Do you have a plan for your contracting firm’s future?
Well, if you don’t have a vision for your future, how can you expect anyone to back you?
By Robert Koci
Recently, I had the opportunity to interview most of the staff of a mid-sized renovation company. They loved their jobs, were fiercely loyal to the owner and were hoping to grow with the company for their entire careers. They were a staff any of you would kill for.
They had reason to be that good. Fiercely loyal himself, the owner was apt to teach and loved nothing more than to see the staff prosper personally and professionally. He was a great boss.
But I was worried. The owner had no vision for the company. Why? “If I ever planned to be somewhere in the future it was guaranteed to never happen,” he says, “and where I am today, which is a pretty good place, I never planned. What good would a vision do me?”
We all know too well the capricious truth he expressed.
In grade one, I decided I was going to play professional football. But I stopped growing in my teens at 5’-7” and 150 lbs. So I then imagined myself a novelist. A couple of years later, I was peeling 100-foot power cords out of six inches of cold March mud making $7 per hour as a framer. In midlife, I saw myself running a multi-million dollar renovation company, and here I am, publisher of a magazine. Things don’t work out as you envisage a lot of the time.
I asked those employees where they saw themselves in five or ten years. Almost all of them expected to be better off, with more money, a better position and having to do less physical work. They had dreams of their own. “Do you think you can fulfill those dreams at this company?” I asked. They shrugged their shoulders. They had no idea. They could invest their present in the company, but they had no way of investing their future there because the owner hadn’t even considered what that future might be.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Today, when it matters most, employees need to know where your company is going. Because when you tell your people about your vision for your company, it’s not boasting and it’s not wishful thinking. It’s so your staff can make the decision to invest their careers – or much of them – in you. You owe them – and yourself – that much.