How Can We Raise the Bar of Construction Contractor Expectations?

With An Eye-opening Process to Hold Contractors to a Higher Standard

I read a study years ago that ranked building contractors below used car salesmen. This might not be a bad thing if used car salesmen didn’t have a reputation of…shall we say…not putting the customer’s needs first.

For builders to have been ranked below used car salesmen was very confusing and more than a little disturbing.

Then realized that I viewed customers differently than a lot of builders. For me they aren’t just customers, a project or just a way to earn money. These people have put their trust in me to build them their dream.

Over the years as I have discussed building projects with a lot of people, the number of times that I have heard construction customers say, “It was the worst experience of my life” is unacceptable.

A construction project should be among the best experiences, not the worst.

Many people only get the opportunity to experience a construction project once, especially if it’s a large one like building a new home. This makes it even more critical that we as construction contractors serve every one of our customers in a professional manner.

In a previous post about construction contractor etiquette, I shared a story of a friend meeting with a plumber. While they were in the kitchen discussing the project, the plumber who was chewing tobacco spit tobacco juice in her sink. Not just once mind you, but 3-4 times! He at least had the courtesy to turn the water on and rinse out the sink.   

When the customer told me this story, she was still surprised about this and the plumber…he didn’t even realize he had done anything wrong.

This kind of behavior is a problem and it’s no wonder that contractors have a worse reputation than used car salesmen.

Considering some situations that I’ve seen or heard, it is apparent that this problem needs our attention.

Whether it’s –

  • Standing in a customer’s upholstered chair using it for a ladder
  • Leaving an electric circuit turned off over the weekend which had a customer’s freezer plugged in to it
  • Laying down after lunch and taking a nap on a customer’s couch
  • Throwing food trash in the void behind a wall and leaving it
  • Or…spitting tobacco juice in a customer’s sink

These kinds of things are unacceptable.

The level of expectations for construction contractors has gotten so low that these kinds of actions have become the norm. 

The problem is the unawareness that there is a problem.

If this is going to change, we need to raise the bar. We’ve got to hold ourselves and each other, to a higher standard.

We need construction contractor etiquette.

The word etiquette doesn’t sound like a construction term. However, I think the definition of etiquette speaks to this issue perfectly. Etiquette is a code of ethical behavior regarding professional practice or action among the members of a profession in their dealings with each other and customers.

What would this code of ethical behavior look like for construction contractors?

It would be things that a professional builder would be expected to do:

  • Communicate – Let the customer know what to expect. Return calls, send contracts in advance, sign papers in a timely manner. Remember that they don’t do construction everyday like you do.
  • Listen – This is the most important part of communicating. You need to hear what the customer is saying. This is more than just their words. It means really listening to their hopes and desires and understanding their dreams.
  • Be on time – Show up when you say you will. If you’re going to be late, call and let the customer know. Respect their time.
  • Be responsive – Return communications in a reasonable amount of time. They just want to know that you hear them and care.
  • Be accountable – If you or someone on your team make a mistake, own up to it. Don’t blame someone else. Keep the job site “clean”.  Pick up your lunch trash and water bottles. Dust will be expected, but use plastic tarps, if possible, to contain the dust and/or clean areas if it gets out of hand. Be aware of landscaping.  Don’t park in yards or walk on flowers or other plants. If it’s necessary to work in these areas, do it with respect.

Some of this content is from Construction Etiquette by Stefaney Rants.

We need to use the Golden Rule for contractors and treat construction customers the way they should be treated, not the way they normally are.

GOLDEN RULES FOR CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTORS

  1. If you open it, close it.
  2. If you turn it on, turn it off.
  3. If you unlock it, lock it up.
  4. If you break it, admit it.
  5. If you can’t fix it, call in someone who can.
  6. If you borrow it, return it.
  7. If you value it, take care of it.
  8. If you make a mess clean it up.
  9. If you move it, put it back.
  10.  If it belongs to someone else and you want to use it, get permission.
  11.  If you don’t know how to operate it, leave it alone.
  12.  If it’s none of your business, stay out of it.
  13.  If it will brighten someone’s day, say it.
  14.  If it will tarnish someone’s reputation, keep it to yourself.

