We started with two groups. Managers and PMs were in one
group, and superintendents were in the other. Each group met
once a year locally to share ideas, procedures, and challenges.
We also used this time to conduct leadership training.
Sometimes instruction was internal and sometimes we
brought in external experts. While this was a great start, we
knew we needed more consistency communicating company
objectives, ethics, and expectations. Many of our foremen
never had any formal leadership training.
So, for the past few years, we’ve had one annual meeting that
includes every employee in a leadership position. Managers,
PMs, superintendents, foremen, and anyone who supervises
another employee is invited; about 175 people attend annually. To remove distractions, we hold the three-day meeting
in Denver, CO.
Each year we decide which company goals are our top priorities. We bring in a speaker to communicate those goals and
to motivate and train our leaders.
A very popular component is the breakout sessions. All PMs
and superintendents meet in groups, as do paving foremen,
project superintendents, traffic control supervisors, and so on.
There are usually 10-12 breakout groups that are conducted
by a facilitator in a roundtable format to address issues specific to their positions. We have also conducted breakout
sessions by division. It’s an opportunity for division leaders
to communicate outside of their daily busy environments and
set goals for the coming year. We ensure training is interactive
and effective. There is also time for relationship building with
An important component of this concept is follow-up. It’s
essential to repeat and reinforce what was learned when we
return home to our busy routines. HR and risk management/
safety work with division managers to integrate learned
concepts into daily operations. Key learning points are communicated to all of our employees.
Our vision is for the entire company – from divisional and
departmental managers to field staff – to understand and
implement our goals and expectations. We want all employees
on the same ship, sailing in the same direction, and we work
on this all year.
We started with the goal of training effective leaders, but we’ve
unexpectedly achieved so much more. There is improved
communication among peer groups including:
• innovation, new lines of communication,
collaboration, and lasting relationships;
• our leaders are now united and understand
the company’s vision; and
• our leaders make better decisions and
communicate more effectively, resulting in
more engaged employees, improved quality,
and what we call safe production.
The bottom line: This leadership conference is absolutely
worth the investment.
1 Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America. Construction HR & Training Professionals Conference. meetings.agc.org/hrted.
2 Association for Talent Development (ATD). (Formerly known as the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD).)
3 Russell, Donald B., and Dunne, Dennis D. “How Healthy Is Your Company’s Leadership Development Culture?” CM e-Journal,
Construction Management Association of America (CMAA), 2004. cmaanet.org/files/leadership_russel.pdf.
4 Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). www.shrm.org.
5 The Conference Board Research Report on Managing Human Capital Risk: A Call for Partnership between Enterprise Risk
Management and Human Resources. www.conference-board.org/retrievefile.cfm?filename=Managing-Human-Capital-Risk.
pdf&type=subsite (account required).
Lakeside Industries’ 2015 Annual