Although the home building industry talks a lot about how to design and construct a high performance home, little has been written about how to design and construct the high performance team that will actually build the home.
Here are the 4 steps that RDC has implemented to build their high performance team.
Establish core values and set corporate strategic goals and priorities. Last year we had a number of strategic planning sessions; the 1st goal was to develop a set of team core values to help guide day to day activities and build better relationships between staff, trades and clients. We all agreed that our core values would be Positive, Reliable, Performance.
Positive – Construction traditionally can be a conflicted and confrontational business. At RDC, we are in agreement that this is not an enjoyable or satisfying environment to work in. To help establish a positive work environment we start our day with a 7-minute team huddle which includes everyone delivering some good news. This has helped to establish a culture where no matter where you meet us you should always be greeted with a smile.
Reliable – When considering what the most important characteristic that RDC wanted to be recognized for, we all agreed it was being reliable; reliable to each other, to our trades and to our clients. Reliability has been particularly helpful in developing a better culture of accountability within our team.
Performance – RDC has worked over the years to develop a reputation as a builder of high performance homes; homes that work better, live better and last better. We then recognized the value that would come if we applied this to working together as a high performance team, hence performance became our 3rd core value.
Once our core values were established, we worked together to develop a strategic plan that would guide our activities and growth over the next 10 years. This strategy was then linked to the key priorities that the individual team members would be responsible for, looking to ensure the success of the strategic plan.
After working on this process for nearly 10 months, we have noticed an improvement in the team’s dynamic and our overall performance. This has been validated by the improvement in our customer satisfaction survey results and the 2 Georgie Awards we received this year.
Hire the right people. Once we established our core values we recognized that it was going to be important that we hired people who, from the very start, would live up to being positive, reliable and contribute to delivering a high performance product. To achieve this, we had to revise all our job descriptions, ensure we were offering better than average wage packages and establish a formal hiring and mentoring program. The ultimate goal is to create a system that consists of only likeminded A players.
Set expectations and priorities, and measure performance. We have been doing staff reviews for over 10 years, during this time we have found that measuring performance hasn’t been captured in a meaningful way. Through the process of developing a better description for each team role and creating a simple score card we have been able to provide more meaningful feedback for our team members. This ensures that we can measure and live up to our commitment of reliability.
Educate your team to stay ahead of the crowd. Innovation requires continuing education. While our industry remained in a bit of a time warp for nearly 40 years, the last 5 years have seen significant changes to the industry. These include building code changes for waterproofing, energy efficiency and earthquake design, new and challenging architectural designs, a seemingly overwhelming selection of new materials products and technologies to build with, and a plethora of energy and green certifications. It is no wonder that the industry is feeling overwhelmed.
Our commitment to delivering a leading-edge product established that we need all our staff to be current with best practices. That is why we invest heavily in education. What has made this financially more affordable over the last 2 years is the BC Job Grants program. This has allowed us to invest over $20K in staff education this year alone by taking advantage of the 70% rebate offered through the program.
We are improving our performance every day by following these 4 steps. Many thanks to our business coach Shannon Susko for her continuing mentorship. Her books are a great read if you would like to learn more about how to build your own high-performance team.