As professionals it is up to us to do something about this.

So, what are we going to do?

The first thing is to be aware of the problem. If we ignore it, it won’t go away; it will continue to get worse. This means that we need to hold each other accountable for our actions. As professionals, if we see something unacceptable being done, we need to call each other out with respect and in private. This isn’t about public humiliation. It’s about raising the bar. It’s about the customer.

In the second part of this series of posts, we’ll begin to look at the process for holding ourselves and each other to a higher standard.

Contractors get ready…the BAR IS BEING RAISED.

The “Job List” Is One of the Foundational Building Blocks of a Successful Construction Company

Now, What’s the Purpose of This Building Block and Why Does it Matter?

Recently we discussed the importance of building your construction business on a solid foundation and how paperwork is outside of most contractor’s comfort zones. I know, I know paperwork is not a very exciting topic, but neither is concrete. And we all know how important concrete is in supporting a building. The same is true for paperwork and your business.

As we discussed previously, one of the three foundational piers is administration and finance. One of the building blocks in that pier is a Job List which offers valuable information for forecasting the company’s financial needs and production plans.

Wouldn’t it be helpful if you knew –

  • Which types of work were consistently the most profitable
  • How you were doing at meeting your financial goals for the year
  • When you should have the signed projects finished to stay on track
  • How well you’re doing at getting proposals signed
  • What the average price of your projects are

The Job List is an Excel spreadsheet that lets you gather and track information. It has preset formulas determining and sorting the information you need to make your business more profitable.

This document provides information for –

  • Creating and recording project numbers
  • Tracking project bid amounts
  • Tracking dollars of signed proposals
  • Tracking dollars collected from projects
  • Percentage of jobs signed
  • Percentage of dollars signed per dollars bid
  • Percentage of dollars collected per signed
  • Average dollar amount of projects bid
  • Average dollar amount of projects signed
  • Average dollar amount of projects collected
  • Projected timeframe for doing signed projects
  • Projected date work should be done

This list can seem overwhelming but doesn’t have to be.

Here is an example of what the Job List spreadsheet looks like.

Let’s go through the document and break it down into smaller bite size pieces.

Creating and recording project numbers – Having a numbering system can help you sort projects so that you can review which types and size of projects are the most profitable and what you do the most of. It may be that your most profitable ones are not the ones you do the most often. Having this type of information can help you to focus more of your attention on the right kinds of projects for you.

This Job List is a place to list project numbers in conjunction with the size and types of the projects as well as their chronological order. This document provides the numerical part of the project number specific to each project. The other portion of the project number is determined by job specific parameters not included on this document.


Tracking project bid amounts – Our Blueprint for Building a Better Proposal system provides the dollar amount for each project. Once a proposal has been finished, the information specific to that project is entered into the appropriate cells on the spreadsheet. This information includes Job Number (column E), the Customer Name (column F), Description (column G), Bid Date (column H) and the Project Amount (column I). Regardless of the system you use for preparing proposals, you should have a dollar amount that could be entered into this document.

As each new project amount is added in the project amount column, the total project amount at the bottom will update giving you a total dollar amount of the proposals you have done to this point in the year. Based on your company’s past history, this dollar amount should give you a clear picture of where you are in relationship to meeting your financial goals for the year. We will explain this further with the tracking dollars of signed projects.


Tracking dollars of signed proposals – Once a proposal has been accepted, the accepted dollar amount should be entered in the signed amount column. Initially this amount should be the same as the amount in the project amount column. Sometimes the dollar amounts of projects are changed due to change orders. This can be either an increase or decrease depending on the change order(s).

As each new proposal gets signed the dollar amount of the signed proposal should be entered into the correlating cell in the signed amount column. Just like in the project amount column, as each new amount is entered in the signed amount column, the total dollar amount at the bottom automatically updates giving you a total of work you currently must do.

With the total of the signed amount column and the total of the project amount columns, you should be able to get a clear picture of where you are financially in relation to where you want to be at year end.

