BMJ Stone
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Hohmann and Barnard, Inc.
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Pullman Ermator
Southwest Scaffolding
Tradesmen's Software, Inc.
You can’t wear all the hats.
You can’t wear all the hats.
December 23, 2015 7:00 AM CST

Don’t wear four hats

Business building


As a construction business owner or manager, you struggle to get it all done – no matter how hard you try. Why? You’re trying to be and do four different things or business tasks simultaneously. To grow your business, make a profit, and get it to work, you need four abilities and talents to manage and lead the different requirements your company demands. The skills and roles required are visionary leader, manager, accountant and worker.

The visionary leader is the creator of the business vision and mission – the dreamer who has lots of passion and energy, and is imaginative and exciting. He is the motivator and coach, and lives for the future and where the company is going and what it can become. He loves new challenges, innovation and change. The visionary leader has lots of ideas, makes quick decisions, is impatient, doesn’t like details or follow up, and has trouble staying focused on organizational systems and procedures. He also has trouble making people accountable and doesn’t like to fire or discipline employees.

The manager is organized, systemized, and likes to be in control of every situation he faces. He likes to use checklists and agendas, and always follows up on details and tasks that need to be completed. He makes people accountable and responsible for their actions, hits expected results, meets schedules and budgets, and tracks progress regularly. The manager’s desk is neat and everything is in the right place. Managers also don’t have trouble telling people the facts, delegating tasks, and letting employees know how they are doing.

The accountant keeps track of past results, performances, finances, achievements and progress. He likes to make and present reports to the leaders of the company. He likes detail and always sweats the small stuff. He doesn’t focus on the future, and doesn’t bother to think ahead about where the company is going.

The worker does excellent work in the area of work for which he is best trained. He can be a good worker in sales, estimating, project management, field supervision, production, customer relations, quality control, craft trades, accounting, technology or other work area or responsibility.

You can’t wear all the hats

Growing businesses struggle when the owner continually tries to wear every hat required to lead and manage the business. Sometimes, he even thinks he is the best at every type of talent and skill required to run the entire company. When one thinks he’s good at everything, he doesn’t let go of decisions or tasks, or hire the right people to make the company a better organization. For example, when you are good at numbers, you might not be good at managing people. But you try to manage, which escalates your people problems. Things only get worse, and your good people leave for better opportunities, all because you didn’t look in the mirror and realize you shouldn’t be in charge of managing people. Eventually, you take on too much work yourself and get out of control. And many parts of the business actually get worse when an owner’s work load increases. When an owner attempts to handle areas he’s not talented in, he fails. This is especially true when he doesn’t let go of areas he shouldn’t be in charge of in the first place.

Fill your gaps

If your personal talents and gifts are in cost estimating and your weakness is managing people and making them accountable for results, you’ll have to find a responsible manager who is better than you at handling the people and project parts of your company. What area of your business do you need to improve? Where are you weak? To grow and improve your company, look at your weaknesses to determine which gaps and positions of responsibility you need to fill. Identify what area you’re best suited to lead and manage. Let go of other areas you aren’t talented in, or don’t want to handle yourself. Replace yourself with great people for those activities. This action will allow your business to grow.

Look at Microsoft. Bill Gates was the visionary leader, and Steve Balmer was the manager responsible to get the work done. This partnership works. My recommendation to most struggling construction company owners is to hire strong managers who complement their weakest area to help them improve their business. I know you can’t afford it. That’s because you can’t make enough money with you doing work you shouldn’t be doing. With good people around you, your business will make more money. Without the right people in the right slots, you’ll continue to struggle and never make the money you should.

Draft your perfect organization chart

As you design your company to grow profitably, look objectively at how you run your business. List out who’s currently accountable and responsible for every area of your company. I’ll bet you’re responsible for most of the areas on your organizational chart. As your business grows, you won’t be able to continually fill all these positions. Decide who’s best suited to take over for you in the future. If you don’t have a person currently ready or qualified to accept more responsibility, leave that future area blank and make it your next hire. Your goal is to design the perfect organizational chart and a game plan that will allow your company to grow. This exercise will help you map out and identify your future management team needs. For a copy of the BIZ-Builder Org Chart, email

Now for the hard part: Should you start working on one of your weak areas? Or start looking for a management team member to accept some responsibility for making your company better? Your first tendency is to work harder and take on more work yourself. This is a natural reaction for entrepreneurs who are used to and want to control everything, while not spending any of their hard earned cash.

Are you willing to take bold steps to promote or and hire key managers to fill in your organizational gaps before you can afford to? The time is never right. But, unless you’re willing to invest in your future, you won’t make big plays and win the games. Fill those key positions and put people in charge of scoring points and getting results. This allows you to concentrate on areas where you’re best suited and can make the biggest difference in your team’s success. The future is your choice. What hat will you wear?

About the Author

George Hedley is a best-selling author, professional speaker, and business coach. He helps entrepreneurs and business owners build profitable companies. Email to request a free copy of Everything Contractors Know About Making A Profit! or signup for his e-newsletter. To hire George to speak, attend his Profit-Builder Circle academy or find out how he can help your company grow, call 800-851-8553, or visit


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