David Sharpe

The New Year always brings with it reflections on the past year and resolutions for the coming year. For most remodelers reflecting on the past year, business probably wasn’t as good as you had hoped. What about this year?

Like looking down into a well to judge it’s condition, don’t make the mistake of only looking at the surface of your business. The surface may only be a reflection of what you already know. Judging the true condition requires looking below the surface.

As a business owner, it’s difficult, and sometimes impossible, to carry the weight of the business’s challenges solely on your shoulders. If you’ve been overwhelmed and overworked during this recession, what’s beneath the surface might reveal that you need to do a better job of getting your employees involved and invested in the business. If you’ve been a supervisor this past year, think about becoming a leader in 2011.

All In

If your employees are not adequately contributing to the business, your best option might be to create a completely new team. That doesn’t mean you need to replace your entire staff but to create a team where you and your employees have new roles, new activities, and new or different responsibilities. A team where the leader’s new role is to develop the talents, skills, and mindset of all employees so they can participate, contribute, and share in the management and leadership of the business. A team where employees are empowered and feel comfortable holding one another accountable to the business’s goals and to the individual commitments each employee makes or accepts — a shared-responsibility team. Creating this new team doesn’t require a totally skilled leader, but rather a leader who is willing to learn to become skilled in different areas.


In a shared-responsibility team, the owner or manager no longer has the sole responsibility for the success of the business or for individual employee performance. If this sounds like a good option for you and your company, look for ways to improve your leadership skills.

Listen in while Sal talks with Shawn about the ideas behind this column.

Shared Responsibility by RemodelingMagazine

As an owner, you can choose to either lead things or lead people. Leading things requires that you take personal responsibility to make things happen and your employees just wait for direction — you must take on the near full-time supervisor role. By leading people, however, you can help your employees take their share of responsibility in the business. A leader of people finds ways to mentor employees into leadership roles so they can supervise themselves.

When I owned my remodeling business I came to realize I couldn’t keep growing the business unless I involved my employees in the effort. I took leadership training and worked with a mentor to help me through the evolution. To my surprise, my employees embraced the opportunity. By becoming a leader myself, a leader of people, I had actually created a whole team of leaders. I encourage you to do the same. Best wishes for 2011.

—Shawn McCadden founded, operated, and sold a successful design/build company and is a co-founder of the Residential Design/Build Institute. shawnm@charter.net.

Read more Shawn McCadden columns here.