EPISODE 52 | Involving Your Team Is Cruicial!
Hey folks and welcome to another episode of Builders Business Success Podcast!
This podcast is all about helping builders overcome the common and very, very costly challenges of running a building business. I’m not gonna share just theory with you. Everything that we share on this show is proven.
We talk with the Builders Business Blackbelt members every day and they implement the ideas that we come up with and they give us feedback the very next day and we’re constantly refining and changing and learning and you get to hear the results of that.
The things that have been put into practice in a building business and they absolutely work.
In this particular episode, we’re gonna be talking about sharing the focus of your business with your team.
I’m also gonna talk about who I believe is in your team and the key with sharing the focus of your business, the purpose of your business, with your team in your extended team can have a profound effect on pretty much everything in your business and in the business of your subcontractors and suppliers.
We’re also gonna be having our standard Q&A and the question that was asked this week was, “How do you find good subcontractors?” Particularly in the current situation where the building industry is going off it’s head a little bit.
Of course, we’ll be doing the personal productivity hack as well.
*Transcription of the show*
Let’s talk about sharing the focus of your business and to be able to share the focus of your business, because it’s a very, very powerful thing to do to have everyone singing up the same page of the hymnbook, everyone really understanding what we are doing here. But to be able to share it, you’ve gotta know what it is.
So, and I have spoken about this before, if you haven’t heard it before, my belief is that I think many builders think that their product is the house at the end of the driveway. The extension, the renovation, whatever they are building, they believe that is their product. I do not believe that.
I don’t believe that a customer or a prospect comes to you because they need a house, or they need an extension, or they need a renovation. They come to you because they have a problem and what they’re really after is a solution. And they are hoping that your experience, your knowledge, your skills, is going to be able to provide a solution for that problem.
Often that comes in the form of a house, a renovation, or an extension, but that’s not what they’re after. They’re after a solution. I was talking to a buddy of mine on a little mastermind call this morning and we were talking about that old chestnut of nobody goes to the hardware store to buy a 1/4″ drill bit because they want a 1/4″ drill bit, they don’t want the drill bit, they want the haul.
So they buy the drill bit to get the haul and that’s kind of like the house for the solution. And then somebody else I remember telling me about that is they don’t even want the haul, right?
They want the haul because they need to hang a picture, because their wife keeps hassling them, and so they need to hang this picture so they can lie on the lounge on Saturday, and drink beer, and watch the football.
So what they really want is to lie in the lounge, drink beer, and watch the football and through a succession of actions, it comes down to, “I’ve got to get that 1/4″ drill bit to make that happen.” And so we need to understand that your product really is the quality of the customer experience.
That is your product and that is the focus or should be the focus of your business. And if you think about it, if the quality of the client’s experience is the product of your business, the conversations and the priority around your actions and your activity should be focused on the delivery and the improvement of your product, and that is the customer’s experience.
So if you believe this is your product, you’ll be constantly wanting to improve it. You’ll want to get into discussions with your team on how you can improve it, which is a really, really cool thing to do. The team love this.
When you start to unpack this with the team, and you’re having conversations about, like we’ve talked about in previous episodes, how we can do things to make it more fun and to get rid of the ugly bits about how we do our building every day, the other thing that that team loved to get their teeth into is what are the things that we can do to blow our customers away? What can we do? What can we add to our customer experience to give them a much higher quality experience?
And think about this folks, when you do that and you start to give your prospects and your customers remarkable experiences, and what I mean by a remarkable experience is that they remark upon it without being asked.
It’s a little bit like you hearing a funny joke or watching a great movie, you interrupt the conversation when you see a buddy to tell him about it. You know, I gotta tell you this joke before I forget it, or have you seen this movie? You’ve got to see this movie.
I want you to have a business where friends interrupt the conversation say, “Oh, I’ve just got to tell you this. I’ve got to tell you the experience. I’ve got to tell you what happened with our builder this week.”
