Articles on consulting
Posted on March 8, 2017 by FMI CorporationThey say that construction and engineering are male-dominated fields, but is that really the whole story? To answer that question, we believe that leaders must look well beyond counts of employees from different demographic groups and gain holistic views of their organizations. For example, diversity metrics include measures that capture the characteristics of the workforce (e.g., the percentage of the workforce that is female). And while race and gender are the two demographic characteristics most focused on in the workplace, diversity is defined as the differences and similarities that include, for example, individual and organizational characteristics, values, beliefs, experiences and backgrounds. Put simply, not all demographic characteristics are federally-protected classes, but states, municipalities and organizations may choose to protect a broader set of demographics.
This post was posted in Consulting, Center for Strategic Leadership and was tagged with engineering blog, construction blog, women in construction, diversity construction, inclusion construction, international women's day, women construction, women engineering
Posted on February 14, 2017 by FMI CorporationAny principal of a construction firm will tell you that cash is king. There is little room for error when it comes to feeding the cash cycle. Why not apply the same focus and fervor to collecting the monies that are owed to your company as you do to installing the building components for which you bill? Often, too much of the responsibility for collecting receivables is shifted to the accounting department. When accounting investigates the nature of an account and the reason for delinquency, it is often determined that the client has withheld payment because it has yet to receive consideration for payment as outlined in the contract. Examples range from a significant deviation from the schedule of values to failing to deliver as-built drawings.
This post was posted in Consulting and was tagged with construction industry, Construction cash flow, Cash flow management, Relationship building, construction firm blog, collections construction, construction best practices
Posted on November 1, 2016 by FMI CorporationWhile there are no cookie-cutter solutions for ownership transfer, there are some viable strategies to consider when it’s time to successfully hand over your company’s ownership to the next generation. As baby boomers move into retirement and millennials continue to make their way into the workforce, the issue of ownership has become acute among many of the nation’s engineering and construction firms. If owners cannot find the talent to manage their firms following their (eventual) retirement, they will lose the ability to dictate how ownership will be transitioned. With these dynamics in play, it is increasingly important for owners to start planning early and focus on the long-term development of the next generation of leaders.
This post was posted in Consulting, Investment Banking, Center for Strategic Leadership and was tagged with Ownership Transfer, Succession planning, construction, NRCI 2014 Q2, construction ownership transfer, construction succession management, fmi icons, fmi industry icons
Posted on October 26, 2016 by FMI CorporationIn their book “Execution, the Discipline of Getting Things Done,” authors Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan focus on a single element of successful companies that is so often overlooked: the ability to execute. And while some engineering and construction companies would say execution is their core strength, others would argue that many of them fail to do this well. To borrow from the book, execution is the main reason companies fall short on their promises. It is the gap between what a company’s leaders want to achieve and the ability of their organizations to deliver it. The superlative companies in our industry have linked together three key components—the people, strategy and operating plans—that provide the details of execution. Many company CEOs would like to “think strategically” and let other managers do the dirty work of executing the plans. More often than not, however, the best performing companies are those where the CEO takes a passionate role in execution. To achieve the latter, here are the seven behaviors that matter as you learn to lead others to create a culture of execution:
This post was posted in Consulting, Center for Strategic Leadership and was tagged with executing strategy, FMI's Mergers & Acquisitions Advisor 2014 Q1, construction, NRCI 2014 Q2, business execution, execution in construction, execution in engineering, execution business
Posted on October 10, 2016 by FMI CorporationIn today’s team-based, fast-paced work environments, the ability to communicate effectively over several channels and provide ongoing feedback is key to success. Feedback makes you aware of how you are doing and what you can do to develop and improve. It builds trust in your relationships. The topic of feedback is hot in today’s marketplace. Employees are eager to know what is expected of them, how they are doing, and what they need to do to receive greater responsibilities and rewards. Employers are also eager to implement feedback tools and systems so that they can determine how they are doing in the eyes of their customers and employees. Best-of-class organizations also use feedback to help identify areas of success and developmental opportunities for their upcoming leaders. Here are five reasons why:
This post was posted in Consulting, Center for Strategic Leadership, Talent Development and was tagged with leadership, construction industry blog, team building, oil and gas market strategy, engineering blog, construction blog, agile leadership, feedback in workplace, feedback construction, feedback team development', 360-degree feedback, feedback leadership, team development, construction and engineering
Posted on September 2, 2016 by FMI CorporationIs it easy in your market to recruit and retain top estimators, project managers and superintendents? Have you been surprised by the recent turnover of a high-potential employee? If you’re dealing with these and other talent issues, it’s time to get your compensation and performance management systems in line with the new normal of higher competition for talent, worries about retention and experienced managers aging-out of the workforce. Here are five ways to get your compensation systems in order: 1) Establish a compensation philosophy and share it with your company. A compensation philosophy is the mix of base salary and bonus that a company offers versus what is available for a given title in the labor market. Many companies in the construction industry have never formally articulated a compensation philosophy, but even if they have not stated one, there is a “phantom” compensation philosophy that exists based on their historic practices. The trouble comes when actual practices do not match up with the company’s self-image, or when the company leadership believes they are following one philosophy, while the rank and file believes something much different. If you do not benchmark this and really know (rather than guess) what your compensation package looks like relative to your competitors’ packages, then your compensation philosophy will always be a guess and subject to drift.