Let’s say your goal for the year was to generate a gross revenue of $400,000.00. Using the example, you can see that as of December the 12th you were at $352,877.66. This is getting close, but not quite there. If you compare the signed amount to the project amount ($664,381.27) you will see that the signed amount is 53.11% of the project amount. Based on this percentage, to get the signed amount to $400,000.00, the project amount would need to be $754,000.00.

This kind of info is helpful when looking ahead to the future.

We’ve covered a lot here today. In our next post we’ll pick up at tracking dollars collected from projects.

I hope you’ve found this helpful. If you have questions, feel free to put them in the comments below and I will answer them.

Why is One of the Most Important Parts of a Construction Business Avoided So Much?

Because Admin and Finance are Out of the Contractor’s Comfort Zone

Most trades people like doing physical work, not paperwork. They like building things, not sitting at a desk making proposals or putting numbers in spreadsheets.

Avoiding paperwork is one of the biggest reasons construction companies struggle to stay in business.

They may be the most skilled craftsman out there but they consistently struggle to keep the business afloat. This includes things like –

  • Losing money due to under bidding projects
  • Not enough money to pay taxes
  • Can’t afford to have repairs done to the company pickup
  • Projects running over budget
  • Upset customers due to poor communication
  • Disconnection with production crews due to poor communication

An example of this is an email I received just this past week from a foundation repair contractor.

I need help with all aspects of the business end of the business, and definitely with organization and systems. It’s easier for me to pick up a house than it is to figure out what to charge for doing it.”

All these problems can be solved with a good foundation that includes paperwork.

Whether it’s a dislike for doing paperwork or simply not knowing how to do it, paperwork doesn’t have to be as scary as it first appears.

It requires doing something different. If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got. (Variation of a Steven Covey quote) This reminds me of the Geico commercial where the group of young people choose to hide behind the chainsaws, rather than getting in the running car.

Recently we talked about the importance of building your business on a solid foundation. I told you that this foundation consisted of three piers, one of which is Administration/Finance. Let’s break this foundational pier down and see what it’s built of.

Administration – The process or activity of running a business or organization that includes but is not limited to –

  • Computer Systems
  • Team Member Records
  • Team Member Policies and Benefits
  • Office Support
  • Office Maintenance
  • Information Archiving and Distribution
  • Data Processing
  • Communications
  • Contract Preparation

Finance – The management of money that includes but is not limited to –

  • Budgeting
  • Invoicing
  • Cash Flow Forecasting
  • Financial Reports
  • General Bookkeeping
  • Accounts Payable
  • Taxes
  • Banking

Each of the things listed here has a mix of administration and financial aspects. A good example of this overlap is the Blueprint for Building a Better Proposal, which we’ve previously discussed in a series of blog posts and podcasts.

As we move forward discussing this foundational pier, I will share some of the different documents and processes that we’ve developed and regularly use at Timber Creek Construction.

The first one we’ll discuss is called the Job List. This is an Excel spreadsheet that serves several purposes, some of these are:

  • Generating consecutive and project specific job numbers
  • Tracking current total project bid amounts at present
  • Tracking current total signed projects at present
  • Tracking current total collected projects at present
  • Percentage of jobs signed
  • Percentage of dollars signed per dollars bid
  • Percentage of dollars collected per signed
  • Average dollar amount of projects bid
  • Average dollar amount of projects signed
  • Average dollar amount of projects collected
  • Projected timeframe needed to do the work based on annual revenue goal
  • Projected date work should be done based on annual revenue goal

We’ll dig into the Job List deeper next time.

I know, I know…this seems a little scary, but it doesn’t have to be with some help. Just remember that if your business doesn’t have a good foundation, it may not stay standing.

Check back in later to learn more about the Job List.

It’s Christmas Time and This Is the Most Wonderful Time for Giving

However, Proposal Systems are Not What We Normally Think of When We Think About Giving

Giving is an interesting word. For such a small and simple word, I had no idea how complex it was. In the Meriam-Webster dictionary there are sixteen different definitions with several sub-definitions for the word give. This is just as a verb, plus there are additional ones for uses of nouns, etc.

