And if you can't communicate, that's just a train wreck.
Welcome to another episode of Builder Nuggets, the show where builders and remodelers discover how to build thriving businesses while working less. I'm Duane Johns and together with Dave Young, we share the elements of success that have helped hundreds of contractors like you build better lives.
(00:22): Project managers will make or break your business. We expect them to do a lot. One of the biggest challenges in our businesses is the ability to attract train, motivate, and retain top project managers. Today, we're going to hear from three exceptional
(00:34): Professionals who came through the project manager ranks and now operates their own custom building businesses. When we tell builders that we work with project managers, that plan and run jobs from start to finish handle communication with clients, submit scopes of work to trade partners, manage schedules, and generally free up owners to work on leadership and business development. They think we are full of it. It sounds like we're talking about unicorns. So in order to prove that these elusive mythical creatures exist, we have captured three of them to share their stories with you today. Our guests came through three different paths, but they each re-ignited their careers as project managers and made themselves undeniable to their companies. As a result, Steve hay, Ho's now a partner in two of Ontario's top recreational markets. Jason Barnes is a partner in two suburban locations outside of Toronto. And Mike Peters is the managing partner of a rural location in Brandon Manitoba. So welcome guys. Welcome. You had your own home building business in South Carolina came to Canada, took a job as a project manager, went on to become the lead project manager trainer for Alair homes and have since become an equity partner into hot markets. How the heck did all that happen?
(01:53): Well, it, it wasn't something that I laid out and planned from when I was a kid. That's for sure. I mean, really a lot of it has to do with Providence. I started a married girl from South Carolina, moved down there and just got in business with a home builder, a custom home builder. They're running a catalyst custom cabinet shop and just continually had people that I looked up to and mentored me, you know, doors open. And I went through them and I got connected back with the layer through one of my cousins who was a project manager for one of the first offices in Toronto and kind of the rest is history. Yeah, it's been, it's been a wild ride. It's crazy looking back at it for sure.
(02:33): Jason, you had a completely different path from what I've been told and a path that led you to owning your own business. Yeah. Mine is a path of a lot of different twists and turns probably some confusion amongst all of it to really just my career started after university went to a business administration, realized that wasn't really, for me, got into the trades immediately, just really
(03:00): Working for a renovation company, doing labor type work, realized I wanted to really pursue a direct path and get a ticket in one of the disciplines. The gentleman I was working for at the time was a plumber. So he kind of took me under his wing and I pursued my plumbing certificate, realized quickly that plumbing wasn't really an Avenue that I wanted to spend the rest of my career in really wanting to get into more of a managerial project management role. I knew that's kind of where my heart lied. So I really switched from there and gone in with one of the large production track home builders here in the GTA and spent the better part of about four or five years working as a warranty manager department. That was a tough job in itself, dealing with all the warranty work that came in and saying no to people and realize that it was hard to get motivated every day to go to work.
(03:59): So kind of just looked for a new career. And that's when I stumbled across a project management position for great builder, really focusing more on custom homes and renovations and kinda the rest is history. Just manage projects for a couple of years and then had the opportunity to buy into become an owner. Mike, you came through more of a traditional route with a family business with your dad and your uncle and your brother walk us through your time as a project manager and how you got to where you are now. Fortunately, I was able to be a part of a lot of unsuccessful projects, which really helped me just gain an understanding of what wasn't working in the industry. I'm a journeyman carpenter by trade. So I spent a lot of time on the tools in the trenches and really started to gain a passion for project management.
(04:57): When I started to see the missing pieces and how projects were being run, that I was a part of and just what we can do to to change that. So I, I yeah, I worked in a family business for 15 years, worked with the brother with the dad and then yeah, it became a part of a layer and started looking at project management through a different lens. So you guys have moved into some ownership roles now and certainly have put your time in and been experienced in the project manager role. What are you guys looking for? How do you identify a project manager? If you're looking for one,
(05:34): That's a really tough question. I think one of the reasons this is kind of a tough question to answer and the reason so many people struggle with it. I don't think there was kind of one particular thing that makes a good project manager that there's, I think 16 person, different personality types. Each of them can have their place as a good project manager. I've found that it's, it's almost like a moving causal. I think the three things that someone needs to have aside from kind of personality and where they fit on your team is they need to want it. Then they need to have the desire, the passion, the drive, we've hired a PM that just every month kept showing up to check in and we tell them, you know what, we're not really at a point where we're ready to hire someone and he just every month show up, check in, see how things are doing, not just to us that demonstrated that he really valued working with us and wants to be here.