You’ve got to create these remarkable experiences. We’ve talked about deliver plus, replacing the build in Builder’s Business Blackbelt and we’ve talked about the first part is deliver, and that is understanding the customer’s expectations and at least, very least, delivering on that.
But the plus is where the magic happens where you look for ways to improve the customer’s experience by blowing them away, by having them being so surprised by you remembering things, by showing that you listened, by showing that you care by just little actions and you know, we’ve talked about how you can possibly do that. But the key with this is sharing it with the team.
So the team can start to contribute to the ideas and the discussion. Now I’ve gotta ask the question, “Who is in your team?” Because you might think, well, it’s just me and an apprentice if that’s your setup. It might be you and two or three tradesmen and a couple of apprentices and you think that is your team.
Well, it is your team. And if you’re just you and one apprentice, that is your team, but there is an extended team as well and that’s who I’m talking about is the whole team. And who I mean is on your team is anyone who is contributing to this project. So that means the subcontractors, and it means the suppliers.
And I’m suggesting to you that you share the focus of your business with all of those players, with all of those team members, in particular with your sub-contractors, because they really do contribute to the quality of the customer’s experience.
The way I see it is your subcontractors are just as much a part of your team as the direct employees. The only difference in the relationship should be the relationship that they have with the Australian Tax Office, because they’re a subcontractor running their own business.
But as far as the project is concerned, I believe that they need to be part of that project, they need to be part of the team on this project, they need to be treated in a way that they feel like they’re part of the team, they’re not just coming in doing their thing and then leaving, they need to feel like they are part of the team on this project. Delivering, as I’ve said, a great product will promote your business, but it will also promote all of the subcontractors businesses as well.
So it’s a great idea to help your subcontractors understand that and understand how it will positively affect their business because when they give an experience to your client that is remarkable, it gets remarked upon. It helps promote your business.
And here’s the thing, if a year after handover to your customer, a friend of theirs comes around and says, “What was it like? What was the, you know, the builder like?” I can guarantee you that they won’t walk around their house and point at the quality of the miters, and the architraves, and skirting, and so forth.
They’re not gonna talk about that. They’re gonna talk about how you, the builder, made them feel, because that’s the thing that is long lasting. People remember how other people made them feel.
So how does your customer feel? And you know, let’s not get into this argument about who’s right and who’s wrong if there’s been a bit of a dispute, but if the customer feels like that you didn’t do what you said you were going to do, you didn’t turn up when you said you were going to, you didn’t do that the way you said you were going to do it, even if they expected that they were going to get the $3,000 vanity and you’re only allowed $300 for the item and they chose a much more expensive one, which kind of put the price up, they’re not gonna take responsibility for it, they’re gonna blame you for it.
We need to make sure that we’ve got communication in place, systems in place, processes in place that try to avoid those things from happening. But when they do happen, deal with them in a way where the client feels like they’re being listened to, like they’ve been understood, like they’re being cared for, supported, guided, protected, all of those things.
How you made your customer feel is the thing that they’re gonna remember long after handover, long after the price is forgotten, the quality of the experience will be remembered long after the price is forgotten. And I’m not gonna get into price because once I get into price and value and all of that sort of stuff, there’s no stopping me.
So if you wanna hear me talk about all of that sort of stuff, you’re gonna have to go back to some previous episodes where we talk about value and delivering value, because it’s super important. The thing is, I won’t have to encourage you to do the things or to do the right things and have pride in what you build.
If you’re watching this podcast or listening to this podcast, I’m assuming that you’re already in that mindset. Like you really do care about what you do and you’ve got pride in your work. I don’t need to encourage you to do that, you already do that. But it seems that I do have to encourage you to improve what your customers see as your product.
I need to encourage and remind you that the customer’s experience, the quality of that, really is your product and I wanna shift your focus, I wanna shift the priority, I wanna shift the conversations and the discussions with your team and your extended team to be constantly focused on how you improve your product and that is just the quality of the customer experience.
