Beyond the Build

Beyond the Build

Group of Peers. No Pressure.

This week, I was in Denver participating in a peer group of other contractors from around the US–from Washington State to Pennsylvania. This was “an assembly of like, non-competing firms in an organized setting, exchanging private company information for mutual benefit.”

As a construction company, I found these three takeaways we discussed most helpful and to me, however, they can apply to other industries as well.

1. Never lose discipline.
Successful firms tend to be extremely well-disciplined in all areas of their business, but over time, it’s easy to become too bureaucratic. That’s when they start doing things outside of their core competencies. Try to do the same thing the same way, every day and everywhere. Build consistency into the company’s culture.

2. Keep your ego in check. 
A leader who exhibits an excessive ego is more likely to make poor decisions. He or she is often unwilling to listen to the opinions and suggestions of others. Confidence is a must, just be careful not to take it to an extreme. Doing so creates a scenario that can lead to bad business decisions, and worse, failure, because you thought you were invincible. Never drive the car faster than the brakes can slow you down.

3. Avoid too much change.
When too many things happen too quickly, changes that seem small to some can overwhelm others. Any company can absorb some level of change at any given time, but there’s a limit to what most organizations can handle at once. Instead, make a list of everything that’s new–customers, projects, geographical targets, people, systems–and manage the rate of change.

You might consider a peer group for your industry. If everyone “gels” and is transparent it will be a winner. We will be meeting again in the first quarter, and I’m already looking forward to it.

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Merrill Stewart Jr.

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