Guy Lamarca, general manager of Atlanta Design and Build, in Atlanta, knows that when president Dale Contant feels great, everyone in the company feels great. Lamarca also knows that the opposite is true. “The stress is amazing. Dale’s a naturally upbeat person, but even he gets down from time to time,” Lamarca says.
When this happens, Lamarca steps up his role as supporter. He keeps his eyes open for signs that stress is affecting the company’s mood. “When Dale or any of the key managers begins to feel the stress, they start to react to the moment instead of thinking ahead. Everyone starts shooting more from the hip, even skipping critical processes.”
When Lamarca sees this, he steps in, discusses the situation with the team, and reminds everyone, including Contant, of the importance of the company’s procedures and systems. “We know that our delivery of the customer experience is one of the elements that makes us successful, so we can’t afford to let that slide by ignoring what we’ve built,” he says.
When the business owner is dispirited, communicating to the team may also take a back seat. “When you’re feeling down and really under pressure, it’s not easy to be the company cheerleader, so sometimes communications don’t happen the way they should,” Lamarca says. “If I hear the production team grumbling about a decision, I’ll step in and give them reasons for the pandemonium they perceive so that they see there is a method behind the madness. This keeps them in the loop and let’s them know that the management team is on top of things. The communicator doesn’t always have to be the president.”
Lamarca also is a great sounding board for Contant, reminding him that these tough times are a phase that the company will successfully weather. “We’ve done a lot of things right through the years so that we are prepared to get through this, but sometimes it still feels like we’re caught in a whirlwind,” Lamarca says. “It’s my role to help everyone think about the long term, about why we’re doing what we’re doing.”
The Atlanta Design and Build team uses one more tactic to keep spirits up throughout the company. “We pray,” Lamarca says. “Before every production or administration meeting, we thank God for what we have and where we are. And also during that time, we take responsibility for our future and our own part in making the company a success. It’s calming for everyone — even the nonbelievers — and it’s a graceful way for us to acknowledge each other, our hard work, and to be thankful.”
—Victoria Downing is president of Remodelers Advantage — helping hundreds of remodelers across North America build strong, profitable businesses. 301.490.5620. www.remodelersadvantage.com.