Photo: courtesy stock.adobe.com
There have been so many metaphors and analogies that have attempted to make sense out of the remodeling business over the last 18 months or so.
Right after COVID hit, I began seeing the environment like driving in a fog, not knowing whether we were approaching a cliff or clear skies.
With significant tailwinds (consumer demand) at the same time as huge headwinds (supply issues, backlogs, prices), most are caught in a cyclone. While this storm generates significant energy, it also creates a challenging dynamic.
This dynamic has business leaders drowning just as much as they’re riding the wave. If you’re feeling this, you are not alone, and it’s not your fault. However, it is your fault if you don’t try to address it and adjust your course. Ask yourself: Have you lost your way?
The following are a few themes to help you find your way again:
1. Be empathetic.
We are all processing this world from a different lens. Try to see things through the team members’ eyes. Try to understand that your clients are not just working at home, many are living at work, meaning your jobsite is their workplace, too. Try to remember suppliers cannot get you product when it’s on a ship. While empathy is not a solution, it is a mindset you need to embrace.
2. Make people a priority.
When something lasts (as it has) for a long time, it becomes the new normal. While you might not have considered remote work, your people may be more productive and happier. It’s important to find ways for a win-win. Do this by making the team a part of the conversation. Make bringing on talent a top priority (and really put some marketing dollars behind it). Make working for or with you much more than a job—make it a cause.
3. Think long-term but plan short-term.
Start by carving out more time with key leaders on your team to discuss long-term interests and goals. The key, however, is to have an extraordinarily strong 12-week plan led by one to three top priorities. Then, make sure everyone is aligned to execute.
4. Get scrappy.
As a process guy, it’s hard for me to say that, but it’s true. Do not sit back and rest on your processes—many won’t work anymore. Try to think out of the box. Try to send defense in to score and the offense in to defend. Spend more time every day to think out of the box to make things happen.
5. Be a better leader.
Throughout our history, we’ve made it through exceedingly tricky situations generally because of strong leadership. Your skills as a leader today are more important than ever. You need to balance high-touch with high-tech communication. You need to be investing more time with the people in the trenches, not in your office. Invest time in your leadership mindset and it will pay off as we pass through today’s environment. What’s remembered is how you led, not just what you did.
In closing, if you feel like you have lost your way (even partially), you can get it back. However, you need to not sit back and let your way find you. You need to be proactive and find it.
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