(06:38): I think someone who chases money is is a, is a temporary fix because they're just, you know, the next bigger, bigger offer that comes along, they're going to take it and run. So money isn't necessarily going to find a good PM. And someone that's really driven by that is, is typically not a good fit. And in my opinion, they have to have some sort of knowledge or experience. But I think the biggest thing they need to have really good communication skills. I think ultimately the project management role is at its simplest form is making sure that everyone's on the same page at all times. I'm not close to the trades, the clients, your bosses, your suppliers, everyone that you're dealing with needs to all be on the same page at the same time. And if you can't communicate, it's just a train wreck.
(07:35): Okay. One of the preconceptions, Steve is that, and you touched on it is that there needs to be just a ton of a construction experience already. Are any of you guys having success with people who come from different backgrounds or have a lower degree of that skill set? And what are you finding with them? How do you get them up to speed on the construction side of things? Do we have to only look within the industry?
(07:59): It's tough because if you look at a hockey team, like if you had a whole hockey team full of Austin Matthews, you know, would that be a very good team potentially, but someone with one particular skillset doesn't fill every role. I think when you're building a team, you kind of have to think of it that way, as you may have someone that's really strong in one area weak in another. And so maybe your next hire needs to be someone weak in another area and stronger in the areas that someone else is weakened and you get to building this kind of team. So if you are the owner of business and you don't have a really extensive construction knowledge, I think it's kind of critical that you hire someone with construction knowledge. If you have a lot of construction knowledge and you have, have the time to spend training someone or someone without a lot of construction knowledge typically is going to take more oversight.
(08:56): You're, you're going to need to be going by their job site to make sure that nothing's getting missed, but they could also be in my experience, you know, there's, there's a handful of people that come in on great sentence. They they've become great PMs without a whole lot of construction knowledge going into it.
(09:14): One of the misconceptions out there too, is that, and I'm sure you guys have probably seen this through your years of project management. It's a very broadly used term across the industry. And there's a lot of folks out there that might have some, you know, maybe somebody with a ton of construction knowledge and all they really are, is guys that are maybe just field supervisors, superintendents, you know, they don't really get into the admin paperwork scheduling side of things. So I think that's one thing that the industry tends to use pretty loosely the term project manager. But if you look across other fields, other industries, project manager is a very defined type of position and it does take a certain type of person to do that. Those types of people bounce around through different industries because they are masters of project management. They can manage people and resources, time and communication. So have you guys seen that through the years that folks are called project managers, but they're maybe they're not really managing projects.
(10:15): Yeah, absolutely. I think you just said it in my world, at least project managers are people managers. We were always managing people whether it's our clients trades suppliers, but it's, it's pain that whole big picture. And it's, it's making sure that everybody understands their, their roles in it. And I think when, you know, when we think about, you know, the, the team that I have in place in Brandon, there is a lot of construction experience, but a lot of those other things have to be taught or, or, you know, the education has to happen to you know, grow those project managers and those other skillsets that they may not have acquired over the years,
(10:56): Struggles owners have, is to give control over to project managers. A lot of times that's because the proper expectations haven't been set, the right training doesn't exist, or there isn't a framework or the systems or the structures. Mike, you do a lot of you're a big believer in training. You train a lot of other project managers. Steve, do you have that background? Jason, you've trained your project managers here and have been involved in groups and mentor committees around that. What are some of the things that you need to put in your business to support project managers? For me,
(11:31): First thing that that I always try and do is just listen. All the time project managers will, will often or stop will, will help tell us what it is that they're missing or what they need help in growth. And having the ability to collaborate with other individuals that are maybe going through the same thing is really, and
(11:54): And I know that's, that's something that in our company, we try to, to allow our teams the time to, to do that and the opportunity to do that, you know, the other is to, to allow you know, our team players to make mistakes and try their own ideas, try to be innovative and come up with different ways to to gain the same outcome. But that kind of collaboration really empowers the team and it, and it lets them know that that they get to try playing some different offensive plays once in a while too. One of the tricky things is getting project managers up to speed and into your culture and all that sort of thing. Jason, what are some of the things that you guys do in your offices to we'll call it onboard project managers and help them develop quickly?
