Part 3 – Ron Pestone
I have always felt the one area where most subcontractors could stand some improvement was in giving praise to their key people in the field. While these owners have no trouble letting everyone and their brother know when they are not happy about something they get tongue tied when it comes to giving a little praise. I knew a Vice president in a large subcontracting firm who could never do it. Yet he could yell and threaten like a bear when he wasn’t happy. If the production was spectacular he would simply say the guys were doing their job and that was what he was paying them for. Of course the very same vice president had never spent a day humping pipe on a hot and miserable day in the field.
Don’t be one of those guys. If you can show disappointment when things are below par have the guts to show your appreciation when production exceeds par.
In your walk through stop and talk for a few minutes with any of the guys you know who are working for you. A little small talk and kidding goes a long way. If you see a guy who is working for you that you do not know go up and introduce yourself. You better believe he will be telling his wife all about it that night at dinner.
When you are finished walking the job have your foreman and project manager take you over to the guy or group of guys that are running the job for the owner and spend a little time with them. Listen to their problems and get the feel if they are happy with your team. You can be sure the one thing they are going to ask you for is more men. For most general contractors, construction managers and owner’s representative really do no know your trade that is the only thing they know. It’s the answer to everything, more men. Give it a little lip service but do not put one more guy on the job than you and your team think you need. Otherwise listen to their problems and if you can help do it and for your part if you need some help, ask for it. No matter what, back up your foreman and project manager and make it clear you have complete confidence in them.
When it’s time to go shake hands with everybody, make believe you are running for political office and head out to the next site.
On good days if there are no problems you should be able to do four or five medium size projects or two to three very large projects. So at a minimum you will have done two coffee breaks, one lunch and one after work watering hole.
One final note: breaking bread is great but you can’t eat like you’re going to the electric chair. If you do in a short time you will become as big as a house. Let the guys order whatever they want and if they are a little bashful order for them and order big. But you, you just pick and if you do you will accomplish everything you want and better yet you will not become a milk horse.
Simple and sweet, that’s all there is to it.
Don’t forget: We Build America