CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTING FOR SUCCESS
COUNTRY & COMPANY CULTURES
Company cultures, just like country cultures, are all different. This means it is important to recognize the differences in both cases and where you as a person and as a group can make a difference to make it better.
To amplify the differences in country cultures as an example, at the present time in our world history, it is a good time and we must all do whatever it takes for survival. We must all pull together with love and respect for other people, unifying our efforts and resources. When a culture like ISIS calls for killing people, we have a big problem and must take action now.
SEARCHING FOR SUCCESS
When it comes to construction company successes, it is also necessary to identify characteristics that make the difference between success and failure and then take action. Some people believe, as an example, that if you invent a better mouse trap, they will beat a path to your door. As this FORM MARKS magazine is read by people from more than 30 countries with multiple meanings for words, it is important that we take the time to understand this age-old U.S. saying because “It takes a lot more than just a good idea and a single person to achieve successes.” In today’s very competitive business world, it takes a team who understands the needs of their customers all working together with common identified objectives and educations in special professions working with the best business processes.
BUILDING ON PERSONAL EXPERIENCES
As my experiences are based on the U.S. as a country, surviving U.S. companies and EFCO’s 80 years of successes as one of the companies, let’s look at what leads to our successes. Assume most everyone recognizes the difference between, for example, the “have” and the “have not” countries. Today, as an example, we can name Cuba, Russia, and Venezuela that are loaded with “have not” people where the governments think they have the power to do whatever they choose. U.S. successes are based on freedoms, and one of the most important for this study is the free market economy. Let’s say for simplicity, the U.S. governments (federal, state, city, and county) specified what our people need and want and, some of the time, what they can not afford.
LET THE FREE MARKET PLAY ITS PART
The next step is to release the opportunity, in this case the project for construction, to a free market bid, contract, and supply system. This is the point where the free market forces take over. The entrepreneurs bring together competitive forces looking for innovative best solutions for the best value at the lowest cost.
For concrete construction contractors, for example, this is an excellent example where competitive forces really go to work. Experienced construction professionals and engineers pull together multiple solutions and options to deliver the best value and lowest cost for the defined product project solutions.
To this point, it all sounds philosophical and is but very important to all of us for many reasons. Let’s assume you are living and working in a free market economy country, which we are all grateful for, and you want to identify and support your company to support even more successes. If you have not done it before, I suggest you read and listen to words of wisdom by Jim Collins in:
• “Built to Last”
• “Good to Great”
These are excellent sources, like a Bible when we look for guidance, to build a foundation for a good and profitable company.
EFCO TEAM BUILDING FOR SUCCESS
EFCO successes relate to many of our EFCO customers’ successes, and we can all benefit by comparing notes and working together. A lot of our successes at EFCO are a result of things that our founder W. A. Jennings has given us. In addition, for decades our employee team has discovered and delivered a foundation of team building efforts for continuing successes, and they are:
• Core Values: Q-I-I-S – Quality – Innovation – Integrity – Super Service
• EFCO Creed: “Listen – Discuss – Decide – Support”
• Balance the benefits for our stakeholders: Customers, Employees, and Stockholders
• “It is not the initial cost, it is the initial cost plus the cost of using.”
• “Provide the best value, and the lowest in-place concrete cost.”
• BHAG – For EFCO, a “Big Hairy Audacious Goal” of being the best at our business.
• “Find a need and fill it.”
• “One of the most important things you can do in life is learn how to work.”
• Include employees in the company ownership.
• Adjust to the work available in good times and in less than good times.
• The power of positive thinking, the only route to success.
• “Can’t” never did anything.
• Consider your suppliers and customers as team members.
• Recognize there is always a better way for improvement.
• Always give the credit to those who have preceded us.
• Support education as a stepping stone to success.
• “Keep sawing wood.”
This listing for team building may be coming through to you as just a list of platitudes? No, these are things that are very important to us at EFCO. Many have been delivered to EFCO as a foundation to deliver value to our customers. These customers have been all the way from some of the smallest to some of the largest and best in the world, all delivering value to the world. This FORM MARKS publication printed three times a year for more than 60 years presents just a few of our customers’ successful projects as a testimonial and there have been many more.
WHY CHOOSE EFCO?
When a contractor chooses EFCO as a partner for a project, the opportunities for success can be greater. One of a contractor’s biggest variables resulting in some of the biggest risks and possible successes is the productivity of labor on a project. For concrete construction, the tools like forming and shoring equipment can make the big differences in opportunities for success.
TODAY THE KEYS FOR EFCO’S SUCCESSES?
At EFCO today, it is our company’s creed to Listen – Discuss – Decide – Support. Of course, a company’s success requires a unified team effort using standard business processes, including:
COUPLING TEAM BUILDING WITH BUSINESS PROCESSES
To unify the team efforts to execute the essentials of the business plan, we have brought talented people together and used the 17 listed team builder supports. It is our belief at EFCO that when you follow our creed putting listening first, both internal to EFCO, and also listening to our customers, you are on your way to success. In addition, this means combining:
A. Team Building Initiatives
B. Required Business Processes for Success
By: Al Jennings,
EFCO Chairman & CEO