(12:48): Like, do you have a dedicated training in place, dedicated processes, walk us through what you're using. One of the things that we focus on when somebody new comes on is really just, again, I think as a project manager, we often can feel like we're on this Island alone and we have to bear all the burden of any mistakes in that. So it's really important that as the new PM comes out or that they understand that we're all gonna learn together and having the support of the owner and their fellow colleagues, I think is critical for them to understand that it's okay to make those mistakes. We're gonna work together to find those solutions. And we really kind of focus around that. We focus a lot around client communication, people manage the stuff that we've been talking about there. I mean, I really believe that part of the most important qualities of project manager can possess is passion.
(13:48): The best project managers that I've seen come through our doors are the ones that when a mistake does, and you can, you can almost see it in their face and they come into your office that the mistake is affecting them more. And being as an owner, I don't even have to tell them they did anything wrong because I care so much about the mistake that happened. And we just focus on the solutions. Those are intangible qualities that I think can't be taught the Russ construction, technical knowledge and all of that. Although it's, there's a lot to it. Those are things that can be taught, but those intangible qualities are so important
(14:22): That collaboration that you guys mentioned is I think that's huge. And especially for any listeners out there, and a lot of the listeners to this podcast are likely going to be business owners in general business owners might have maybe some forms of therapy, whether it's HBA groups or builder groups, peer groups, but a lot of times the project managers don't, they don't have that collaboration network or so I think it's really important as a business owner to find paths and get your project managers to where they can collaborate with other project managers, even outside of your own company. It's huge. I think the interaction and we've seen it from what you guys have done and, and some project managers in the network, it's a big deal.
(15:05): I know I relied really heavily on those relationships. Got me through a couple learning experience with let's call them who here. I had some, some things go sideways on projects and yeah, I just, I wouldn't have made it to where, where I'm at without having people to lean on. So yeah, it is critical project management, especially if you care to what Jason was saying, like such a stressful, really you deal with problems day in, day out. It can be really stressful. People are trusting you with a lot of money, whether the sums of money are huge or small, most of the time that represents a huge part of what that person's saved up. And they, you know, they're entrusting you with a lot of hard-earned money and that, you know, the weight of that can be stressful. I think that as a business owner, when you're bringing on new PMs, if you don't have a process, or if you don't have any sort of structure, and I've seen this happen several times where, you know, they owner operator hire someone to help them out and says, okay, now go manage this project.
(16:21): And there's no, the business, the owner operator just always did it. And there's no, he just does it. There's not really a rhyme or reason. And he just kind of does it as he goes based on experience. And that's really hard to hand off to someone. So you'll see those owner operators are never going to get out of their business. They're always going to be, everything's going to rise and fall on them. And so having a really specific process is key for a new project manager. So when, whenever we bring a new project manager and there's a lot of process training, we have checklists for a lot of things, you know, through how to plan out a project to how you know, what to look for during framing, what to look for during drywall insulation and all the steps of construction. So that has the dairy systemized and really what, what they need to, when they have questions for us, it's more about what the next step in the process is not, how do I, do you know, how do I do my job? If you want to bring on new people, you need to look at your business and figure out how can I make this into a process that I can hand off to someone that if I went on two week vacation, the wheels would keep turning and the joke doesn't rise and fall with my experience
(17:39): For those so-called unicorn project managers out there. If we have business owners that are looking at them and Dave, and I hear this all the time, you can't find them. You can't find them. There's not enough good people out there in
(17:50): Some senses, you might not be attractive enough for those good project managers. How attractive is it? Or I should say, how important is it for really good project managers to see that they're going to be coming into a business that has structure and systems and process it's critical. Like, I mean, the reality is we talked about unicorn PM's and I I've been called a unicorn PM and I kind of roll my and I don't feel like a unicorn PM. And it's, again, the reason that I've I've lasted this long is because of the people around me and the network. And I often wonder how many unicorn PMs have fallen through the cracks because they didn't have the support. They didn't have their owner. Their owner sounds horrible, but their, their boss, I guess, to support them and encourage them and have a second set of eyes to help mitigate any potential risks and not just let someone run off the edge of a cliff, if you're not supporting and creating a great environment where people feel valued, I think encouragement and everyone's different, right?
