Beyond the Build


This Is Not Always a Hand Off Business

When I visit one of our projects and see something that is not done as promised to our customer, there’s nothing that frustrates me more than hearing, “I told ______ to do it.” I continually remind our folks that the service business is not a hand off business. We are responsible for every detail of a job, from beginning to end, which I consider the two hardest parts.

As a building contractor (or service provider, which is what most businesses in the core really are), there are plenty of opportunities to pass responsibility–and maybe blame–on down the food chain. While there are not enough hours in the day for our management team and site superintendents to complete every task necessary to build a job, we are responsible for the follow through. Delegating is part of our expertise and making sure it gets done is also part of our work day. If we make a request of someone else, it’s our job to ensure it’s been completed. We owe this to the client and to ourselves.

How to get it done?

I have found there are two types of managers, the ones to whom you say it one time and forget it and the others who need the follow up on occasion. What works best for me is to blind copy myself on email and then scan at the end of the week on the important tasks delegated. I also use the voice notes on my iPhone with verbal direction. Sometimes, it takes a little reminding that this is not always a hand off world.

Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.