On Your TOES or
on Your HEELS?
technologies in every stage. In pre-construction and estimating, Technology Thought Leaders are in their third generation BIM strategy.
Senior pre-construction executives and PMs are encouraged
to experiment with new technologies in the field and office;
some teach and others publish. They can apply original ideas
across different market segments, building types, and project delivery methods.
Niche Relationship Managers
Niche Relationship Managers zig while the rest of the market zags. They focus on one major industry sector, building
type, or project delivery method. For example, a Niche
Relationship Manager may only deliver health care projects,
which provides a keen sense of what is happening in the
health care industry, how to win work by selling benefits
(not features), and how to become visible in that industry
sector. These managers are the experts.
In the face of construction industry commoditization, they
continue to win work at healthy gross margins. They don’t
want to meet clients’ expectations; they want to change
them. They frequently team up with a network of other firms
or associates to provide a full range of services for a given
Local Leaders aim for a leadership role in their geographic
areas. They establish and build deep networks in the communities in which they operate professionally, socially, and
politically. Local Leaders seek the premier local project
work, regardless of industry segment, project type, project
delivery method, or size.
They tend to perform more service work than their peers.
Their employees are expected to become well connected
locally and are involved in virtually every community organization, viewing these as opportunities to make a difference
in their hometown. They excel at preempting out-of-town
competitors. They tend to do more self-performance than
their peers. Their top leaders know their local, county, state,
and federal legislators (and their local business leaders) on
a first-name basis.
Consultant brokers usually have their roots in real estate
ownership or property management. They focus on man-
aging large, complex projects, including PPPs, Integrated
Project Delivery, and other supply chain innovations in the
Skilled at joint ventures, partnering, and alliances, Consultant
Brokers do not view this “broker” title negatively. They have
the financial, legal, and negotiating prowess to control their
own volume and deliver projects with great speed, coordination, and risk management.
Because they know their role is overall project leadership,
they push risk downstream to others. Self-performance does
not interest Consultant Brokers. Their loyalty is to their clients, not contractors. Many are international in scope.
Bare-Knuckle Fighters are operation-driven. With a strong
history of field leadership and a management team that came
up through the field, they define themselves as contractors
and are continually on the lookout for more self-performance. They do not perform a lot of service work, unless it
leads to an opportunity to do more construction work. They
are comfortable serving any customer, so long as they get
the opportunity to build the project themselves.
In this economy, they bid aggressively and make up the potential losses on change orders through aggressively managing
subcontractors and suppliers. Lean construction is very interesting to some Bare-Knuckle Fighters. Many were performing
hard-money projects before the economy slowed, so they
have adjusted to the current times quite well.
Bare-Knuckle Fighters plan to weather the economic storm
with razor-sharp estimating, solid project management, and
great attention to detail.
Green Builders have been focused on sustainability for many
years. Now that “green” is mainstream, professionals in these
companies are poised to not only build green, but to do so
at lower initial and operating costs to the owners. LEED APs
dominate decision-making in these firms.
In this economy, Green Builders deliver projects on time,
on target, on budget, and show that “green” does not mean
more expensive. Green Builders have a well-established culture of efficiency that resonates in this economy, especially
in targeted (and relatively healthy) construction markets
(such as education, health care, corporate campuses, etc.).
Some Green Builders have successfully delivered alternative
energy projects (e.g., wind farm projects).