(18:59): Everyone needs a different level. Everyone speaks a different love language. So everyone has a different way that they feel encouraged. But for me, when I hear someone say something positive about me, or, you know, Steve, Hey, who really did, is great at this. That to me may feel like a million bucks in that I try to do that for my PMs, figure out what they value. Some people value gifts. Some people just want quality time. Some people were [inaudible] knowing who you're hiring, knowing their personality and trying to tailor something to them specifically, so that it's not, you just hire a PM. And if you do X, Y, Z, it's going to work a hundred percent of the time that doesn't in my opinion work. And I think there's a lot of unicorn PMs that have slipped through the cracks because of that,
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(19:58): I think too, one of the important things like Steve was mentioning proper support, but I know speaking for myself and just, you know, communicating with a lot of the PMs that I do communicate with regionally autonomy is a big one too. I know in a lot of other companies, when you're a project manager, there's a lot of micromanaging going on from the top down. You know, you deserve that title as a manager, you've got a project manager you deserve to be the one to carry from, start to finish. I know that really drew me in, was knowing that I have that support, but I also have the autonomy to run that project from start to finish as well. Do you think there's a difference between micromanagement and going on site,
(20:49): Do a double check or check behind, or just have a second set of eyes, something that's really between the relationship that the owners and their project managers should have, that they understand that we're there just as, like you said, a second set of eyes, we're not there to nitpick every little detail where there's more support than we are as a manager or somebody else kind of coming in there to give another opinion. I know that's something we take very seriously in our office and that we all agree that we're all just one big cohesive team here. And we're just looking out for each other. I think what we're talking about here is, is accountability. And I know that's something we talk a lot about in office and the accountability, it takes the emotion out of it. So when, when you have accountability going both ways, you know, from your owner to the project managers and vice versa, it just becomes part of the process.
(21:43): And it doesn't maybe necessarily feel like it's micromanaging when you're going on site. And you're, you're checking off this and that because, you know, the project manager expects that and the project manager also expects you to fulfill your role as an owner and supporting them and, and there's accountability that way as well. So what is your role in supporting them on a project? You know, you guys talked about being on site, but what about the other stuff that happens behind the scenes? How are you guys doing it? I mean, I know for me, one of the biggest things that I do is we kind of have a running joke in our office on the distress hotline. So the guys know they can call me at any time. Sometimes it's literally just that about how a Trey didn't clean up after themselves, or, you know, didn't show up on time just being that ear sometimes to just listen and let them get it off their chest is sometimes enough.
(22:33): So that's something we definitely focus on doing here as a level of support. Yeah. I think it's up to to us as owners as well, to make sure that we're setting our our project managers up for success, where we're picking the right clients and trying to match the right clients to the personality of that project manager. When we're in a world of managing people, we have to make sure that everybody on those professional teams are, are going to get along well. And that goes a long way for us to to set them up for success on the projects
(23:08): It's critical as an owner to have that sense of accountability. Open communication is you just got to say both ways because business owners could have, there could be some gaps that they have, not every business owner is going to have the same set of skills. And there's probably some things that the project manager can, you know, can help offset. So I think from the very beginning, if you had those conversations around, what am I strong at? You know, what are they, this is my skillset. These are the things I'm weak at, on both sides, both from the business owner and the project manager. That's kinda set each other, such a guys up for much better.
(23:40): You guys mentioned communication earlier. There's something in the business that I call the the grocery store test. This can be difficult for an owner to pass where they're walking into a grocery store and they see a client and they have a project manager who has been working on that job. If you don't know what's going on in that job, you could look at that client and say, Oh, I'm turning around or I'm going down a different aisle. But if you are informed and know what you need to know the basics about that job, you can walk around with confidence. How do you know what's going on in the projects so that if you're in that grocery store setting or the client calls you out of the blue, that you're not confident
(24:23): I'm interacting with our clients a lot. When they first call into to our office to inquire about their project. I get to know them, you know, at that, at that phase when the project's handed over to the project manager, we basically have a, a team meeting weekly where we're, we're reviewing that project. The project managers are always, you know, CC me in client communication, that sort of thing. So I always have a thumb on what's going on in our weekly team meetings. You know, we're, we're talking about the issues that are happening. We're, we're discussing them and resolving them right then and there. And if I were to meet that client in the grocery store, I may not have all the answers to the project, but I know exactly what's what's happening. And, you know, besides the communication part of that you know, through our, through our software, we're able to get a very quick bird's eye view on budgets schedules and all sorts of things that keep us into all the time.