So I hope that made sense because it’s something that can make a profound difference to you and the other subcontractors that work with you.
If you can help them understand this and get together with them and figure out ways that you can blow your customers away as far as having a great experience, surprising them in a really nice way, the upside of that is that they have remarkable experiences and I can’t help but talk about it and it just improves all of everybody’s businesses.
Q & A
So let’s move on to the Q&A. I hope that’s useful. I hope the idea of that started to cause you to think a little bit. That’s what I really wanna do is stimulate your thought process and get you to have a different focus.
So the question was asked, “How do you find good tradies?” You might not like the answer to this question. I’m gonna give it to you anyway.
Maybe you’ve heard the story of Acres of Diamonds, just to give you the short version, guy wanted to find his fortune so he went to look for diamonds and to fund his trip, he sold his land and went traveling around the world to find diamonds only to find that the people he sold his land to became incredibly wealthy ’cause there was a massive diamond mine on the property that he just sold.
The point of the story is you probably have some amazing trades people, some amazing subbies, already that you’ve got contact with.
I’m not really answering the question if there’s a scarcity of labor, I think this helps as well, but it’s not really the answer, but the answer, well the question that was asked, was sort of the person that was asking it wasn’t happy with their current sub trade. So, you know, they said, “Where do you find them?”
There’s the story of the Acres of Diamonds really is all about this. That, and I got this one from, I think it might’ve been Lee Matthews, back in the days when they’d just finished the Brisbane Lines of 1-3 premier ships in a row and I bought this DVD of how to build and maintain an elite team and he basically would say that the team performance is a direct reflection of the quality of the leadership.
And he would say, you know, when the team wins, the team has to get all of the glory. When the team loses, the responsibility rests on the coach’s shoulders. And in your team, whether they be direct employees or subcontractors, the quality of the performance has to rest on the shoulders of the leadership.
So we can’t be blaming the subbies. You’ve gotta create an environment where they can succeed, where they can improve, where they can, you know, well improve. I’m trying to think of another word for improve, but improve gets the point across.
And so we’ve got to create an environment, a supportive environment, where that can happen. You’ve got to treat your subbies like they’re part of the team. Like I mentioned, in the bit before, you know, I don’t see the difference other than their relationship with the ATO.
So treat them like they’re part of your team, give them the respect, give them the recognition, treat them like you would like to be treated, and move away from just this financial transaction, you know, treat them like they’re a team member.
We encourage our members to share what they learned from us to their subcontractors to help their subcontractors build a better business, to enjoy their business more, to have a more profitable and productive business.
And so if you can share what you learned from these podcasts to your sub-contractors and give them some tips and hints on how to avoid the ugly bits and how to improve, that is a great way to create loyalty and create more productive and more valuable subcontractors, but it comes back to you and your leadership.
Over communicate with your subcontractors. There’s this, you know, being able to just tell somebody something once and expecting it to happen is highly overrated. It just doesn’t happen very often, very, very rare.
So we’ve gotta over communicate, we’ve gotta make sure that there is reporting mechanisms to make sure that things are being done well ahead of time so you can jump in and, you know, lend a hand or make sure you’ve got time to get things done rather than waiting till it’s too late and then pointing the finger at anyone and everyone else.
So we’ve gotta over communicate and be very, very clear on expectations. You need to have a shared understanding of expectations. You need to have them feel that they understand what they expect from you, and you need to ensure that they are clear on what you expect from them.
And just sharing those expectations at the beginning of a project is a really wonderful thing to do, but rather than trying to find good tradies, I find that 80-90% of the time, it really is just a leadership and a communication and a sharing of expectations problem. It’s not really the people, it’s the process.
Personal Productivity Hack
Personal productivity hack time and this is all about applying priorities at the start of the day. It’s so important to apply the priorities at the start of the day and stick to them because guess how we’re wired.
