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7 Essential Soft Skills for Construction Professionals
by Ken Bradford
Perhaps Alvin Toffler said it best, “Profits, like sausages…are esteemed most by those who know least about what goes into them.” Every construction owner who signs the checks knows the ingredients for profitability. Never just one key, every week the recipe includes a combination of tangibles and intangibles that hit at the heart of the matter, the bottom line.
Spreadsheets showrevenue against expenses, but what about those factors not so easily documented? If you can measure it - you can manage it, but how do you measure essential intangibles for your business success like leadership, relationship building, clear communication, and competence? By paying attention to these critical components of your business.
Hard numbers must be carefully watched, especially in a down economy. But there are also a number of soft skills worth acquiring that can deliver more long-term potential for profit than the simple acquisition of new equipment.
Despite today’s cut-throat emphasis on the dollar, at the end of the day, people still do business with people that they like. How do you quantify the value of a customer who still refers business to you a decade after you’ve completed a job for them? Or a sub who tells their crew to take care of your job first because they value the relationship?
We are in both the ‘building” business and “service” business. Remind your team that whether they are communicating with a customer, vendor, partner, board, inspector, city official, or neighbor, they are marketing your firm and making an impression -- positive or negative. Your people really do make the difference.
Every business owner and manager knows that cost of labor is by far the biggest number that routinely shows up on the balance sheet. A small investment in “soft skills” for your key people today just might provide the competitive advantage your firm needs to outperform its “hard-hat” competition tomorrow.
Ken Bradford is founder and instructor of The Leaders Course®, offered nationally through AGC chapters since 1996.
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