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25 Habits of Successful CPMs and Construction Company Owners

25 habits of successful construction company owners you can adopt too

Whether we’re talking about work or private life, there are a few things every construction company owner – or construction project manager for that matter – knows are key to success. We put together a list of 25 good habits you might want to consider adopting too.

1. They are organized

Being able to deal with multiple projects, problems and people at one time is as difficult as it is important. This is why organization is essential when carrying out construction projects, and the more lengthy and complex, the more organization is vital. Being organized means, for example, knowing how to manage resources like time, materials and manpower. Proceeding in an organized way allows construction company owners to save time and effort, helps you avoid feeling overwhelmed when having to juggle many simultaneous tasks and allows you to track progress.

2. They adopted project management software

The trend in the industry is clear: most CPM and construction company owners are systematically drifting away from the pen and paper or spreadsheets to adopt software tools that would make their lives easier and their projects run way more smoothly. These tools help keep track of all complexities, help keep risks under control, the team focused on what they need to accomplish, and help present the specific results of each task. With the right software, you too can improve efficiency and productivity dramatically.

3. They manage time well

Managing time and tasks falls under the organisation umbrella. Construction managers and company owners are among the best jugglers you’ll find, if they do it well. They must know which tasks they should focus on right away and which ones can wait. Good CPMs know how to allocate a certain amount of resources to a certain task, how to set deadlines and milestones and how to deal with time constraints.

4. They don’t rush

Learning how to take things slow is essential sometimes. Wise CPMs and company owners don’t rush into decisions just because a decision has to be made. They press pause when they need to and they delay decisions if necessary. Good judgement takes time sometimes, and cannot be rushed.

5. They pay attention to detail

At managerial levels, attention to detail s almost as important as keeping in mind the bigger picture, especially when dealing with complex projects. In order to make a construction project successful every piece of the puzzle must come together, and using project management tools helps keeping track of all parts of the project.

6. They delegate

Particularly on large and complex projects, construction managers and company owners must know how to delegate, and how to delegate well. The most recurrent problem among those who have a hard time delegating is their fear that others won’t do the job as well as they would. Poor delegation is just as bad as no delegation. This is why it’s so important to delegate to the right people to be sure that tasks will be handled as they should. By ensuring that the assigned person has the knowledge, skills and availability to carry out tasks from beginning to the end, managers can almost forget about them until it’s time check results. In short, the two golden practices of successful CPMs are: delegate to people who can handle the task and follow up.

7. They know when to say no (but also yes)

Successful business people who have lots of responsibilities know when and how to say no. Having too much on their plate means they won’t be able to cope, and they know it from experience. Although learning to saying no is an important skill one has to learn, saying yes is almost as important. Having a positive, can-do attitude is vital when managing complex projects and even more when managing other people. With enough experience, any project manager or company owner learn how to find a healthy balance between the two.

8. They know the importance of teamwork

Building team spirit, encouraging feedback, being open to constructive criticism, and keeping an open dialogue with co-workers will inspire others to cooperate and help you out. A prerequisite for being a good team leader is to be a good team member. This way you can lead by example and inspire others to help creating a collaborative work environment, where people work as part of a team rather than just thinking of themselves as individuals.

9. They network

No man is an island, and having a wide and diversified network is useful for so many reasons. Because there is no such thing as knowing too many people or having too many contacts on your address book. You never know when an acquaintance is going to come in handy or when new opportunities are going to come your way from someone you know.

10. They surround themselves with the right people

It’s so important to surround yourself with the right people: smart people at work, loving people at home, and in general, people who have your back. Being able to establish and keep solid, loving relationships will make you feel more serene, stronger and happier. Having good relationships with your friends and co-workers will help you build a support group that you can count on, and avoid creating conflicts that will just dissipate your energy and ruin your mood. Surrounding yourself with smart, ambitious people will give you the chance to grow and learn. Avoid making enemies at all costs, be kind to people and as a general rule always treat people the way you’d want to be treated.

11. They have role models

Especially at the beginning of their career, successful CPMs know the importance of having a mentor or someone who inspires them. When we are at the beginning of our careers, role models are basically a tangible projection of our future selves and can motivate, inspire and encourage through their mere presence. You too can learn by surrounding yourself with people who will give you something to take home every day.

12. They constantly learn new things

Successful CPMs or construction company owners push themselves to learn every chance they have. Whether it’s about engineering, architecture, budgeting, new software, or even developing their interpersonal skills, they know the importance of lifelong learning on the job. After formal education, this includes learning from additional courses, own mistakes and other people in the team, and all are valid ways of evolving as a professional and as a person.

13. They acknowledge their mistakes and reach for help

We’re human, we make mistakes, and every construction company owner and CPM knows that. Stop beating yourself up over the mistakes you’ve made and try to focus on how to make up for them or how to make things right for next time. There are circumstances in life and at work where you are just not going to make it on your own. Knowing when to reach out for help and have someone else take a weight off your shoulders is going to help you tremendously. Admitting you’re wrong or admitting you need help are not necessarily signs of weakness. You’ll be surprised how people will actually support and help you out, and wish you started doing it earlier.

14. They set goals

Successful CPMs are idealistic and ambitious without letting it overshadow their judgement on what goals are attainable and what are not. They know setting goals is important in life and work, but they also know that setting realistic goals is crucial. Being realistic about the amount, size and scope of goals you want to achieve. Learning how to set smaller, more attainable goals on the way helps keep track of progress towards bigger goals.

