While out for a Sunday evening boat ride just before sundown, my husband and I noticed one of the new intracoastal homes under construction left wide open with no workers in sight. No builders sign was present with a phone number I could have called to give a heads up before the rain came pouring in. Yes, the house was dried in and the new kitchen looked beautiful. Not having a sign posted might have worked to the builder’s advantage in this situation.
It is a good thing that the builder had trades working over the weekend, but not necessarily good for marketing to prospective clients. Would you want to go with a builder that doesn’t secure your property?
I am sure the owner of the contracting firm assumed that his superintendent would take ownership of who came and went as well as the security on the property—weekend or not. Most often those of us in leadership do assume people are accountable in the workplace and take ownership of what responsibilities are assigned to them.
In our office, we have been clearly defining who is responsible for each item that can come back to bite us if not completed, finished on time, or finalized with the quality that is expected. In addition to defining who owns it, we have identified who backs them up and who holds them accountable. Just having our switchboard and front desk manned at all -times by trained personnel can make or break a first impression.
In construction, it is key to have someone who owns the responsibility of the jobsite, someone who owns the responsibility of the contractual obligations, and someone who owns the responsibility of handling the accounting—especially accounts payable and receivables. Having back-up when they are out and someone to hold them accountable is imperative or as we all know things can derail quickly with a disgruntled owner, employee, vendor or subcontractor.
Contractors building projects of larger contract value will often pay for security on a project to monitor who goes on and off a jobsite. Today’s technology is also sometimes affordable for monitoring certain projects or your office environment. However, you want to make sure people know they are under surveillance so you do not run into potential legal issues.
If you have responsibility for hiring or assigning construction managers and departmental managers, you may want to consider the following:
- How long would it take for them to arrive at the jobsite or office?
- What flexibility and availability do they have to come in or stay evenings or weekends when needed?
- Do their references and associates say they take ownership of their job and people respect them?
Here is an example of what we often hear during reference checks when a manager is known for taking ownership:
“Bob is excellent at managing, coordinating subcontractors, scheduling, safety, communication and security. One of his best assets is that he is very dependable. He was always the first on the job and the last one to leave.”
If you are a candidate interviewing for a position, you want to take the logistics of your projects and office (even if an employer is not concerned) into consideration. Your employer will always expect you to take ownership.
If you are not able to be readily available due to family obligations, distance, or other reasons, it could affect your next review. In Florida we have hurricanes. Preparing the office and jobsite for a natural disaster is part of the responsibility of the lead manager for each of these areas even when others get to evacuate early. If the preparations are not owned by the lead managers and done right it can cost a business owner thousands of dollars in claims that won’t be paid by insurance—ultimately affecting the security of the company and possibly your job.
Do you as an employee take ownership of your responsibilities?
Are you present when they need you to be?
Do you complete any tasks that have been designated to you?
Do you take responsibility for the specific duties that go along with your job?
Are you consistent in doing the right thing in all aspects pertaining to your job?
Hopefully, the intracoastal jobsite did not incur damage from the blowing rains we had Sunday night and the general contractor has addressed so it doesn’t happen in the future.
Employees, do you take ownership of your responsibilities and the physical location under your care? Do you have back-up and accountability in place? It’s your job!
Employers, don’t assume your employees own it. You could be in for a wet mess if you do!
Own it whether you own it or not! It’s been proven that those blessed with little will be blessed with more!