(25:25): How long are those meetings per project, Mike? Yeah, Depending on the project, anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes, you know, on a per project basis. And how many projects Are your project managers handling each
(25:41): Again, depending on the size, anywhere from three to six projects that could be in planning stages and construction. What about you, Steve? For us two to three, maybe again, depending on the size and the value of the project. Yeah. I'm in the target is kind of two to three, maybe one, one in planning. I know for me, my sweet spot is give me one big project. And one, one thing to plan. I think that comes down to your PM, knowing your PM, knowing where they operate. You know, Mike said it perfectly is that it's setting them up for success, figuring out what your product manager, where are they going to operate at the optimal level and setting them up for that as much as possible, good teams are known for taking on a little more than they should. So as business owners, probably a good idea to keep an eye on their workload, they will, they will keep taking it on. If you throw it out, you're right. You got to find
(26:44): That balance. That's all part of managing the stress and the workload. You, you need to set them up and, but you also need to challenge, like we still need to challenge them and, and continue to make, make them better. I think that's where a good business owner or a good manager of PM, general manager. What are you going to call them is going to really Excel is they're going to be good at finding that balance between setting your PMs up for success so that, you know, it's a perfect environment, but still pushing them and challenging them and trying to stretch them a little bit so that they continue to grow. Building a team is not a paint by numbers kind of thing. It's tricky.
(27:30): So if you guys have the view of both sides, project managers, and now from the business owner perspective, what, what things do you look at a little bit differently? Or, you know, maybe when you were a PM, you might've looked up to say, why is the, why is that owner doing that? Why is he thinking that now that you're in the owner's shoes, are there some things that you see in a different light?
(27:55): Yeah. I mean the one that comes to mind right away is as an employee, you know, why are I getting bonuses and raises and more money? And as a business owner, I've come to realize and recognize that giving more money doesn't necessarily equal more value. A lot of times when you start getting raises it, build complacency and build almost an expectation that, you know, you're giving me more money. So I must be super awesome. So I shouldn't have to do what I was doing before. I dunno. Just, money's a weird thing. So money, I think is kind of the one thing that I've really changed my view on as a, as a, as a business owner. And I think as looking back, I think while I was PM-ing, I undervalued the small, the small things that previous bosses were had done for me that I, I don't think I really understood or valued at the time, as much as, as much as I should have. Maybe
(29:09): It's going to be more than just the paycheck. So really important that you Telegraph or communicate that early on, if you're in the hiring process or whatever the, or are those other things that you're providing, all the things you're doing to make a good culture and make yourself attractive. That's what the project managers are gonna want to see. Good project manager.
(29:29): I heard this firsthand from one of my project managers in a regional meeting where this is a project manager who had only been with the company for about a year and his contributions. He is, he was pouring
(29:42): Himself into it. And I asked him, point blank. What has inspired you to invest so much of yourself into this company and into this mission? And he said, it's because Mike and his team were willing to invest in me first. So Mike, I mean that, that's a pretty amazing culture that you're creating where your project managers see what you're doing as an investment in them. And they in turn want to give it back to you. So what's your advice to other owners for, and to both of you guys and Dwayne YouTube, because you do this as well. What are some of the key ways to invest in your project manager? So they really feel like they're part of your mission, because what Steve talked about, it's money versus mission. If you're there for the money only it's short term, if you're there for them, mission, you want to accomplish something, your owner is creating opportunity for you, supporting you, asking you involving you.
(30:45): That's where you get the results. That's a really good point. If it's so much more than just signing them up for courses. I mean, that is one way to invest in the professionalism of your team and building people up with education, but investing in and inviting them to the regional golf tournament is really what we find gives us the best success with creating culture, because they see that they're getting to come out and spend time with other people in the company they're getting to build on their relationships. They're not just back in the office while the owner is out, you know, doing these things. And, and you know, for me, that was always something I craved, you know, as I, you know, worked in a smaller company and I saw other bigger companies doing it and I craved that kind of culture. And so it's something that that I know works and we can't always do everything, but we try to create those opportunities for our team to get a taste and to help build the culture with us.
