Construction and Human Resources

A company full of corporate leaders

August 31, 2019
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Mike Novakoski. Courtesy Elzinga & Volkers

It used to be quite worrisome thinking about how my five-person Executive Committee was going to successfully develop and execute a new Strategic Plan every three years. Making ourselves the center of all these initiatives would prove troublesome.

After all, we only represented a small fraction in a company full of people with big ideas, passion and a will to accomplish great things together. We learned we did not need to travel this path alone. In fact, we discovered we could ask everyone in the company to step up as a "corporate leader"; a challenge many eagerly embrace as a welcomed addition to their core positions. Corporate leader, by my definition, is not a title but more a way of existence.

The first step we took to engage the leadership talent in our construction company was to identify six of our top field managers and six respected office-based managers and ask them to form a Field Leadership Team (FLT) and Office Leadership Team (OLT). These two teams have worked over the years on self-identified improvement initiatives, as well as taken tasks off the Executive Committee’s “strategic planning plate.” We have seen each of these teams do some amazing work improving our field and office operations in countless ways. We identify and appreciate them as corporate leaders and much of the success of the company is a result of their efforts!

As we approach the fourth quarter of 2019, we a readying ourselves for the development of our 2023, three-year Strategic Plan. Many corporate leaders will be attending our three-day, overnight retreat. The biggest group is our “Leadership Council” made up of the Executive Committee, OLT and FLT. This group does a lot of heavy lifting. Each council member is an integral part of our planning, execution and success. The Leadership Council is not the end of corporate leadership, however. We also will bring in dozens of additional corporate leaders from throughout the company, who in the past have been happy and honored to assist in making our company stronger. They, along with the balance of our team, all are asked to contribute to the success of our company with ideas and execution on a daily basis. They lead the corporation into a better place, so why not ask for their ideas and earn their buy-in?  I’ve come to truly understand the burden and ineffectiveness of an isolated, centralized leadership model and have come to embrace the old adage that “many hands make light work”!