Construction companies sell construction services to owners of real property assets. We do not own structures or real property for sale. The collective expertise of our team is our only profit producing asset. We are in a service business, and our ability to put construction expertise at our client’s disposal is our most important and only product. We have nothing else to sell. For the past four weeks we have been discussing how to assemble the assets that make up a profitable construction company. We have boiled down the process into three steps: 1. Recruiting 2. Training 3) Retaining. Today we’ll be taking a closer look at training.

A Construction Company

“I don’t train carpenters. I hire them.” This was the typical first response I would get from the contractors attending my seminars when I would begin talking about training. Traditionally, the training of construction workers from project managers to laborers has been through a more or less formal or informal apprentice program. Construction skills are, for the most part, learned on the job. The experienced mentor the inexperienced. Construction workers train one another. A collection of on-the-job trained individuals displaying varying skill levels is put to work on a project. We call this collection of individuals a construction company.

Construction Companies Differ

However, all construction companies are not the same. Some are more efficient than others; some produce better quality work; some are more profitable; some thrive for many years while others disappear rather rapidly; some enjoy sterling reputations; some are the “low bid” option. If all construction companies sell construction services and most of the workers are trained by mentors on the job, why do some excel and others languish? What’s the difference?


The difference is teamwork. Teamwork is the backbone of any highly successful construction company; crucial for tackling complex projects. It brings together diverse skills and qualities, fostering a workplace that’s both collaborative and supportive.

“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision, the ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” (Andrew Carnegie)

Training Teams

Three weeks ago, this blog began with this observation: “Building a company is nothing more than assembling the assets that will enable the business to make a profit. In a service business like the construction industry, this means hiring the people who will provide the service – and organizing them into a functioning whole.” This, of course, begs the question – How do you do that?

A Success Culture

The CEO (retired) of a large construction company, who has been a colleague of mine for many years, responded to the blog referred to above by using the word “culture” as in “corporate culture”. Training teams by “organizing them into a functioning whole” or “directing individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives” –  is how you establish a “culture” for your company. Establishing and administering a positive corporate culture is all the training a construction company CEO needs to do. Below are the ten essential steps in establishing a “success culture” in your company:

  1. Recognize special skills and recruit selectively by skill set. – (This seems obvious when building a team, but the fact is that contractors typically hire from pools of family, friends, sons and daughters of friends, and warm bodies that live nearby.) 
  2. Establish a company culture. – (What is a company culture? A company culture is simply the What – Why – How of reaching clearly stated mutual objectives. For each team member it answers the following questions: 1.) What are we trying to accomplish? 2.) What is my role in this endeavor? 3.) What is in it for me? 4.) How can I help others to help me achieve our mutual objectives? 
  3. Draw a roadmap of how your team will accomplish mutual objectives as a team.
  4. Teach every team member the specifics of their contribution toward achieving your corporate objectives.
  5. Do not assume that your objectives are their objectives just because you’re the boss. Make your objectives their objectives by identifying what motivates each team member and attaching that motivation to the desired outcome.  
  6. Measure progress toward achieving company objectives along the way.
  7. Establish milestones that recognize both success and failure as each project proceeds. 
  8. Reward success and punish failure at each milestone.
  9. Be clear, fair, and honest at all times.
  10. Expect the same from all team members.

When team members recognize their role and strive to achieve the corporate objective, you have trained your team and imbued them with a success culture.

Next week we’ll discuss retention. 

For more information on training, read more at: TRAINING

For a broader view leadership, read more here: LEADERSHIP

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