A few years ago, I was asked to sit on a judging committee for a prestigious annual journalism award. It’s an honor, and I love the work. Looking at great content is inspiring, and I always come away with ideas for Pro Remodeler.
But there’s another reason I value that committee—a reason I didn’t anticipate—and that’s the enormous benefits I get from spending time with other journalists. My fellow committee members aren’t competitors, yet we are in the same industry—publishing—and as media colleagues we face the same challenges. For that reason, we understand each other.
I am better today because of many vibrant conversations over how we solve particular problems at our brands, and I enjoy the insights we give each other throughout the year. The committee has come to feel like a sort of peer-to-peer advisory group, and I am lucky to be a part of it.
So why am I telling you this? Because Pro Remodeler is launching its own peer-to-peer advisory group, and I’m lucky to be a part of that one as well. Our initiative is called Remodeling Mastery Forums, and it’s a partnership between Pro Remodeler, the NAHB, and industry advisor Mark Richardson.
I AM BETTER TODAY BECAUSE OF TIME SPENT SOLVING PROBLEMS WITHIN A GROUP
The idea is simple but highly effective: Remodelers sign up and we place them in a group of about 10 non-competitive, like-minded company owners. The groups meet virtually once a month, so there’s no travel needed. Remodeling Mastery Forums aren’t just for business owners though; instead there are three additional positions featured within each company—sales, marketing, and production. Each has its own group that meets three times a year.
Company owners can choose to attend every monthly meeting, cycling through all four positions themselves, or they can offer employees the opportunity to learn from others doing similar jobs around the country.
The groups are facilitated by remodeling industry experts who guide the conversation and contribute valuable insights. Running a successful company takes different types of knowledge. One kind is clearly stated and relatively easy to teach, for example, “Ask homeowners about their goals for the project,” or “Make sure your contracts have this clause.”
But there’s another category of knowledge that’s more specific to an individual business. In these cases, the best practice may vary depending on the players. For example, how do you balance the needs and capacity of sales, design, and production? What’s the best way to handle instability in materials prices, or change orders, or a talented, but hard-to-manage team member? This knowledge is best learned through conversations over time.
That back and forth process becomes a remodeling alchemy where your strengths, and biggest challenges are discussed by the group until what emerges is pure gold.