We’ve all seen examples of how the world is getting smaller. And it’s literally changing the way construction is done. This onslaught of change – digital transformation – with changes in where and when employees can work, is causing markets to shift, and companies have to keep up to survive. As technology and innovation come to the forefront, there have been changes in the expectations customers have.

As opposed to popular opinion, the construction industry does know how to innovate. It’s already been done and continues in many areas: prefabrication, robotics, modular construction, use of specialized software. Contractors are already being selective in choosing subcontractors based on their technical aptitude. The real trick is making these process changes on a larger scale.

In order to do that, business owners need to really understand the key influences affecting the performance of their company. They need to get more intentional about looking to the future of the company and not get distracted by the short-term. To maximize performance of the workforce and the company, the business plan needs to be agile.

This is where the company’s leadership vision is important. High performing companies have leaders that set clear goals and set parameters for what success looks like. Then they measure progress toward achieving those goals. Good leaders don’t keep goals to themselves. They share the goals the company is working toward and the steps that need to happen to achieve those goals. In this way, they get buy-in from everyone in the company. The objective is to get more connected to employees, as well as clients, who are crucially important stakeholders in your projects.

A good leader will get everyone moving in the same direction. That involves everyone first knowing where the company is going. Each department, team and employee needs to understand what contribution their job makes toward accomplishing the company’s vision.

This empowers the employees. Good leadership involves setting boundaries and coaching employees to find ways to achieve the vision.

Of course, when you feel the weight of success resting on your shoulders, it’s natural to want to control everything – to micromanage the way things are done and make sure they’re done right. But this tends to have the opposite effect of what it’s intended to accomplish: it doesn’t build employees up; it tears them down. Week-by-week or even day-by-day accountability can be used to ensure things don’t get too far off track.

Building employees up is important to any business, but especially in these times of unsettling change. Your employees are your business. Do you want to continue to compete for talent, or do you want to connect with your employees and develop a healthy culture where they can stay and grow. The more your company leaders learn about empathy, agility and resilience and put those skills into practice, the more attractive your company becomes to talented people who work at less attractive companies. 

Bridging the Gap Podcast, episode 71 with guest Sean Reid “Constructing Empathy and Leadership”

In episode 71 of Bridging the Gap, “Constructing Empathy and Leadership“, I had an opportunity to talk with Sean Reid of Aedo about how giving everyone at your company a role to play in embracing technology and innovation, your company can meet and exceed the expectations customers have.

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