Posted on July 20, 2016 by FMI CorporationWhen done well, assembling a peak-performing board pays off in dividends for engineering and construction firms. Companies throughout the engineering and construction industry are seeking innovative solutions to the myriad challenges they face in today’s competitive business environment. Leaders are confronted with talent pressures, changing technologies, increased competition, demographic shifts, economic uncertainty and various other seemingly random obstacles on a daily basis. To find solutions, leaders are considering a long list of options, including re-examining the way they recruit, onboard, train and develop their people; hiring talent with unique skill sets; re-examining their business models; forming new partnerships; joining peer groups; and finding ways to cut costs and increase productivity. Through it all, one powerful asset is often overlooked or not fully utilized: the board of directors (even more specifically, the use of independent outside directors as members of those boards).
This post was posted in Consulting, Center for Strategic Leadership and was tagged with construction industry blog, NRCI 2014 Q2, engineering blog, construction blog, peak performing board, board of directors construction, construction firm blog
Posted on July 14, 2016 by FMI CorporationBy Bob Uhler, The Uhler Group As the leader of an enterprise, your principal job is to assemble a team of synergetic executives who blend in a way that most effectively meets your organization’s short- and long-term goals. Not everyone should play the same role, for example, since assignments demand different leadership skills and responsibilities. Asked to reveal his organizational management philosophy, ex-New York Yankee manager Casey Stengel once said, “Keep the five guys who hate you away from the five guys who have not made up their minds.” This reply—while probably tongue-in-cheek—would probably still hold true today, particularly within larger organizations where the executive management players fall into three different categories. They are:
This post was posted in Consulting, Center for Strategic Leadership, Talent Development and was tagged with NRCI 2014 Q2, construction management, construction leader, construction leadership, leadership style, management style
Posted on July 13, 2016 by FMI CorporationFor many firms, financial regulators, and homeowners, the most recent housing bubble and subsequent Great Recession blindsided their confidence, cutting short an era of unprecedented growth and good fortune. But some people were prepared. Some even sounded the alarm. How was it they saw the downturn coming? Knowing what is going to happen is quite different than preparing for an eventuality. In a new era underpinned by sustained economic uncertainty, business leaders are learning to insure themselves against unpredictable futures. Keeping an eye on movements and events—both within the industry and beyond its bounds—can lessen the surprise factor. Put simply, leaders need to be a few steps ahead of the game. By looking at a range of possible outcomes and scenarios, and by developing a strategic response for each, companies can reduce the shock of industry shifts and minimize crisis-mode decision-making.
Posted on June 9, 2016 by FMI CorporationToday’s new technologies allow industry professionals to link up and share project knowledge across integrated teams, 24/7, across the globe. When the Internet was introduced in the early 1990s, no one really knew that complete industries, cultures, governments and businesses would be transformed by this innovative platform for sharing information, learning and transacting. Nevertheless, what started out as a novelty of sorts has since grown into a 3 billion-strong web that’s accessible via the desktop computer to the 5-ounce mobile phone — and everything in between. Technological advancements are also reshaping the engineering and construction (E&C) space, where the evolution of design and construction functions has taken a leap forward with the transition from electronic drafting to high-resolution digital modeling (also known as Building Information Modeling or “BIM”). Thanks to ubiquitous digital connectivity, cloud computing, and big data, the E&C industry is undergoing a historic melding of engineering, architecture, fabrication, construction, and other related disciplines, undoing 100 years of expansive industry fragmentation.
This post was posted in Consulting, Research, Technology and was tagged with construction industry blog, construction industry, NRCI 2014 Q2, engineering industry, engineering blog, construction technology