Skill Set Copy

Included in every session will be one or more Skill Set exercises to help you engage with the Big Ideas presented. While this is optional, don’t cheat yourself and move through the Roadmap without applying the concepts you’re learning! Challenge yourself to complete every Skill Set activity and see what changes in your business as a result. We promise good things will happen.

Do you have field management roles in your company clearly defined? Identify the scenario below that describes your company’s team structure, and consider how your company is supporting growth towards field management that empowers your team to accomplish great things.

Scenario #1: Growing towards Field Management

Maybe your company is too small to hire field managers, or maybe you are just breaking through to the next level and thinking about hiring your first project manager, estimator, or logistics manager. Review the following questions that will help you identify the critical path you need to take to build your team and plan for where you want to be in the next 2-3 years.

  • Is your company having a hard time keeping up with production?
  • Has your team been growing significantly in the last couple of years?
  • Are you finding it harder to keep up with all of the work?
  • Do you have more leads coming in than you know what to do with?
  • Are you finding that you don’t have to market much because they leads come in with little to no marketing?
  • Have you adjusted your prices to slow down the pipeline? 
  • Do you feel you are ready to start considering hiring a crew leader, foreman, or project manager? 

Make a pro/con list

  • Create a pro/con list to help you decide whether or not you may be ready to hire field management.
  • On the pro side, list the positive points to consider for hiring field management positions. Examples:
    • New tasks you would like to accomplish with a field manager
    • Ideal time management–how long everyone should be working?
    • Increased profitability–how much more cash would you bring in with new management?
    • Organization–how would this streamline processes and bring more clarity?
    • Communication–how would this help to keep other management in ‘the know’?
    • Peace of mind–would this bring a level of calm to something that is growing more stressful for all managers and employees…including the owner?
  • On the con side, list the negative points to consider for not hiring a field manager. Examples:
    • Are there not enough employees to warrant management positions?–this could create conflict and unnecessary complications between competing team members
    • The money it would cost to bring in management roles
    • If you’re not situated to communicate properly between management, you’ll probably want to correct that first
    • Are you wanting to grow your company, or are you comfortable where you’re at? 

Deciding where to start

If you decide you are ready to hire management staff, where do you want to start? Consider the following roles.

  • Crew Leader – Do you need to find ways to leave a project in good hands so you as the owner can move around and provide more estimates? Crew leaders can be hired or promoted from within, and can provide an extra measure of stability and leadership that leaves you more free to manage projects and estimate.
  • Project/ Production Manager – Do you have growing teams that require more accountability and more meticulous planning to pull off multiple projects? Project and production managers can take care of the planning/logistics side of the company and make sure teams are taking care of the work and satisfying customer needs. The larger your company grows, the more you’ll need a single point of contact for your crews that deals solely with the production side of the business. 
  • Estimator/ Salesperson – This is often a very difficult role for companies to fill because owners frequently have a very specific way of estimating and selling projects that is instinctual, inconsistent, and therefore incommunicable. You’ll need to document your estimating process and quantify it as much as possible to be able to transfer your method to a new estimator. You’ll want to grow your lead generation simultaneous with your production capabilities, so you’ll need an estimator before long! Some companies separate out their estimators and their sales people to select for strong skills in one area or the other.
  • Logistics Manager – When you have larger crews, and you have larger jobs, you’ll have a lot of equipment moving around. You’ll find out really quick if the extra load of equipment tracking is going to be too much on one of your employees plates. In Walls By Design it became very clear that a full time position was need for equipment and logistics because moving trailers was a full-time job. In your company, this role may be assumed by project managers or administrative staff if it is delegated properly between field management.

Starting the process

Do you think you’re ready to hire new management staff? Walk through the following questions.

  • Meet with your key leaders and identify the growth your company wants to see in the next few years
  • Determine what new positions would be needed in your company to meet the demands of the new growth
  • Write job descriptions for those positions
  • Determine which positions need to be hired soonest
  • Make sure all employee manuals and handbooks are updated with new positions and accountabilities

Scenario #2: Clarifying Field Management Roles

Does your company have field management positions that correspond to the positions of project manager, estimator/salesperson, and logistics manager? Consider the following methods of clarifying your field management roles and streamlining communications.

  • Do you have project managers, estimators, and/or logistics managers in your company? If so, are their roles and responsibilities clearly identified and documented in understandable descriptions?
  • If field management roles are not clearly delineated or need revision, bring your leadership team together and discuss the following questions.
    • What management roles need more clarification?
    • What management roles need to be revised?
    • What management roles need to be created?
    • What would a revised management structure look like? Create a flow chart to visualize this.
    • What would communication look like for this new structure? (consider the RACI model of accountability outlined in Session 13 Skill Set)
  • Review the following steps for announcing a new structure in your company and restructuring/hiring to fill new positions.
    • Announcement/ Communication– companies often fail to communicate structural and leadership changes to all of their employees to start preparing for a shift. Even if the change is merely ideological, effective and consistent communication can make the difference between a job where employees feel ambushed by change, and a job where employees feel invited along on an adventure. Over-communication is often more effective than under-communication. 
    • Hiring/ Promotion- Are you planning on opening up new positions for internal hire? Research shows that promotion hires are very effective when they are good fits, but terrible when they are deemed ‘favors’ to hard workers. Don’t promote people if they haven’t demonstrated skills in the areas you are looking for!
    • Training managers and teams – Setting up a plan for training may be one of the single greatest determinants of a successful hire and integration of a new team member. Managers also need to have a path for growth and development! If you’re not ready to create a training process and plan to effectively train a new manager, you’re not ready for a new manager.