Construction Leadership Insights

Is Spending Money on Leadership Development Worth It?

(Note: The training piece I discuss in this video is inspired by the Susan Scott’s book: “Fierce Conversations”)

You’ve got to be able to evaluate the results of any of the development that you do.
So, let me give an example. This is just one piece of one development segment that I do with my clients. It’s about having difficult conversations. How many of you have had a difficult conversation this week? Yeah. They happen all the time. So, let me just give you these real quick. I’m giving an example of a leadership development topic and then I’m gonna give you an example of how that practically worked. The topic is “7 Principles of Difficult Conversations.”

Interrogate reality. So, the leader of that construction company, you know what he was doing yesterday in his conversation with me? He was interrogating reality. He was saying. you know what, I screwed up. In other words, he wasn’t anything, any sort of dodging or weaving. Right? He was looking reality in the face and he was interrogating it. And in doing so, he was dropping the mask. So, if you wanna have a difficult conversation, you must interrogate reality and then you have to drop the mask. Right? Drop the BS, drop the fake, drop the ego, and interrogate reality. Drop the mask and tell the truth.

Then you have to give your full attention. And that’s something we deeply struggle within our culture because we’ve all got a crack pipe. Right? Where’s mine? I’m feeling a little insecure. I can’t find my crack pipe. There it is. Here we go. Just think for a moment. How much information have you missed in a critical conversation because you got distracted by your computer or your phone? It’s kind of an interesting thing to think about.

Right? Give your full attention to every single conversation and you’ll see that your conversation quality goes up quite considerably. There’s another one.

Tackle your toughest challenge today. Don’t put it off. Because the more time that is added to your challenges, the more your pain will increase. Right? So, if you want more pain, just don’t do anything about it and you’ll get it. If you want less pain, tackle your toughest challenge today.

Ask just one more question. Right?  I’ll give you a specific example of that in a minute.

And then be responsible for your emotional wake. So, if you’re a construction company person, you’ve probably built your company successfully because you’re an ass kicker to one degree or another. You are. And it’s okay to be an ass kicker. But understand that if we are out there kicking ass, it’s affecting other people emotionally. And you may not even be aware of it.

So, you’ve got to be responsible for your emotional wake. That means sometimes you’ve got to Go back and say, “Hey, you know what? I was a little to direct there. I apologize.”

You know what I’m talking about though, right? Okay. Doesn’t mean you have to be a wimp or, you know, coddle people along, but just be responsible for your emotional wake.

And then the last one is let the silence do the heavy lifting. If you’re a leader, one of the things that you can do best in a conversation is shut up. Ask a good question and then just listen and wait for the other person to respond.

Okay? So, let me give you an example. This is a multimillion-dollar impact and the reason I’m saying this, okay, has nothing to do with this particular segment, but it has to do with getting a return on investment on any training that you do.

So, I was teaching this to one of my clients. And like a good sort of leadership development dude, right, I asked them the next month “So, what did you do with my teaching, right, with what I taught you guys?” And you know, you’re always hopeful that they’ll do something with it. Right? One of the PM shot up his hand and he took one of the things and he said, “I ask just one more question. So, tell me about that.” Just one more question I said. He said, “Okay.” And they were sub by the way. He said, “I was on the phone to the GC. I said to the GC, GC, are you ready for us?” So, what do you think the GC said? Of course. The GC is always ready.

GC said “I’m ready.” So, GCs, forgive me, but anyway. GC “Yeah, I’m ready for you. I’m ready for you.” And he’s like “Oh, I know this guy. I know this guy.” He said, “Are you really ready?” What did the GC say? He said, “Nah, we’re not ready.” Right? Now, that was just one more question. One of the partners of the company was in the room. He shot up his hand and he says, “It cost us $15,000 to fire up the engines around here.” In other words, to mobilize a crew and send them out to the job site, 15 grand right there.

So, if he hadn’t asked that one more question, that would have cost the company $15,000. You understand what I’m saying? It’s a very simple thing. Now, you multiply that over a number of years and it’s a multimillion-dollar impact from one piece of leadership development.

If you’d like to take a deeper dive into why leadership training fails (and how it can succeed) click this link: Why Leadership Training Fails in Construction Companies

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