15. They keep their priorities straight

Know what’s important for you and for whatever project you’re working on. In life and at work. A good rule to follow for long-term life goals in life is perhaps Warren Buffett’s 25-5 rule: make a list of the 25 things you want to accomplish, then pick the 5 most important ones and forget about the other 20. Minor goals shouldn’t distract you from achieving your most important ones.

16. They are flexible

Change management takes expertise and flexibility. Good construction project managers must be ok with the unexpected and know how to lead their people through it. Construction schedule can be delayed due to late deliveries of material, budgeting plans can be subject to alteration due to increased prices of a subcontractor, manpower might have to be redistributed and so on. Some changes can be anticipated and controlled to some extent, but some unpredictable events such as accidents or adverse weather conditions can’t be, and therefore will need a high flexibility and promptness to manage crisis and transition to a new plan. Prepare alternative plans will help, but it’s the attitude that matters the most.

17. They are good leaders

Not everyone who leads is a good leader. To be knowledgeable about engineering, budgeting, legal aspects, project management and the like is not enough. A good construction manager means one knows how to avoid and negotiate conflicts, make informed decisions, understand situations, build a solid team, hold meetings, work well with others. Good leaders must be polite and respectful of others, acknowledging others’ worth and others’ work.

18. They are protective towards their people

Once CPM or construction business owners manage to recruit qualified, hardworking people, they know how important it is to keep them safe and to keep them happy. This includes fair wages, sustainable working hours, safe work sites and promotion perspectives. If their company and their boss shows respect, appreciation and offers a good environment, employees will show gratitude through their performance on the job. The rule, with a few tweaks, applies to all people who matter in our lives: you want to take care of those who are important to you.

19. They are present

Being present is important both physically and mentally. While multitasking is part of the job, it can take away focus from individual tasks that require special attention and concentration. Successful CPMs and company owners know when a particular situation or task requires their full, undivided attention, and they deal with it. Physical presence on the other hand is exactly what it is: presence on site and in the office makes for a more approachable, tangible and stronger leader. Going to places, talking to people is an essential part of the role and allows to better understand issues and checking up on situations that could develop problems in the future, as well as evaluating productivity and communicating with employees.

20. They communicate well

Successful CPMs and company owners must be good communicators and negotiators. They need to deal with all types of people from different cultural, educational and professional backgrounds and therefore they need to know how to address each and every one effectively and make sure everybody understands messages. Technology can definitely help out with this one: the right software will dramatically improve clarity of remote communication and make updated information easily accessible to everyone. Poor communication can easily imply time loss, waste of energy and can ultimately make a project fail.

21. They are active listeners

Communication goes both ways. If company owners or project managers know how to communicate what they want but are poor listeners, they won’t get very far and they will miss many insightful remarks from co-workers. Asking questions and actively listening to people on-site, stakeholders, and co-workers at all levels is crucial to understand issues, concerns and ideas from the field.

22. They think positive

Countless books and articles have been written on the positive impact of positive affirmations. It’s also proven that people who talk to themselves are not crazy, but they’re actually smarter than average. Whether it’s talking out loud or giving ourselves an inner speech, science says we benefit from talking to ourselves. It helps us organize and materialize our thoughts, make sense of things and ultimately achieve our goals. So why not using the time we talk to ourselves as a time we use to make positive affirmations about our life, success, and strength? Affirmations such as “today is going to be a good, productive day” or “I can do this” or “I choose to let go of negativity and focus on the positive things” are extremely powerful and every successful CPM and company owner knows it. Starting your day with positive affirmations will train your mind to think optimistically and deal better with challenges.

23. They celebrate every small success

The world wasn’t built in a day, nor will your goals. CPMs and company owners know all too well how lengthy, complex projects can seem never-ending and can make you lose track of whether progress is actually being made or not. A good practice to implement in your company or your everyday life in general, is keeping two lists or using a project management tool that will allow you to keep track of your results. Basically, for every “to-do” list you make, also create a “done” list where you can track progress at the end of every day and celebrate what you’ve accomplished. While a “to-do” list can orient us towards our goals, a “done” list portrays execution and helps you evaluate efficiency and productivity and adjust your goals for the next day, week or month.

24. They take care of themselves

Work hard, play hard is a good mantra to have. In order to be productive at work, everyone needs time to rest and unwind outside working hours. First and foremost, it is important to learn how to separate work from life, and that can be tough to do especially when carrying big responsibility at work. Since relaxing is different for everyone, find a sport, discipline or an activity you can rely on when feeling stressed or overworked. Avoid the risk of being burnt out by recognizing early signs of fatigue and stress, don’t underestimate them and take action immediately before you lose control. So take care of yourself and your body, get enough sleep, eat well, spend quality time with the people who matter.

25. They dream big

As we grow up and our dreams change and evolve, sometimes we forget the importance of dreaming big. But that’s what pushes us to aspire for bigger things and that’s how many construction company owners start: with a dream. Writing down your dreams every once in a while will keep your creative juices flowing and will give you something to look forward to.

Take a look at our guide on promoting your company in construction with no cost and learn all you need to know about infographics and marketing.

References:

  1. Genius people talk to themselves: http://elitedaily.com/life/culture/people-talk-to-themselves/1105688/
  2. Talking to oursevles: https://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2014/aug/21/science-little-voice-head-hearing-voices-inner-speech
  3. Keep a done list: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/why-to-do-lists-dont-work-and-done-lists-do.html
  4. Ten habits of effective construction manager: http://civilengineerblog.com/highly-effective-construction-manager/
  5.  Ten habits of successful construction managers: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/10-habits-successful-construction-project-managers-paul-netscher

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