Just like the large number of definitions for the word give, there are a lot of great ways of giving.

One way of giving is the traditional wrapped presents under the Christmas Tree. And who doesn’t look forward to getting together with the people we love and sharing in the excitement of unwrapping that unknown gift?

Another great way of giving is sharing our knowledge and experience.

In my forty years in the construction industry, I learned some things. 😊 After struggling trying to figure out how to do accurate proposals, communicate clearly with customers and prepare a production budget, I knew there had to be a better way.

While a lot of construction companies are great at “constructing”, they often struggle with the business side of things. There’s a lot more to owning and operating a construction company than just building.

Unexpected costs, changes to projects and poor communication plague the construction industry.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

That’s why I developed the Blueprint for Building a Better Proposal system. This proposal system will give you the documents and instructions needed for preparing proposals that communicate clearly and accurately with the customer, while allowing you to be profitable.

This system includes templates for:

            Bid sheet – A Word document with all the construction sections and individual items already listed out with space for filling out the scope of the work to be done, dimensions, materials, locations, etc.

            Worksheet – An Excel spreadsheet with all the construction sections and individual items already listed out with optional overhead and profit markups already inserted in the appropriate cells.

            Estimate – A word document with spaces to fill in the pertinent information, i.e. customer’s information, what will or will not be supplied by the contractor, the scope of work, the estimated price for each specific element and a total estimated price.

            Proposal – A word document with spaces to fill in the pertinent information, i.e. customer’s information, what will or will not be supplied by the contractor, the scope of work, the proposed price for each specific element, a total project price, payment arrangements and project duration.

            Contract – A word document with spaces to fill in the pertinent information, i.e. customer’s information, list of referenced documents, construction funding information, property specifics, project start date and legal terms and conditions.

            Proposal-Contract – A word document that is a combination of a proposal and contract in one.

It also includes:

            Data Base – An Excel spreadsheet with prices for material and labor for a wide variety of specific construction tasks. This information can be copied and pasted to the worksheet.

            Instructions – Complete and comprehensive instructions for how to use this system and put it to work.

            Example documents – Complete Bid Sheet, Worksheet, and Proposal for a hypothetical construction project.

Back to the spirit of giving –

I want to give of my experience and knowledge because I want to see more successful construction contractors and more happy construction customers.

So, this Christmas we’re giving by reducing the $497 price of our Blueprint for Building a Better Proposal system by 80%.

The Christmas price is only $97!

This reduced price will allow contractors to give clearer more accurate proposals to their customers.

If you know someone in the construction industry that you think would like the chance to save $400 on this proposal system…give them the link to the Blueprint for Building a Better Proposal or give them the link to this blog post.

We also have a free document you can download called the 7 Bid Mistakes. It will walk you through the common mistakes that cost contractors a fortune and how to avoid them. And because it’s free…we’re giving it too.

Why It’s Critical to Build Your Business on a Solid Foundation

Because If You Don’t…It’s Likely to Come Crashing Down Around You

If you own or operate a business, I’m sure you’ve experienced the feeling of your world crashing down around you. There are a variety of different reasons this happens. A few of them may be due to things out of your control. But, more often than not…it’s because of bad decisions we made.

Most of us that are self-employed started out learning our trade as an apprentice working for someone else. This is how I got started. The problem with this is that while I learned how to build a building, I wasn’t taught how to build a business. This is a critical part of why so many businesses don’t survive.

It doesn’t have to be this way if the business is built on a good foundation.

The foundation of a building is made up of two parts, the footing and the foundation. The footing creates an attachment point between the foundation and the soil. The role of a footing is to support a building and help prevent settling.

The foundation is the base of any building structure. The foundation transfers the load from the structure to the footing and also provides resistance from loads exerted on it. If the foundation of a building is inadequate or not maintained, the building will collapse.

The foundation of a good business is the same. If your business isn’t built on a solid foundation, it will likely collapse.

