Leading In Lean Times

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Some winters are flush with cash and some winters are lean. When winter revenue is low, you may feel like you are in lean times, like Moses wandering through the desert.

While this can be a bad feeling, focusing directly on a ‘lack of money’ will make matters worse.

I received an email from a very successful contractor, who has built a great brand and team of employees, and enjoys a very blessed family. But this winter has been slow, and he made a point of focusing on this with his team. He reviewed the credit card bills and gave everyone feedback to be more careful with the spending of “$20 here, $30 there”

They took him to heart, and shifted their attention looking for ways to save dollars and pennies. While saving pennies can be good, it should not be your main focus.

Contractors are builders at heart, and we should always be building our company and building up our people. To grow your peoples’ skills and confidence, delegate to them the financial budgets and line items, and let them manage the pennies.

What started this? The owner felt temporarily broke, even though he just had his best year ever. He is in a growth phase and it is eating up capital. The lean months made him feel lean.

How are you leading your people this winter? What direction are you giving them? How are you growing their spirits, motivation and confidence during these longer nights and shorter days?

Jeffrey’s Breakthrough idea: Look for every opportunity to grow your peoples’ skills and confidence. Set up the systems so that they can watch the pennies, quarters and dollars, so you can focus on the bigger challenges at hand.

Take Action

  1. Assign budget line Items to others in your company.
  1. Give incentives for thinking like an owner; not just year-end bonuses, but incentives for keeping winter projects under budget.
  1. Save your leadership broadcast time for educating and discussing the larger goals.
  1. Operate your accounting on cash basis for cash management, but also on accrual basis: So even when income is low, you can feel secure as long as you are on target to meet budget.
  1. Develop and grow a nest egg. Don’t spend all your money to avoid paying taxes. Grow your working capital.

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