Running a construction business in the 21st century is a whole new ball game. There are always new materials, trends, safety considerations, technology, marketing strategies, sales techniques, and customer expectations to handle. How do you stay on top of it all?
The short answer is that you can't do it all alone. The best way to know that your construction business is keeping up with the times is to foster a sense of growth mindset at every level throughout. Staying curious shouldn't be on your shoulders alone - construction education, a sense of construction career ownership, and the desire to grow and learn more should be woven into every fabric of your construction business.
While we're in an age of needing to know more and more, it's also an era of accessibility to knowledge! Here are a few ways to stay on top of your remodeling education across your team.
Top Books Recommended for Construction Education
One way to ensure that your team is always learning is to make sure that you're providing the tools, time, and discussion to do so. Encouraging your team to read and learn during lunch breaks or to listen to audiobooks between jobsites is an easy way keep your developing. Here are a couple of books to get you started!
Mindset by Carol Dweck
In Carol Dweck's groundbreaking book Mindset, she introduces the topic of having a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset. Essentially, those who are most adaptable and most successful have a growth mindset where they can view themselves as ever-evolving. Those with a fixed mindset, on the flip side, tend to view themselves as "how they are" and having limitations. We've adopted core values and created a culture around instilling a growth mindset in our team (personally and professionally) here at Builder Funnel, and it's paid in dividends.
If you're looking to instill a contractor career filled with growth and development across your team, sharing this book or philosophy is the perfect starting place. It sets the foundation that not only can your team always learn and try something new, but your team should always be learning and trying!
Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
Imagine a world where you are encouraging problem-solving in your team. If you're stuck in the loop of being the problem-solver rather than the guide, Extreme Ownership was written with you and your team in mind.
As a leader, it's important to train your team come to you with solutions rather than problems. This allows you to support rather than micro-manage, and it also encourages your team to figure out challenges on their own instead of blowing up your phone with trivial decisions. Set your team (and yourself) free by empowering them up to take ownership over their own remodeling career on your team.
Radical Candor by Kim Scott
You've likely heard of the two books listed above, but Radical Candor by Kim Scott is an important addition to this list. It helps cross over the two worlds of growth mindset and extreme ownership because both of those books encourage growing. Along with growing, inevitably, comes feedback and development. Radical Candor dives into exactly that - how to have tough conversations and how to give meaningful feedback. Your team won't develop into growth-oriented individuals empowered to own their construction career without you keeping them challenged and growing.
In this book, you'll learn about the feedback matrix and which quadrant is most helpful (hint: it's the Radical Candor quadrant). The author crafted this matrix through trial and error while working at Google. She discovered that the best way to foster personal and professional development and to push her team to be best version of themselves was to care personally and to challenge directly. That intersection is the magical place where you will get to see your team grow before your very eyes!
Top Podcasts Recommended for Construction Education
Podcasts are another extremely helpful way to digest bite-sized information. This is the perfect solution for teams who are on the go and can listen to 20-45 minutes worth of content while on the road between job-sites. You're already paying your team while they're on the clock - why not pay them to learn more about how to help run a construction business?
Here are 21 construction podcasts that we highly recommend, along with a handful of helpful podcasts that are a bit broader.
How I Built This with Guy Raz
Are you curious to learn what Chipotle and Khan Academy have in common? Tune in to the NPR business podcast How I Built This to hear success stories from the founders and CEOs of all of your favorite brands. There's so much to learn from those who have conquered before us, and this engaging and conversational podcast is a fun way to hear how different businesses and leaders created their legacies.
WorkLife with Adam Grant
As an organizational psychologist, Adam Grant dives into a lot of work-related topics in his podcast WorkLife. These topics range from handling work-related stress outside of working hours to creative brainstorming for solving new problems. He interviews fascinating professionals at the top of their research including Pixar producers, Olympic athletes, media moguls, authors, restaurateurs, and everything in between.
Beyond the To-Do List with Erik Fisher
If balancing productivity and happy life is a challenge where in your contractor career, Beyond the To-Do List is a must listen. Its goal is to find meaning in the "to-do list" but also to discover fulfillment outside of the everyday work schedule. Avoid employee burnout with these helpful stories!
Most Importantly, Top Conversations to Foster Growth and Development at Your Construction Company
Beyond books, podcasts, and blogs, the most important takeaway fostering employee growth and development is to take action. Reading and listening is a great step. But now I challenge you to implement.
The "What Else" Technique
I learned this one from Builder Funnel CEO Spencer Powell. When you're guiding a conversation where you want to hear all feedback, ask "what else?" instead of "anything else?" to open up the floodgates. "What else" signals that there's more to uncover whereas "anything else" signals that the conversation is coming to a close and you're satisfied with what you've discovered. Teach your team that their thoughts and solutions are valuable, and that you won't stop asking until you've heard them all.
Instill Ownership with These Questions
If your team comes to you with problems, you've trained them that you will solve them. Train your team to come to you with potential solutions by asking questions such as:
What do you recommend?
What are some possible solutions to this?
What solutions have you already considered that won't work? Why?
Do you feel comfortable taking next steps?
Who else needs to be involved for you to solve this?
There's a classic Harvard Business Review article about putting too many monkeys on your back. If you haven't read it, it's a must-read. For those in a hurry, the gist is that leaders far too frequently take on the responsibility of solving problems rather than empowering their team to solve problems. This can lead to countless challenges including but not limited to employee dissatisfaction and disengagement, limited opportunity for growth, lack of challenge in the workplace, slowed down work processes as more and more decisions pile up on your desk waiting to be made, and showcasing distrust in your junior leaders and team.
If you're not meeting with your team on a minimum monthly basis, you're leaving too much time between conversations to help them grow. You don't have to have all the answers in each of your meetings. In fact, odds are you never will. But the benefits of meeting to make sure your team has the tools and next steps they need to keep growing on their own far outweigh avoiding those meetings. Show your team that you care about their construction career and continued construction education by meeting with them regularly to discuss both topics!
Spot Bonuses as Encouragement
When you see something, say something. In this instance, I mean recognize those on your team who are leading by example and already living in the growth mindset. Whether this means buying them coffee or shouting them out in your daily production meeting, make sure that everyone knows you're taking the implementation of growth seriously.
If your junior leaders aren't already developing and fostering growth on their teams, then use yourself as the guinea pig. Talk about great podcast episodes you heard recently and what you learned. Recommend a book to a teammate who is struggling with owning their role at your business.
And don't be offended when you hear books and podcasts recommended back to you! It means you still have room to grow and your team is learning from your example. Take the recommendation and follow up with what you learned and enjoyed most from their tip to show that you are open to feedback and acknowledge that you're still growing alongside them.
Looking to learn and grow even further? Builder Funnel Academy is the #1 marketing program for contractors, remodelers, and builders and can help you and your team align your marketing and sales with your business goals. Learn more by clicking the button below!