NEVER FORET THE FUNDAMENTALS By Ron Pestone
This article is an excerpt from my book, COMMON SENSE SUBCONTRACTING WITH ELM JOB COSTING & MORE, due out this fall. There are some 100 plus fundamentals mentioned in the book. They have been drawn from numerous people and situations and they are presented in no particular order. Their importance lies in their combined totality not in their order. As a result any read is a good read. Never losing track of the fundamentals will not only save you heart ache but just as importantly help guide you to greater success.
No matter how small or how large your company is or how many years you have been doing business if you really want to be a success you need to go back to the fundamentals. When you are reading through them you will find yourself thinking,” I already know that” or” I’ve done that before”. Before you dismiss them think how successful coaches build winning teams. It has been and always will be, BACK TO THE FUNDMENTALS.
It doesn’t matter if its little league, pop warner football, high school and college football or the pros it’s the coach who forces the players to start again and again at the beginning and master the fundamentals which will lead to the win of the trophy or the championship.
Think about the pro football player who has been in the pros a few years and has been playing football since he was a little kid. What has he done that he hasn’t done in practice thousands of times before? He has been living and breathing football almost his entire life. Now a new head coach arrives and all of a sudden the entire teams focus is on the blocking and tackling skills he first learned in Pop Warner football and has been perfecting all the years he has been playing. At first to him it seems ridiculous and at best beneath him. On the other hand he cannot deny his team hasn’t won a championship in ten years.
Great coaches like great businessmen know the whole secret lies in the fundamentals. Vince Lombardi said it best, “You have to start teaching the fundamentals. A player has got to know the basics of the game and how to play his position.”
Never forget everything happens out in the field. Not one brick is laid or a yard of cement poured, a square of roofing installed or a foot of pipe installed in the office. It all happens out there. It is where the money is made or lost and as a result it is first in importance and must be treated that way.
Always, always separate family and friendship from business. You might really be fond of someone but if you can’t find a place in the organization where he/she adds to the bottom line, show them the door.
Excuses are just that, excuses. Enough of them will kill any company.
Anyone lying down on the job, coming in late, leaving early, taking long lunches and crying that he cannot produce because he does not have everything he needs is no better than a thief, get rid of him.
Quick story! An electrical contractor landed a new project, picked a foreman and sent out a trailer of conduit, hangers, straps, unistrut, inserts, boxes, specialties, wire and all the necessary tools to install same. After two weeks the contractor walked the job and was discouraged to see nothing was installed. When he asked the foreman why nothing was done the foreman replied, “Because they did not send the switches and receptacles.” He had a whole project to install before he got to the switches and receptacles but to him it was a good enough reason not to start any work. In my mind firing seems almost too good. Water boarding sees a lot better.
Owners only pay what they have to. If you do not ask or fight for any legitimate extra costs you will never see an extra dime for them.
One of the keys in managing a successful business is that all the decisions you make must have at its base, THAT IT IS THE RIGHT DECISION FOR THE BUSINESS. You must park your ego and at times your self -interest and simply do what is good for the business. Even if it hurts, you must do it. I had someone very close to me who was put in a position of trust and made decisions based on self-interest and ego. The consequences were disastrous. Large sums of money were lost, property destroyed, relationships strained and ultimately failure. Like most people who have embarked on a similar course this individual blamed everything on everybody else. The crime of it is, if this person was put in a similar situation the outcome would be the same. Nothing was learned.
The biggest sleeping dragon in every contractor’s basement is overhead. It never stops eating and growing and unless you assume the duties of a dragon slayer it will eat your company alive. Whatever you think your overhead is rest assured it is higher.
Never kick a fresh turd on a hot day.
Before you can ask anybody to be the best they can be you must be the best you can be.
Running a successful contracting company is a team effort. Build the team, deploy the team and reward the team. Lee Iacocca said, “In the end, all business operations can be reduced to three words: people, product, profits. Unless you’ve got good people, you can’t do much with the other two.