In the concluding episode of our “Great Leaders in Construction” series, I had the privilege of delving into a heartwarming conversation with a dear friend, and highly successful contractor, Alison Heather. Her leadership journey is both inspiring and enlightening, filled with valuable lessons for aspiring leaders in the construction world.
Who is Alison Heather?
Alison’s commitment to the construction world began in 1985, transitioning from a solo house painter in San Francisco to co-leading a flourishing painting business, Heather & French Painting, with her business partner Jill French. With a focus on high-end residential projects, Alison and Jill’s leadership has steered their company to notable success. Their team of 30 dedicated professionals, along with being an in-demand employer, is a testament to their consistency and dedication as leaders.
The Power of Authentic Leadership
Alison’s greatest leadership lesson is simplicity itself: Be Yourself. This approach has allowed her to accept her weaknesses and play to her strengths. That’s the kind of real talk that turns good businesses into GREAT ones.
- Accept your limitations and seek out the support of others who can fill the gaps.
- Leverage your team’s unique skills and talents.
- Always be true to who you are and be authentic – it will take you far!
- Being consistent in keeping your word builds a reputation of being a great company to work with and for.
Being Accountable: The Backbone of Leadership
Accountability and responsibility are non-negotiables in Alison’s business ethos. Doing what you say you’re going to do isn’t just a saying; it’s a practice. She makes sure her word means something, not only to her clients but also to her team.
- Your word is your reputation.
- Consistency in action sets an example for the team.
Building A Stress-Free Culture
Our industry is stressful; let’s face it. Heather & French manages to mitigate this by being relentless in having clear communication and precise scheduling—hats off to Alison’s business partner Jill and their bilingual field superintendent Francisco for nailing this aspect.
Why Employees Stick Around
Heather & French has an impressively low turnover rate. They check in with their team, listen to them, and value their input. People genuinely want to work for them because they feel valued, seen, and heard.
To Sum it Up
Alison Heather is a living example of how being authentic, accountable, and considerate can transform you into an effective leader. She and Jill are pros at placing the right people in the right roles, playing to people’s strengths. Make sure to watch or listen to my interview with Alison – you may just discover how to become an in-demand employer of choice like Heather & French are!