5 Smart Reasons to Join a Construction Executive Peer Group
It's lonely at the top. Leverage other companies' experiences and pitfalls to grow your business.
By Michael McLin, moderator of CONEXPO Connect Construction Executive Peer Groups
It’s lonely at the top is how the saying goes. And it’s true, after you have excelled in your career many CEO’s find themselves running a business and struggling with key issues and challenges. A peer group is a great way to leverage other companies experience, avoid pitfalls, conduct comparative bench-marking, grow as a leader and hold you accountable for making the tough decisions. There are many companies that offer peer group facilitation services, but very few who specialize in construction. An effective peer group needs to be able to bring resources to bear that understand the nature of the business, what it means to be labor and equipment intensive, how to run batch plants, and how to deliver operational excellence. The group should serve as a board of advisers helping guide strategic, financial and operational issues. Let’s unpack some of these benefits.
#1: Use other companies’ experience to your advantage.
Growing a construction company is fraught with risk. People issues, capital requirements, the chance of landing that one bad job...these are all familiar challenges. The good news is, in a properly structured peer group you are very likely to find other companies who have grown through these challenges. They may have developed effective hiring practices, career path mapping, orientation and on-boarding processes that are critical to the people side of the business. A peer group gets you exposure to these principles without having to reinvent the wheel.
#2: Learn from other companies’ mistakes.
Whether your company calls it the “stupid tax” or a “tuition bill,” mistakes get made. In construction, those mistakes can be very expensive. Learning lessons from other companies who have already made a mistake is invaluable. The guidance of the group can help you avoid costly mistakes. Even if your company isn’t the one raising a particular issue, a peer group is a place of constant learning.
#3: Assess your company’s performance using comparative benchmarking.
Being able to compare your organization to other similar businesses helps reveal key strengths and opportunities for improvement. Comparatively benchmarking financials, insurance, compensation, leadership and strategy are all very effective tools to help set a baseline of performance, understand areas in need of improvement and quantification of the changes being made. Industry specific benchmarking tools are a great way to use a peer group and learn and grow.
#4: Grow your leadership skills.
Leadership development occurs most rapidly in an experiential environment. A hard-hitting peer group that addresses tough business issues is a great way to grow as a leader. Taking ideas and concepts back from the group to your organization and implementing the changes and improvements requires you to align resources, motivate the employees, and strategize around implementation.
#5: Increase the accountability for you and other companies.
Most construction companies do not have a formal board of directors. If they do, they are usually made up of 100% internal resources. A peer group serves as a board of advisers holding the owners accountable for making the tough decisions and driving the business forward. A well-run peer group establishes and maintains a high level of accountability to each other, the participating companies, and the people and families they support.
The bottom line is that peer groups are a great resource for growing your business, developing your people, learning best practices, and making your company more profitable. The biggest mistake people seem to make is waiting too long to join a group. Is today the day you make the decision to join?