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Turning Your Project Managers into Business Managers

Although project managers are in control of contracts and projects worth upwards of $10 million in revenue, they don’t think of themselves as business managers. Project managers often see themselves as “middle management,” always keeping the workers and projects moving, yet leaving business up to the executives in the company. FMI Corporation is one company that promotes that idea that there are clever and intelligent project managers that are indeed business managers without the title. These type of project managers are a necessary component to a successful business. If your company is lacking this type of leadership, consider applying the following four things.

Company Vision

Do the project managers in your company grasp the importance of their job in reaching your goals as a whole? FMI Corporation uses the idiom, “see the forest for the trees.” Project managers tend to see the day to day work and hone in on the project, however they need to see how the project is part of the whole company vision. If your project managers thought they were part of something much bigger than just each job, say a ten year vision for instance, they would approach their position in a whole different way. It might change the way they deal with customers. It might create opportunities for mentoring assistant project managers. It might help them see their worth in the company and help retain them. By sharing your vision for the company with your project managers you are essentially asking them to help you be successful.

Definitive Expectations 

Do your project managers truly know what you expect from them? It might seem like a no-brainer, but often times a clear explanation of what you, as a company, expect from your project manager is never really mapped out. Project managers are responsible for many aspects of a job, none so important as the value they are delivering to your customer and the financial gain they are delivering to your company. Gross margin and cash flow are two of the best indicators for viewing the performance of each individual job. Project managers should not only strive to make the customer happy during the job, but afterwards as well. The construction industry relies heavily on repeat business.

Information Communication

If you do not share information with your project managers, they can’t possibly know what your visions are. Project managers should be included in meetings regarding finances on a job – daily, monthly and weekly. Often times company owners don’t want to share “the numbers” with project managers. But by withholding this vital information, your project management team may not be on the same page as you. Project managers should be required to review each job’s financials and there should be some sort of accountability program to ensure the most profit gain from each job. Who is your project manager reporting to? How often? If project managers are required to report to someone on a regular basis, they will view their job differently and feel they are more important to the company.

Leadership

Are you leading your project managers? do you strive to motivate and inspire them? Great companies have one thing in common – inspirational leadership. A great leader can motivate projects managers, who often feel like the outsider in the company. They are on the job site – away from the company for long periods of time, and may need morale boosting. Project managers should receive consistent encouragement, mentoring and leadership. Company owners should visit job sites regularly in order to reinforce the connection between the project manager and the company’s vision. A company owner can’t just sit back and expect great things from their project managers, the owner needs to inspire them to do those great things.

Building a strong project management team will ensure success in what has become a fiercely competitive market.

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