(31:51): That's something that's really, we try to focus on in our office is just giving them the tools to do more stuff. And what I mean by that is little things like we're going to make sure that we understand what their personal goals are for the next year, three years, five years, what are their struggles to what went wrong for them in the last year? Maybe getting somebody involved on, on one of the local boards, if it's, you know, maybe they want to get involved with with a business group, not just say here's the five plumbers we work with, but empower them to go out and build relationships, maybe find some new trades who do they want to, you know, who do they want to work with on a vendor level? So to me, one of the most rewarding things is when I give the bandwidth, give the room for a project manager, make their own decisions that,
(32:40): And then be blown away by the decisions that they make, start to see things that I wouldn't even think of. So I think giving them tools for all sorts of different stuff, it's just huge. And even add to the little one, the big moments or changes we found in our office was a lot of the times our team meetings were very granular project focus what's going on in each progress. They were long, they were boring. They were Monday when we saw a real change in our culture in our office was when we decided to change our, basically the entirety of our team meeting. And it really focused more on the business itself and give the project managers the ability to have a voice on where the business has had it helping build our internal core values and talking about the business being transparent, where are the owners one business to go and allowing the PM's to have a voice to help direct it? You know, is there a community involvement that we should be getting involved in? It really, what it's all about is when we all sit down around that table, that everyone feels like an equal, even though the titles could be different. It's about instilling a culture where everybody feels equal.
(33:55): Yeah. Or where everyone has a voice. I think that's really important. One thing that we've tried to do in our office is we gather the entire team around and we have, we'll have a post-construction lunch. And what we eat for lunch is directly related to how we did on that project. And if we did really bad and gave a bunch of confessions, were having hot dogs and pizza. And if we did great, then we're having steak. It's not just the PM that ran that project that gets to enjoy the whole team and try to create a culture of we're all winning and losing together here. It's not each of us individually off on our own, but as a team, we're going to win and lose. And that means as we're going through project, you are going to rely on the people around you to be successful. It's not just all about you. It's about the team. The team is managing the project. You're kind of the point person on the project, but really when a client signs up with our office, they're getting the team, not just their PM
(34:59): Inclusion and building trust, investing in each other. This is like the proof that this really exists. This is the proof that this environment and this culture that you've created is real. The tricky part is showing that to the outside world. How do you guys show that to the outside world? How was it Steve? That, that guy, that future project manager came to you month after month waiting for an opportunity because that's really the position that most owners want to be in, you know, jobs. You don't go out and say, all right, my project is done. I'm going to go and get another project. You're constantly recruiting clients. We fall into a bit of a trap sometimes where we're, we need a project manager. We better go out and look for one. The better practice is to constantly be projecting who you are and attracting key talent, who wants to come and speak with you on a regular basis and do just exactly what happened to you, Steve, that you've got a roster of people that are, are ready to go. And that's really the flip side of this is how do I get to where I have to go out and find a unicorn versus I have a whole bunch of potential unicorns that are sitting here that I have to choose from. That's a luxurious position to be in. You have to be able to project that. How were you able to project it? What went into projecting that for you so that you could attract these key people?
(36:25): I think a lot of it is word of mouth. I don't think it's something that you can post up on a, on a billboard somewhere. It doesn't doesn't really carry any weight. I don't think it's something that you can fake. I think. Thanks, thankfully. And I'll be very careful in saying this. I don't think the bar has really been set that high. So I don't think it's really that hard to stand out. I don't think the construction industry and it's, it is changing for sure. But I think the construction industry is made up of hardened guys that, you know, emotions are bad and, you know, we can't feel anything. We just have to plug through, you know, crying as is for babies kind of thing. And so creating a culture where we're supporting each other and we're listening to each other and we're looking out for each other. There's not a lot of that in our industry. So it's not, if we're doing that, it's not that hard to stand out
(37:19): And look at your social media sites and how you're projecting yourselves. It's not all about the job or the technical aspects of it. You're actually showing the lifestyle of your teams. You're showing appreciation. You're showing the inclusion. It's literally the proof that somebody would need to reach out to say, I want to be a part of it. And when going and I coach around this, that's the attraction that we're, that we're saying, like, when you do incredible things, when you create these opportunities, when you have these moments of appreciation, those are human things that people are drawn to. I think Dwayne and I are advice that everyone would be the things that make you, that make your team unique. The things that you're doing, how you include people, how you give them autonomy, how you help them to improve their game, how you create freedom for them.
(38:13): Those are the things, the tricky things that you need to learn, how to show so that other people want to spread that for you. And appreciation is a really good way to, to do that. But one of the things that you touched on there, Steve, what is this hardened mindset or this old school mindset of the construction business. This is a topic that is near and dear to Dwayne's heart and talks about a lot is that we're dealing with people here when a project manager is stressed out or, you know, you get that PM fatigue from either too many jobs, a lot of stress with clients and deadlines they're either overloaded or they haven't been supported. They don't have the skills they're dry. This creates a lot of mental stress. Dwayne, maybe you can take the lead on this here. Like I think it's the second part of the equation.
