Most remodelers go into the business with no leadership training. Yet missteps in this area can profoundly damage your company.
Few remodelers start a company because they want to build a large team. Because of this, most learn leadership skills on the job rather than in a classroom. Here are some common leadership mistakes that I see even with the best. Your likelihood for success dramatically increases not by hitting the home runs. It improves by reducing the number of these mistakes.
1. Being reactive rather than proactive. This has many levels. Are you executing a vision and a plan, or do you react to opportunities as they come in the door? Do you control your week, or does it control you? Are you the voice of reason, or do you get caught up in the situations that create stress?
2. Hunting bigger projects. Many times, chasing bigger projects adds stress, reduces profit, and may lead to team and client-experience failure. Try to focus on your sweet-spot projects and avoid the whale hunting.
3. Knowing when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em. You need to invest in your best people to see their stock grow. More importantly, if they are cancer to the culture, or weak, you need to get rid of them quickly and move on. Your team respects decisiveness in these decisions and questions your leadership when you drag your feet.
4. Chasing opportunities. The opportunities in remodeling are almost limitless. It could be new products, client niches, or territories. It is important to grow in a healthy way rather than focusing only on the next cool thing. This shiny object can suck energy and hurt your core business.
It is important to grow in a healthy way rather than focusing only on the next cool thing. This shiny object can suck energy and hurt your core business.
5. Balancing your energy in the short and long term. As the pace of business speeds up, leaders tend to spend less time focusing on the long term. Are you looking at the horizon or only what is in front of you? Directional adjustments are critical to success, and it is the leader’s job to spend energy on the long term, too.
6. Allowing the leadership gap. As businesses grow, there often becomes a gap in leadership between you and your managers. Some managers can keep up with you, but many cannot. If this gap is too great, you are forced to spend a lot of time pulling weak managers up rather than them pushing you forward. This is a mistake. Recognizing the gap and fixing it is critical to long-term health and success.
7. Pacing. A common leadership mistake is moving too fast or too slow. A great question for leaders is,“Is this aggressive but realistic?” This may be subjective, but just by asking the question you are creating an environment to make better decisions.
The above mistakes will help you to think through some questions you should ask yourself. The most successful people in the remodeling industry don’t make better projects or have the secret sauce. They are just disciplined and focused on making fewer mistakes.