how much he was short or over per month and for the year to meet his revenue goals. 

As we reviewed the data, Don’s face began to soften, and the look of worry faded from his face. 

He suddenly smiled and said “wow, that’s the biggest backlog I’ve ever had at one time! And while I’m a little freaked out by the fact that I have that much more to sell this year, I now can at least see exactly how much that is!”

When you can see it, you can do something about it

 

In today’s video I walk you through how to use this kind of tracking tool and give you a link to a worksheet I’ve developed that you can use right now to develop your own backlog tracking worksheet.

As I told Don, and I’d recommend for you, if you want to have more peace of mind and alleviate the worry of whether your going to make it, update this spreadsheet every month.

Even if the numbers don’t show a picture you want to see, it will at least let you get clear on how much of a gap exists between where you are and where you want to be, so you will know definitively how much you still need to sell.

Hope you find this information helpful. 

Warmest,

 

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p.s.  Get my Backlog Tracking Tool at no charge, and start having a greater sense of clarity and stop the worry!

p.p.s.  If you found this article helpful, please share it with an associate or friend?

p.p.p.s.  In my book, The Profit Bleed, I talk in more depth about other ways you can get more peace of mind and stop worrying.  AND start having more control over the results of your business.  For a limited time, it’s available for FREE, so check it out.

Vicki Suiter helps people see their businesses differently, then gives them the tools to do things differently.  Since beginning her business in 1990, Vicki has helped hundreds of contractors achieve the kind of success they never dreamed possible. Today, in addition to consulting, Vicki is an in-demand speaker at industry conferences nationally and internationally. Vicki’s articles and opinions have been widely shared in print and across the web. She is also the author of the book “The Profit Bleed” How managing margin can save your contracting business.

Celebrating the wins…

Each December I ask my clients to share with me their biggest wins for the year.  And as the discussion begins, I notice the stranges thing happens…

People want to tell me all about what they didn’t get done!

It’s funny how we’re wired to look for where we’re lacking, or not perfect, or falling short.  Somehow we have this strange idea of that until we’re perfect, we can’t celebrate the wins!

In this weeks video, I share with you how I’ve helped my clients get past this – check it out… maybe it can help you too. 🙂

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I’d love to hear what one of your wins are from this year in the comments below! Or, reach out to me on LinkedIn or Facebook and tell me.

In closing, I wish the happiest of holidays and may 2019 be your best year ever!

Warmest,

 

p.s.  sneak peek… my book, The Profit Bleed has just been released in Kindle version – check it out.

Vicki Suiter helps people see their businesses differently, then gives them the tools to do things differently.  Since beginning her business in 1990, Vicki has helped hundreds of contractors achieve the kind of success they never dreamed possible. Today, in addition to consulting, Vicki is an in-demand speaker at industry conferences nationally and internationally. Vicki’s articles and opinions have been widely shared in print and across the web. She is also the author of the book “The Profit Bleed” How managing margin can save your contracting business.

Done for you marketing – with Kyle Hunt

When your super busy, it’s hard to think about marketing.  You know you “should” but who has time? 

And, with all the choices for how you could be marketing – social media, networking, sending postcards, etc. – which is the right one to choose? How do you know which one will have the greatest return?  It’s often this question that keeps us from doing any marketing.

The problem is this – when you don’t market when your busy here’s what happens…, after the current flood of work is over, you start to panic, you begin marketing like crazy, work comes in, you get busy, you stop marketing, and then work stops, you panic, then you market like crazy – and the cycle continues.

I call this the “roller coaster” of being in the contracting industry.

Last month while I was talking with my friend Kyle Hunt with Remodel Your Marketing, he had some great tips for helping remodelers (and any business) know how to focus on a few key things you can do easily and naturally to “prime the marketing pump.”

This blog post is a video of me interviewing Kyle as he explains what those few tips are. 


As always, if you have any questions or comments to add to the topic – please drop a comment below or feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn or Facebook.

Warmest,

 

p.s. make sure to watch the video to the end – Kyle offers some great resources that can help you implement the ideas he shares.

Vicki Suiter helps people see their businesses differently, then gives them the tools to do things differently.  Since beginning her business in 1990, Vicki has helped hundreds of contractors achieve the kind of success they never dreamed possible. Today, in addition to consulting, Vicki is an in-demand speaker at industry conferences nationally and internationally. Vicki’s articles and opinions have been widely shared in print and across the web. She is also the author of the book “The Profit Bleed” How managing margin can save your contracting business.

2 Numbers in your business you need to know

The one report I see most business owners don’t look at very often, if ever, is their balance sheet. The bummer is this – that means they don’ know two of the most important numbers that will help them grow a successful company.

It’s not because their lazy, or don’t care. Mostly it’s because they don’t know how to interpret what it says, or how to use it.

Is this true for you too?

In this week’s video, I show you what those two numbers are, and how to use them to build a stronger, more profitable business.

By the way – these are the 2 numbers your bank looks at to determine if they will extend you credit.

In addition to watching the video, you can also download my guide on “How to Read Financial Reports.” It explains exactly how to calculate these 2 numbers and more.

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I hope you’ve found this post to be helpful – and as always, I’d love to hear your thought.  So please leave a comment below or reach out to me on LinkedIn or Facebook.

Warmest,

 

p.s. if you found this post valuable, will you please share it with your network? Thanks!

Vicki Suiter helps people see their businesses differently, then gives them the tools to do things differently.  Since beginning her business in 1990, Vicki has helped hundreds of contractors achieve the kind of success they never dreamed possible. Today, in addition to consulting, Vicki is an in-demand speaker at industry conferences nationally and internationally. Vicki’s articles and opinions have been widely shared in print and across the web. She is also the author of the book “The Profit Bleed” How managing margin can save your contracting business.

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