We are wired to make decisions emotionally. And when we get the phone call with somebody yelling or somebody calling us for the third time and poking and prodding us, we feel that sense of urgency, it gets us and it starts to control us and the key to having better performance, better productivity, feeling like you’ve really accomplished the important things at the end of the day is knowing what they are at start of the day.
So as you create your list, it’s so important to apply the priorities. The priority system that we teach is the ABC Priority System.
A equals vital, which means a life sustaining or essential for life. And so something that is an A priority needs to be an activity that you can see that is directly connected to a high leverage, super important goal for your business. Don’t just assume that it’s an A.
You need to see that is directly connected. That activity is directly connected to a high important, high leverage, essential goal for your business. And if I don’t do this today, if I don’t do this activity today, that whole goal can’t be accomplished.
So very rarely do you have an A on your list. Most people have their lists full of, well truth be told, C and D, but rarely is it an A. So B is something that is important. So something that that will contribute to the accomplishment of your big goals, you can see that direct connection, but it’s not a goal killer. If I don’t get it done today, it’ll just make things more inconvenient, more difficult, but it’s a B. A C is something of some value.
So it doesn’t really matter if it gets done or if it doesn’t, it would just add a little bit of value. That’s a C. A D is a complete waste. Don’t discount the D, don’t think, “Oh, I’d never have a D on my list.” Bullshit. There will be things on your list that if you never did again, it would make zero difference. We’ve just hypnotized ourselves to think that those things are important and they’re just really a waste of time.
Give yourself the time and the space to figure out those things, how you apply these A, B, C, D to your list at the start of the day is ask this question, “What will happen if I don’t do this?” Based on that answer, you apply an an A, a B, a C, or a D and you stick to your plan as best as possible.
I’ll talk about, perhaps next time, being able to prioritize on the hop, which is all about, “Okay, I’ve written my list, but now there’s this super-” You would probably say important, but it may be just an urgent thing comes down the pike and it takes you away from your list.
I’m gonna share with you in a future episode how you can learn a super cool, super valuable productivity hack, which is prioritizing on the hop.
Takeaway & Jump On A Call
So what is the takeaway from this here episode?
I think the takeaway for me is like, just help everyone to be successful, whether it’s your direct team members, whether it is your subcontractors, whether it is your suppliers, you know? Look, have discussions, and look for ways to help everybody that is part of your project.
And even your clients, help them to be more successful.
And so how that might work with your clients is showing them that you understand from their perspective and showing them, or having them understand what they should expect from you and having them understand what you should expect from them and how you work together as a team and it makes them more successful.
The project is more successful and the whole focus of this episode is focus and sharing that focus and I would encourage you to make this your focus, your priority, helping everybody in your team, your extended team, your suppliers, your clients, your prospects, to become more successful.
So I hope this episode has been valuable. I hope you’ve been inspired. I hope you’ve been challenged with some of your thoughts and I hope that you at least wanna step up and start to change some of your approaches, some of your mindset, some of your thinking, some of your priorities.
And as I said, we are here to help and all you need to do is click the links under the video, in the comments, wherever, and let’s get on a conversation so we can point you in the right direction and help you get some things that will make a big difference sooner rather than later and we’d love to be talking to you in-person.
So that is it for this episode, we will be back with episode 53, we’ll be going live into the Builders Business Success Forum. If you’re not already a member of the Builders Success Forum, it’s our free Facebook group, specifically for members.
You can get in there, have conversations, ask questions, there’s a bunch of resources in there, you can participate as Adrian and Matt are with this episode in the Facebook group.
So you can ask questions if you need, get involved, and we’d love to help. So we’ll be back in another week, 10:00 AM on Tuesday, that’s Eastern Australian time into the Facebook group if you wanna join us live, love you to do that.
That is it for this episode. I was gonna do a big finish, but I haven’t got it in me so there you go.
I’m Mick from Builders Business Blackbelt. Have a great week. See ya.