The footing for your business is who you are. It consists of your purpose, core values and mission. These are the non-negotiables. The things that, when faced with decisions, will be rock solid.

Your foundation is three piers supported by the footing while supporting the business. This is the business systems and operations. These piers are sales/marketing, production/operations and administration/finance. 

  • Sales/Marketing – Searching for and finding customers that you can help by providing your service and/or product through word of mouth, advertising and awareness. Meeting with potential customers, determining what they want/need and preparation of estimates, proposals and contracts.
  • Production/Operation – Organizing, scheduling and maintaining the project or product. Determining who the right people are to preform specific tasks. Knowing the parts that are needed and making sure they fit. Maintaining communication between all parties involved. Upkeep and maintaining facilities and equipment.
  • Administration/Finance – The preparation of documents needed to communicate, track and record all aspects of the business. The filling out and filing of income, expense, banking and tax papers. This leg is one of the easiest for ‘trades-people’ to neglect and one of the most important.

For a business to be successful for the long term it is critical to have these three piers in place and to maintain them.

If one or two of these piers get neglected when doing the busy day to day work…the business begins to lean and if not corrected in time, it will collapse.

These three piers are made up of several different pieces. I plan to break these pieces down and explain how they fit together and serve their part in supporting a successful business.

I will start with the Administration/Finance pier, because it is the most often neglected by ‘trades-people’.

It’s up to us as business owners and entrepreneurs to build and maintain our business. If we do this well…everyone benefits.

An Update of Our Progress on the Blog Post to Podcasting Journey

Like Any Project That Has Some Size…It Takes Some Time to Build

A few weeks back I told you about my plans to convert my blog posts into podcasts. We started by discussing the WHY question. We came up with the answer of – being able to help more busy people find solutions for building their dreams.

Next, we talked about HOW we would ever get blog posts turned into podcasts. It was determined that if I was going to do this…I was going to need some help, i.e., Nic at AdWise Creative. Nic’s help has made a huge difference in what we were able to accomplish.

Then, we reviewed our progress, which included –

  • Having written the intro and outro for the construction company focused podcasts
  • My recording of the construction company focused intro and outro
  • Nic having put together the intro and outro sound effects
  • Nic combining the intro, outro, sound effects and reading of the blog post into a preliminary episode

This got us to a point considered WHAT the next step of the journey would be. Which included –

  • Designing artwork for the podcast landing page – check
  • Researching and deciding where we would host the podcasts – check
  • Recording more construction company focused episodes – check
  • Write the intro and outro for the construction customer focused podcasts – check
  • Record the intro and outro for the construction customer focused podcasts

This is good progress. Four of the five things on that list are done and the things on this list aren’t easy.

Like I wrote about in the second post in this series, I would need some help to pull this off. Thanks to my assistant Katie and Stacey my IT specialist at Custom Internet for their help in getting the first couple of things on the list moved forward to where we are.

Let’s take a look at these things that we done.

First is the Solution Building podcast landing page. I’m very happy with the way this page has turned out. Thank you, Katie and Stacey, for all of your hard work on this beautiful site!

Before we could even have a podcast, we needed to decide where we host them. We decided on Castos as our podcast hosting site. There were a few reasons we chose them, but the main ones are…their connectivity with WordPress, which is the host platform of our other websites, unlimited storage of content, both audio and video, and an affordable price.

Yes, we have more recorded episodes done and you can listen to them here.

We’re still working on the intro and outros for the customer and life building podcasts. We also are working on getting the podcast page connected to our AWeber account. This will let people know when the most recent episode become available.

We’ll keep you updated as we go forward.

Go check out the podcasts and let me know what you think.

The Benefits of Combining Your Calendar and To Do List

The Strength of These Two Things Together Can Increase Your Productivity

As business owners, entrepreneurs, hardworking employees of companies, and active people, we find ourselves busier than ever during this time of the year. As we approach the end of one year and begin preparing for next, there just isn’t enough time to get everything done. Add to this the Holiday season and everything that goes with this…it can get overwhelming.

