Chapter Corner

Newsroom & Insights: November 2015

Avoid Costly Mistakes

Often, a veteran estimator and instructor – a guy like me – will be asked for “rules of thumb” for estimators. I guess I should be flattered that people think I know something about estimating because of my age and experience. Here’s the truth: I learn something new about my profession every day, from almost every student I train.

More truth: The advent of computerized estimating has been a mixed blessing for most of us. What follows is a partial answer to that frequent "rules of thumb" request.

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Leading People to Better Performance and Higher Profits

Leadership – the action of leading a group of people or an organization. Certainly this definition is applicable to the contracting industry. This article seeks to help you think about your leadership skills, how they can be sharpened and applied to help lead your people to better performance and higher profits for your contracting company. There are many books on leadership practices that outline actions one may take to be a better leader. There are manuals that outline strategies and formats for leadership styles and there are even gurus that will come to your place of business and coach you on how to improve your leadership attributes. I hope you will take advantage of each of these tools because developing great leadership skills is a process that anyone, with diligence and hard work, can succeed in building. Your leadership skills are integral to the vibrancy of your business and are either the catalyst to stellar performance or the anchor that restricts your company from success.

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Why the Urgent Need for Developing the Next Generation of Leaders

A huge concern of company leaders today is the need to develop the younger generations to become the next leaders. Many current leaders are rapidly closing in on retirement age and the need or desire to leave day-to-day operations. America is in the process of a very dramatic demographic readjustment. The two younger generations, Generation X and Millennials (Gen Y) combined will make up the majority of the workforce within the next two years.

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Improving Change Order Approval and Acceptance

It is no mystery to any electrical, or other specialty, trade contractor that submitting change orders for acceptance and prompt payment can be a significant challenge and can negatively impact your profitability on a project. Recently, after publishing a report on change orders, a number of subcontractor associations have started promoting to the construction industry a set of change order standards that may help the submittal and approval process. While this is not a magic bullet set of standards, it does present a consistent and logical methodology to back up change requests. By using these updated standards, the subcontractor community has an opportunity to educate and gain acceptance with general contractors, engineers, and owners.

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Managing is Leading: Find and Develop Your Personal Leadership Style

The highest functioning form of management is leadership. But there is an inefficiency in today’s market – not enough people know how to manage and lead. Too many managers look at only the bottom line, rather than the correct process you need to successfully get to that bottom line. Utilizing the right process in a forward-thinking way is true leadership. That’s what really separates the “great” from the merely “good.”

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