“In his book, Good to Great, Jim Collins creates a lasting and memorable metaphor by comparing a business to a bus and the leader as a bus driver. He emphasizes that it is crucial to continuously ask “First Who, Then What?” You are a bus driver. The bus, your company, is at a standstill, and it’s your job to get it going. You have to decide where you’re going, how you’re going to get there, and who’s going with you. Most people assume that great bus drivers (business leaders) immediately start the journey by announcing to the people on the bus where they’re going—by setting a new direction or by articulating a fresh corporate vision. In fact, leaders of companies that go from good to great start not with “where” but with “who.” They start by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats. And they stick with that discipline—first the people, then the direction—no matter how dire the circumstances.” Getting the Right People in the Right Seats on Your Business Bus What a vivid metaphor to help us think about our own business design and structure.
The beginning of organizational design is to identify the right seats needed on our restoration business bus. Most any restoration company is pretty much the same in this regard irrespective of size. There are certain roles and corresponding positions that are needed in each division of work regardless of the amount of revenue generated by the business or size of the organization. Those roles and positions include:
- Owner/Owner Team/General Manager
- Financial (AR/Collections, AP, Payroll)
- PO Administrator
- Job Costing Administrator
- Customer Service Representative
- Mitigation Manager
- Construction Manager
- Construction Coordinator
- Project Manager
- Direct Sales
- Social Media
As you can see you need each one of these roles in your business regardless of your size. If you are performing mitigation services you need these roles filled by someone regardless of the titles they may hold or their position in the organization. The same is true for your construction services division – each role needs to be filled and someone needs to be responsible for each one. As a business grows there may be multiple estimators or several project managers to cover the amount of work, but the role and responsibility does not largely change with size or volume of work.
Where Do We Go from Here? A key issue for any growing business is how many roles can/does one person effectively handle? Early on in a restoration business’s development the owner, a single technician, and one office administrator may have to assume most of those roles. As the company grows new hires will take on specific roles until each of the roles described is held by a single person. The question owners face is what role or position is of highest value to increasing the business’s capacity to take on a greater volume of work, and in what order. This is largely a function of the skills and experience of current staff, how effectively they handle their mix of job duties, and what roles require additional emphasis that will make the greatest positive impact on the company’s ability to do business.
For example, many contractors choose the “write and run” approach for their construction services. They hire a single person to sell the job, write the job, and manage the job. While this may be necessary in the startup phase of construction services separating these roles as soon as possible will dramatically increase the overall capacity of the division. When a single person assumes multiple roles, the tendency is to emphasize one role over the others allowing roles to slide. This leads to inefficiencies and underperformance as key roles are under-emphasized and the business suffers as a result.
Other factors that affect the lack of effectiveness of multiple roles are personal preferences – for example, many estimators are poor project managers or may be poor salespersons. The result is that the employee focuses more attention on what they prefer and less on the duties they least prefer. Personality style is often a factor too – for example, you expect a sales person to be extrovertish enjoying being with and engaging people, while many estimators are introverts who enjoy the detail of construction take-offs and the computer work of preparing the estimate.
Oftentimes personality traits and personal preferences favor one role over the other leading to a dislike for certain roles and an underperformance for roles that don’t naturally fit their makeup. The point is that the more roles one person is forced to assume the greater the likelihood that one or more of those roles will suffer from ineffectiveness or neglect leading to poor performance which hurts the company’s overall effectiveness and success in each area. Don’t you want employees working in their preferences and according to their personality traits and not simply according to company needs? The better you can bring about personal and corporate alignment the more satisfied and effective your employees will be.
It is my belief that filling management level roles are more important than worker level ones. If you have more than one mitigation technician hiring a lead technician, project manager, or mitigation manager is more important than hiring your third technician. The manager will shape the growing division, will assume a vital supervisory role, and will provide quality controls.
The same holds true in construction services. Hiring a manager to oversee the division, schedule work, keep track of the growing number of jobs, develop subcontractor relationships, etc. is more important that hiring a project manager for site supervision. The latter is a lesser role by comparison whose duties could be more easily assumed as an additional duty by another employee. Management level additions always provide more capacity to grow the business and take on more work than does a new worker employee. Bottom Line – assess how well your current employees are fitted for their role by personality and personal preference. Then ask what roles are underperforming. Identify which roles will do the most to increase your overall capacity to do more work. Make needed changes whether that means to separate roles, hire a new person, create a new position, or replace a current employee. Know what steps you need to take, why they are important … show courage and do it!
Reference: 9-Month Coaching Plan – The Business Transformer – Double, Even Triple Your Business in 18 – 24 Months http://growmyrestorationbusiness.com/successes/