As busy people we struggle trying to get everything done. The thing we need to remember is…

We don’t have to get EVERYTHING done.

Instead, we should prioritize our actions and focus on the first next thing. What is the most important thing currently on the list? At the same time we need to remember there is a limited amount of time available.

Recently I had a day that made the importance of a calendar and the limits of time very clear.

I typically have my calendar packed tight. Some of you have seen my calendar and know what I’m talking about. On this particular day, I had no meetings or events scheduled. I was lazy about putting things on the calendar.

As always, I had a long list of things to do. More than I could ever get done. The problem with not having things scheduled on the calendar is…the importance of time available is lost. At the end of that day, I was disappointed in how little I got done. I should have put things on the calendar.

This is why it’s important to use a list and a calendar together.

A calendar is a visual view of the time available. As you put things on the calendar, the day, the week(s) and the future begin to fill up. It’s a gauge for what you can get done. It isn’t an exact science; you already know that some things are going to take longer than you plan for.

Seeing this limited amount of time packed to the point of running over amps up the sense of urgency. This increased urgency improves productivity. It’s a black and white way to see the limited time available, a list of things to do doesn’t show you this.

A calendar is a great way to measure the time you have to do the things on the list.

The purpose of lists is to keep track of things that need to be done. We all have lists of things to do, whether it’s in our head, on paper or electronic. I use OneNote for my lists because of its simplicity, connect-ability, flexibility and options available.

The thing that I like about my OneNote list is that it improves my ability to keep track of the things on the list and allows me to easily move things around and add or remove as things change. And we all know that things never change. 😊

A list is a great way for prioritizing things that need done first and keeping track of the rest.

A calendar is a time focused tool. The “to do list” is just what it says…a list of things to do. These are two different tools, with different purposes and abilities that work well together.

Most of us business owners, entrepreneurs, hardworking employees of companies, and active people want to be more productive. Using these two tools to support each other is a good place to start.

Goal Achieving is a Better Plan Than Goal Setting

Too Often Once the Goals Are Planned…We Forget the Achieving Part

This is like having plans to build a building and once you get the blueprint drawn…you stop. You have a picture you can hang on the wall, but the building never gets built.

Having a plan before you start is good, but it’s not enough. If you don’t dig some dirt and drive some nails, nothing is accomplished.

Accomplishing anything requires action and action requires decisions.

This book gives us Seven Decisions shared with David Ponder while on his travels bout how we should live our lives. I review and contemplate these decisions daily.

We’re nearing the end of another year. The closer we get, the more we beat ourselves up because of the things we didn’t get done. It’s easy to get caught up in the things that we didn’t accomplish and overlook the things that we did. We all have visions of what our dream life will look like. This can be frustrating and depressing when things don’t turn out like we planned.

We need to remember that we can’t change the past, only the future. The key is to not give up.

Giving up is like dying while you’re still alive. Don’t give up!

Last week I wrote about how we can use urgency to accomplish more. Urgent things become a higher priority. This moves them up higher on the list. As an example of how this works, let me tell you a story that happened just this morning.

As Katie (my awesome assistant) and I were working on some website things, I realized that I couldn’t log in to the Solution Building site because I had waited too long in setting up my two-factor authentication. This is something that Stacey (my amazing IT person) told me to do a month ago.

This meant that I wasn’t going to be able to publish this week’s solution until I got this taken care of.

As it is with busy people…I kept putting it off to do other things. The level of urgency ramped up though when I couldn’t get into the website. I had to decide what I was going to do. At that point, it became the highest priority.

We all deal with these kinds of choices. The key to accomplishing more is to decide early on what is important and what isn’t. No matter how clear we are on our life and business plans, things are going to happen. Some are within our control, and some aren’t.

The more answers we have to big life question, the easier the smaller questions are to deal with.

Ultimately achieving goals comes down to decisions and deciding is up to us.

As I think about life and decisions, once again, I’m brought back to Andy Andrew’s book, The Traveler’s Gift. I know, I refer to this book a lot. As I was thinking about goals and decisions, I was reminded about the profound impact this book had on my life as I recovered from my concussion.


