Build and Maintain Your Company Like A College Football Coach

A successful construction company is a team of talented individuals who collectively provide clients with timely, on-budget construction services. From a human resource perspective, a construction company is similar to a college football team. Both teams are assembled, trained, motivated, and disciplined by coaches who guide them to victory game after game. Each coach is the glue that puts the team together and holds it in place. In your company, you are that coach. As a construction professional, your job is to identify, train, motivate, discipline, and inspire a variety of other skilled professionals, molding them into a team in pursuit of a common goal. In the strictest sense, you are not the owner of your team’s success, you are its creator. 

Building A Team

Legendary coaches Nick Saban, Bear Bryant, Urban Meyer, Joe Paterno, Jim Harbaugh, and Lou Holtz all performed the same magic to create the winningest teams in college football history. When assembling, training, and motivating their teams year-after-year, these coaches all shared a respect for the dignity of the individual player and the contribution each could make to the success of a synchronized team. 


The reputation of the coaches and the school are the primary deciding factors in the choice a talented candidate would make. Safeguard your company’s reputation for respecting its employees, fairness when dealing with them, and honesty in all business transactions. Your company’s reputation is your most powerful recruiting tool.

The great coaches always had a deep and analytical insight into their team’s needs and carefully matched skill sets to the team’s ever-changing requirements from season to season. A great wide receiver may be passed over for a stout and quick line-backer that nobody ever heard of except for the cagey coach who knew what his team needed. When building your team take great care to understand a recruit’s skills and how they will contribute to your company’s goals in the near and distant future.

The legendary college football coaches also seemed to have an uncanny insight into the potential of recruits. Many young players develop their natural skills first but had the potential for superior performance in multiple areas. The best coaches see this and recruit for it. When building your team, look deeply into each potential employee’s skillset and background to see if you can discern potential greatness. The great coaches have taught us that it is often lurking just below the surface.


Visit the training camp of any great college football coach and you will see that they train for depth in three areas: (1) physical fitness (2) team execution (3) motivation.

     1. Physical fitness is divided into overall fitness as well as specific skills training. This distinction is rarely recognized when training employees of a construction company but, I submit, would go a long way to improve your team’s efficiency, absenteeism, and longevity.

     2. Team execution is essential in both football and construction but is rarely formally taught in construction. However, the savvy construction professional like the savvy football coach knows that the coordinated execution of diverse skills is the essence of team success. No quarterback can be great without a great offensive line. The lumbering blocking skills of a big offensive tackle don’t look anything like the sleek intuitive passing skills of a star quarterback. But one will not succeed without the other. If the carpenters don’t build the forms correctly, the cement finishers can’t produce quality output. Every project manager knows the importance of communicating clearly with his superintendent who then passes the plays called onto his foreman – just like football.

     3. Motivation The legendary coaches say that all motivation comes from within a player. The coach’s job is to inspire his or her players to find the motivation within themselves. Knute Rockne said that toughness comes from conviction, conviction comes from knowing you’re doing the right thing, and you know you’re doing the right thing when you’re getting the results you want. In other words, success breeds conviction. When their teams got to this level of performance, legendary coaches declared their players “mentally fit”.

Learn to listen. You cannot inspire your team unless you understand what motivates them. If you are experiencing a high turnover rate during this pandemic, you must listen more closely to your employees. Only they can tell you what motivates them to continue working for you or why they would consider quitting and going to work for someone else. 

Be A Legendary Coach

Your company is the organization it has assembled, trained, and continues to motivate to the present day. However brief, this blog is a deep dive into the proper function of a construction company professional. Read it over carefully a few times and take it from the coaches who all agreed – “If you can inspire your team, your work is done. They’ll win the game.”

More next week on the science of construction business management.

Just released my latest book The Secretes To Construction Business Success Published by Routledge

For a deeper look into the leadership skills, read more here:  LEADERSHIP

For a broader view on training read more here:  TRAINING

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