Performance-Driven Culture

A strong performance-driven culture is a key ingredient of long-term success in any trades business.

If you’ve ever felt the reality of working 80 hour weeks rehiring, retraining, fixing mistakes and attempting to motivate people, you’ll understand the consequences of having a lackluster and under-performing organizational culture. Yet while the dream of achieving a hands-off, structured, profitable trades company may often seem distant, there are a few key areas that you can focus on right now to help foster a performance-driven culture.

Imagine the personal satisfaction and unlimited potential that comes from a team that’s aligned on achieving common goals and employees that are focused on individual accomplishments. From labourers to project managers, every team member is an important contributor to the organization’s success driven by steady, controlled and profitable growth.

Having developed multiple home-service companies with very strong organizational cultures, I’ve always made sure three proven principles are in place to lay the groundwork for a culture focused on high performance while achieving cohesiveness among team members.

#1 – Defined annual and monthly goals for every team-member

Strong performance begins with clear goals and deliverables – both for your company overall as well as for individual staff members. Top performing trades businesses take two days at the end of the year to map out a strategic plan for the following year. This plan includes setting realistic, annual goals that can be tracked and measured:

  • Sales booked
  • Revenue produced
  • Production hours produced
  • Gross Profit %
  • Sales Success Ratio
  • Net Profit
  • Customer Net Promoter %

Once annual goals are defined, they should be broken down further into monthly objectives to give short term benchmarks that can be followed. The final step is to outline each staff member’s specific goals for the month that, together, will allow the company to achieve its cumulative monthly goal.

For example, in the month of April:

  • Your Production Manager’s goals are to produce $155,000 at a 32 percent Gross Profit Margin;
  • Each Lead Hand’s goals are to produce 168 production hours on budget for the month;
  • Your Sales Manager’s goals are to complete 14 estimates and book $165,000 in sales.

#2 – Accurate reporting systems to measure results each month

Reporting systems are needed to understand results achieved compared to goals set. To help attain this, I recommend using Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software where sales and production activities are entered and then reported.

Having this type of information available on an ongoing basis allows you to track employee progress, establish accountability and monitor achievement of goals. It also provides you with the opportunity to coach individual staff members every month so that underlying concerns can be addressed and under-performing behaviors can be modified.

In the most successful trades companies, all staff members understand their goals and have ongoing direction from their supervisor so they can review results and make adjustments that will help them move forward. Successes are celebrated and the entire team knows the company’s results and take both individual and collective pride in the big wins.

#3 – Annual awards and recognition of achievements

With clear goals and effective reporting systems in place, the final key to establishing a performance-driven culture is to intentionally celebrate successes and reward those who achieved their goals. A best practice is to create standardized awards for each role or level of success along with measurable results needed to achieve them.

Because team environments work best for fostering performance-driven cultures, events are a proven tool that highlight successes and celebrate top performers. A year-end awards night is a great way to get your team together to recognize achievements. As a final step, you can also tie in financial incentives like year-end bonuses with these awards to truly celebrate your strong performers within the company.

Bringing these three principles together will lay the foundation for a strong culture in any organization. In the professional trades industry – where work is hard – it’s important that your people are motivated by more than just their paycheque. As an owner, fostering an environment of measured and celebrated success is one of the most important actions you can take.

At Breakthrough Academy, we thrive in a strong performance-driven culture with the entrepreneurs in our program. For an inside look, check out the video of our 2017 Winter Summit at the beginning of this post.

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