  • The Responsible Decision

I accept responsibility for my past. I control my thoughts. I control my emotions. I am responsible for my success.

“THE BUCK STOPS HERE.”

“If decisions are choices…and our thinking dictates our decisions – then we are where we are because of our thinking.”

President Harry S. Truman

  • The Guided Decision

I will be a servant to others. I will listen to the council of wise men. I will choose my friends with care.

“I WILL SEEK WISDOM.”

“God moves mountains to create the opportunity of His choosing. It is up to you to be ready to move yourself.”

King Solomon

  • The Active Decision

I am courageous. I am a leader. I seize this moment. I choose now.

“I AM A PERSON OF ACTION.”

“My future is immediate. I will grasp it with both hands and carry it with running feet. When I am faced with the choice of doing nothing or doing something, I will always choose to act!”

Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain

  • The Certain Decision

I will not wait. I am passionate about my vision for the future. My course has been charted. My destiny is assured.

“I HAVE A DECIDED HEART.”

“Truth is truth. If a thousand people believe something foolish, it is still foolish! Truth is never dependent upon consensus of opinion. I have found that is better to be alone and acting upon the truth in my heart than to follow a gaggle of silly geese doomed to mediocrity.”

Christopher Columbus

  • The Joyful Decision

I will greet each day with laughter. I will smile at every person I meet. I am the possessor of a grateful spirit.

“TODAY I WILL CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY.”

“Our very lives are fashioned by our choices. First we make choices. Then our choices make us.”

Anne Frank

  • The Compassionate Decision

I will forgive even those who do not ask for forgiveness. I will forgive those who criticize me unjustly. I will forgive myself.

“I WILL GREET THIS DAY WITH A FORGIVING SPIRIT.”

“Forgiveness is a secret that is hidden in plain sight. It costs nothing and is worth millions. It is available to everyone and used by few. If you harness the power of forgiveness, you will be sought after and regarded highly. And not coincidentally, you will also be forgiven by others!”

Abraham Lincoln

  • The Persistent Decision

I will continue despite exhaustion. I focus on results. I am a person of great faith.

“I WILL PERSIT WITHOUT EXCEPTION.”

“Great leaders – great achievers – are rarely realistic by other people’s standards. Somehow, these successful people, often considered strange, pick their way through life ignoring or not hearing negative expectations and emotions. Consequently, they accomplish one great thing after another, never having heard that something cannot be done. God may have been waiting centuries for someone ignorant enough of the impossible to do that very thing!”

Archangel Gabriel


Achieving our goals comes down to decisions.

Starting by deciding what our priorities are.

Deciding to be responsible. Deciding to be wise. Deciding to take action. Deciding to believe in ourselves. Deciding to be happy. Deciding to forgive. Deciding to persist.

Urgency Can Be Good or Bad, Depending on How You Use It

I Find That Intentionally Creating a Sense of Urgency Can Increase Productivity

How you view and handle urgency is a choice. You can choose to use urgency to your benefit, or you can let urgency be a negative thing.

When something has urgency, it requires speedy action. If you’re standing in your front yard and a tornado is coming straight toward you…there would be some urgency to take cover from the storm.

Urgency is a pressing importance requiring speedy action.

Some people view urgency as positive…others not so much. The perspective with which you view urgency is the choice.

I have a relatively extensive and structured morning and evening routine. It might feel a little daunting to some people. 😊

As a part of that routine, I review my…

As I was going through the goal portion of my morning routine a few days ago, I realized we are rapidly approaching the end of 2022 and we are not where we need to be to accomplish our goals.

As I thought about this, my sense of urgency became elevated. We are going to need to start pushing extra hard to even get close to those goals.

This is where urgency, as a negative, begins to set in. One of the things that often happens in a situation like this is, you start running around like a chicken with its head cut off and no clear direction.

Or you can take control of the situation, choose to make the decisions needed and start moving forward.

Another part of my routine is to narrow the overwhelming number of things that need to be done down to the first next thing. This is a part of how I prioritize. What is the first next thing that needs to be done? One of the ways I do this is by reading through this list of eleven actions.