(39:06): You know, we're talking about what is a unicorn project manager, how great is it to get them on your team? And I think that the second part is you've got to hold on to them and they've got a last, and we know this industry can burn you out, whether you're a project manager, tradesperson business owner. So what are some of the things that you have to do as an owner, as a team to make sure that these project managers are being rewarded, they're not stressed out. You know, they're living a good life as they should
(39:38): Largely not treating them as a commodity and just trying to milk them for every cent, you know, get rid of them. When, when they're spent, I think genuinely caring for people is not something that you can be at your way through. I think it, people have a pretty good BS meter when it comes to whether someone is genuine and in there and how they care for you or whether they care for you. I think at the end of the day, you have to genuinely care about the people on your team. And I think your team is not just PMs. I think, you know, and this kind of bleeds into the previous question is you generally care about your trades and their experience on your job site and your clients and your suppliers. And I think when we do that, it doesn't take long for the word to get out that, Hey, something's different, different going on with this company or this this business.
(40:36): And that's where we're going to track people unless you're doing it. I mean, you can post whatever you want on social media, but if that's not really at the core of who you are and someone starts working for you, they're going to figure it out pretty quick that you're a fake and they're going to take off and leave. And so it needs to be, it needs to be something that's genuine that you're striving for and you need to support your PMs and, and you know, to what Mike said earlier, set them up for success. I think that carries so much weight and power.
(41:03): I mean, we've been kind of talking about it. I know I kind of tongue in cheek about the distress online, but I was kind of joking when I said that the sincerity behind that statement is communication is key. We got to make sure that as owners, as colleagues, as whoever, we have always an open line of communication, a safe place where they feel they can talk about anything that happened that day, the moment they don't feel that they have, that they start to bottle it in the consume all those 90 to thoughts the stress and have no outlet for. So communicate, it really starts with communication and having an open dialogue, always the safe place. And then also having fun, like no understanding as an owner. I mean, I think it's critical. A lot of the owners who can say, I've walked a mile in your shoes, I get it.
(41:54): I know the stress you're going through. Cause I wasn't and realizing those times and grabbing the team and going for a beer after work Monday or going out to, I don't know, go go karting or anything like something that just allows a release that you guys everybody can do together, I think is just critical as a team to always be feeding off each other. I mean, I've had one of my PMs come up to me and say, Hey, listen, I noticed that Jake seems really stressed out. I don't know if he's been talking to you, but on a little concern. And so we picked up on that and it was a group we got together. We had a fun lunch and he really opened up about what was going on with them. And you can almost see that relief just come right off his shoulders, the moment he was able to talk about it,
(42:42): I think you need to be genuine and you need to be vulnerable to create that culture. I was suicidal at one point in my PM and career. And I try to be open and honest about that because it is like, it's real, like that stuff can happen. I'm a fairly stable person, otherwise like it's just the stress of the job that, that got to me and to be vulnerable and share that and be open about that and not try to pretend like I'm something that I'm not, or are tougher than I am. I think is key is just being vulnerable. Letting, letting people know that, Hey, I've got my own struggles and it makes it okay for everyone around you that feel like they have struggles.
(43:28): I got to say, one of my big takeaways from this is that we need to cultivate and develop, support these people. They're there, they're out there. And that's really huge. We've, we've got to help support and develop them to help become the unicorn project manager. Right? If you look at it as maybe it's been us all along and not that maybe they're all unicorns in waiting, they're just waiting for somebody to let them open their wings up and show who they are and what they've got. And give them the opportunity in a different way that the industry hasn't traditionally allow. And that's the purpose of this show is to get these conversations going, what do we need to do to unlock people? How do we learn about this stuff lives through collaboration. Dwayne, we talked, we talked about Dan pink in drive, where it's autonomy, mastery and purpose. How do we collectively create opportunity? Make these people valued, support them and help them to grow. That's what this is all about. So thanks guys for sharing, you know, your journeys and the things that you're learning now and sharing with others are going to be huge for other
(44:32): Business owners. And for project managers, we will have info in our show notes to some of the stuff we put on the website. And so folks want to connect directly with you guys and learn some more power to it. Thanks guys.Yeah. Thank you.
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