By REMODELING Magazine Staff. Anthony Cerami
Anthony James Construction
From time to time, someone at our office will have something worth celebrating, and we'll do a happy hour at the end of the week. We'll all get together at a restaurant, have a few drinks, maybe order some hors d'oeuvres. Everyone looks forward to it.
Once a month or so, we bring in a rep from a manufacturer. They'll buy the staff lunch, and we sit down for an hour and talk about the product.
These sorts of things make our company one big family. Everybody gets closer, trusts each other, and gets along better.
Sun Design Remodeling
We'll throw some family-oriented parties at Christmas, at the beginning of summer, and so on. But once a year, we go out of town as a company -- no family members. We've got 28 people in our company, and it's a mandatory event. For the first day, we have speakers who somehow relate to our company culture.
On the second day, we do something fun. This year, we went sailing. We put people who might not necessarily work together in the same boat, and everyone came away knowing each other better.
Every other month, we hold a "town meeting" of sorts, where everyone is encouraged to say whatever is on their mind.
There are four things I do to pre-empt problems between the field and office. First of all, I bring my production people together with my sales staff in joint meetings. I let each side tell their story. Installers should hear firsthand how difficult it is to close a deal, and salespeople have to understand the minimum information requirements needed by the production team.
In that same vein, we have the salespeople and installers work together to create a checklist for those requirements.
Third, we have all of our employees get together socially at least once a year. People are more willing to go the extra mile for someone with whom they have more than just a professional relationship.
Finally, and most important, we hire team players. Over the years, I've employed countless people whose large egos prevented them from setting aside their personal agendas for the good of the company and the customer. Regardless of their talent, they're simply not worth the investment.
McGuire, Hearn & Toms
There is a natural inclination for the two groups not to have appreciation for each other. To the field crews, the office appears to be the burden of the company: We don't put any physical work in place, and all the awful things -- change orders, design problems, et cetera -- come from us. Office staff, for their part, don't understand why production can't always hit numbers, coordinate trades, and follow schedule.
So we try to show everyone the big picture. The office staff goes out to jobsites for progress meetings on a biweekly basis. The leads come into the office for periodic production meetings. We also encourage the office staff to make more informal visits out in the field. The production guys get a kick out of showing us "office dummies" what they can do. We even had the opportunity, recently, to bring the whole company on a sales call. These tactics have really helped us gain a mutual appreciation for each other and our roles in the company.
The Home Rebuilders
We're a true team. Everyone knows what their role is and understands that if they don't play it, the company suffers. At the same time, everybody is expected to do what they can to solve problems. If you're out at a jobsite and the crew needs an extra hand lifting or cleaning up, I don't care if you're wearing a suit, you'd better help them.
Our project managers are really the ambassadors between the two groups. They've got one leg out in the field and one in the office. They're the liaisons. The field guys know that they aren't out there on their own.