FIRST NEXT THING

  1. Start with prayer
  2. Get off my “BUT”, stop making excuses
  3. Put it on the calendar
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help (delegation / accountability)
  5. Take goals seriously (create a sense of urgency early)
  6. Maintain positive forward momentum
  7. Celebrate wins
  8. Don’t overthink it
  9. Break the goals down into brick size pieces
  10. Make goals about giving and not about getting
  11. Review progress regularly, and be accountable

#5 Take goals seriously (create a sense of urgency early)

As I read through this list I was thinking about moving forward with our goals. When I got to #5, take goals seriously (create a sense urgency early) I remembered where this came from.

Before I started Timber Creek Construction, I was a partner in another construction company. My role in this partnership was production management.

One of the things that seemed to happen constantly is that as we got nearer and nearer the completion date, the sense of urgency picked up. And with that, productivity picked up. I was amazed at how much more got done as the deadline approached.

That’s when I realized that if we would create that sense of urgency early, it would increase productivity throughout the entire project and the company. Now that was easier said than done.

The tricky thing is how to consistently create that sense of urgency early.  

Just like our company is behind on our goals and the sense of urgency is ramping up…

I should have created the sense of urgency EARLIER.

I can’t go back and change the past, but I can learn from it and change the future.

Why is it That Businesses Put More Emphasis on Sells Over Service?

It Doesn’t Have to Be One or the Other…It’s Our Job as Businesses to Find Both

When thinking about business ownership or leadership, the focus often is on making a lot of money. Not that there’s anything wrong with making money. The problem is when money becomes the driving factor.

We’re all aware of those people who have been super profitable in their business. You know…those rags to riches stories where someone started out with nothing, came up with a new idea and became wealthy.

Making a lot of money is a big reason why so many people decide to start a business.

It doesn’t help that we are constantly being bombarded with some new product, formula or process that is a “shortcut to wealth”. The problem is…most of them aren’t.

This isn’t to say that they can’t or won’t work. What I’m saying is…more often than not…these things sound better than they really are.

After my wakeup call in 2012, while recovering from my accident, I began researching ways to share my construction expertise and business experience with others. I thought, I’ll help construction companies and customers through coaching and consulting.

The problem was…I knew how to run a construction company…not do virtual coaching and/or consulting.

So, I subscribed, bought, downloaded and joined multiple programs, courses, classes and trainings in an effort to turn this new idea into a business.

It didn’t go as well as was expected.

Not that I didn’t gain a lot of valuable knowledge, insight and things that I can and will use.

The problem is that it was the proverbial “getting the horse ahead of the cart” thing. We’re being bombarded through commercials, emails, social media, etc. with the next shiny new thing that is going to be the answer to all our business prayers.

All those things that I was sure were what I needed to get my next business up and going…weren’t.

This led to feeling like I was, “wandering, lost in the business dessert”.

After feeling this way for a while, I began to doubt myself. Maybe that great idea I had wasn’t so great after all. Too often this kind of thinking leads to saying to heck with it and giving up.

In our mastermind last week, Becky Warner shared that she had an aha moment when she realized that starting out trying to sell too much, too early, was a mistake. She said, we need to start with connection and community.

Connection and community…these are the same as SERVICE!

When I heard her sharing her thoughts about this, I felt relief. It was a confirmation that I wasn’t the only one feeling like this.

Starting the journey across the business dessert with unrealistic expectations leads to wandering.

The information that Becky shared with the group confirmed what I had been feeling. I needed to look back at what had worked in my construction business and that was…focus on service, not on sells.

This isn’t to say that sells don’t matter. What I am saying is…

Our businesses are more than just profit.

We have all been given skills and abilities that provide a service to others. If we figure out what that purpose is and use it, we can sell more and make more.

97% of businesses fail within 10 years. This is in large part to their focus on sells and not service. I don’t know about you, but I want to be part of the thriving 3% of businesses that succeed.

If you provide service…the sells will follow.