How tackling one task can turn your company into a project powerhouse

Successful business leaders focus their time and energy on handling the business functions that provide the biggest return on investment (ROI)  for their company. Too often, however, their focus is spread thin across too many of these tasks.

What is the No. 1 function that could help you generate the highest revenue, increase equity and/or produce the best project results? As a business owner, you must identify your companywide must-do roles (MDRs) and delegate them to the right employees. Most importantly, you must determine your own MDR, and it’s probably not the role you think it is.

Take, for example, a professional football team as a company. The goal of the team is to achieve the maximum ROI for its shareholders. To achieve this, the team owner doesn’t tell their coaches how to coach or their players how to play. Instead, the owner employs a group of professionals to build and coach a winning team; hire, manage and train the best players available; develop winning strategies and game plans; handle all player personnel requirements; manage logistics, facilities, travel and management details; develop a marketing and sales plan; and manage finances.

There is no doubt that every role contributes to the team’s success. Without proactive sales, there isn’t enough high-margin revenue. Without professional accounting and finance, control of the money is lost. Without operational efficiency, the company can’t deliver results. And without the best coach with a winning game strategy, the team will lose. If the team loses games, the fans won’t buy tickets, and the company won’t make any money. If the company doesn’t make a financial return, the company won’t have funds to attract and keep the best managers, coaches and players it needs to win.

Determine Company MDRs

When construction clients share their current company focus and goals with me, they generally mention one of the following activities that would bring change to their businesses. Read their responses to the following question. Then decide: How would you respond?

What do I need to focus on more to drive profits?

  • Developing customer relationships
  • Tracking job-cost production hours versus budgeted hours
  • Completing accurate project
  • estimates and bids
  • Attracting, coaching and mentoring new talent
  • Streamlining processes and systems

Prioritize Your MDR

Begin by choosing the MDRs that you, at this time, believe will produce the highest ROI and project results for your company. Next, determine a company leader to take on each function as their primary role, assuming responsibility for achieving the highest results possible within that role. Next, rank, in order of importance, the following possible MDRs your company must perform with excellence on a continual basis to achieve the best possible results:

  • Build accountable management
  • Manage people to achieve results
  • Develop/enforce company systems
  • Create and maintain a great workplace
  • Find, keep and train great people
  • Build projects on time and on budget
  • Provide safe and effective production
  • Eliminate profit fade
  • Produce quality workmanship
  • Perform proactive field supervision
  • Maintain top subcontractors/suppliers
  • Innovate with the newest technologies
  • Prepare accurate estimates
  • Implement professional financial management/controls
  • Become an industry or niche leader
  • Acquire high-margin revenue
  • Develop loyal customer relationships
  • Other: ________________________

Commit to Your MDR

After you have ranked the most important roles, whittle down the list to the top five tasks that must be performed well no matter what. Now, for the hard part: Reduce the list to your company’s top three roles required to achieve your overall company vision and reach your business goals.

If you are the company owner or president, select one or two of these top three MDRs that you, as a leader, will be accountable and responsible for accomplishing. To build, grow and maintain a successful company, you must invest the most time performing these primary roles before you do any other activity or task.

Work with key managers and supervisors select the top two roles they must focus on to become a leader in their area(s) of responsibility for the company. For example, if one of your company’s top two MDRs is to develop, grow and maintain high-margin, loyal customer relationships, this must be your primary commitment, job and focus as the leader.

You must invest and dedicate amount of time required to be accountable to develop, manage, direct and implement a business development, marketing and sales program that can deliver a continuous influx of great customers who offer you consistent, high-margin and negotiated work.     

Note that this role is not to handle all of the marketing activities. It is to develop a marketing program, delegate its implementation to an employee, and allow you to focus on the sales activities you
must perform.

You must commit to seeking out and meeting with potential customers every day. You must also commit to delegating most other construction operation activities and project management duties (that are not your top priority) to another responsible manager or employee.

Find Your Focus


As a business owner, your highest goals likely include continual growth, increased volume, more equity, exceptional project results and long-term investments. When you are too busy handling low-priority and/or urgent activities instead of focusing on the top one or two roles that deliver the highest returns for your company, your business will never grow beyond mediocre and will continue to produce below-average results.

When you refuse to let go of control and insist on handling responsibilities that shouldn’t belong to you, you will never find your focus. Make a decision to let go of, delegate and hold people accountable for the tasks you shouldn’t be doing. Then, your company can finally move toward the next level of success.

Owners often carry the responsibility for a variety of functions that are crucial to the overall success of the company. Every one of your roles has its merits and value. But every single role in you company requires assignment and accountability.

By asking yourself, “What is the No. 1 duty out of my top three MDRs that will best serve my company at this time?,” you can keep yourself and your team hyperfocused on true priorities and headed in the direction of growth and success. CBO