How do you view the world? How do you view the people you work with each day? Do you believe people are in control of their own destinies? Are people good or bad? Can you trust your customers and employees? People are in my opinion the biggest variable we deal with each day. For some of us, it's impossible to trust because of our worldview.

Many of us are stuck and we don't know we're stuck. We don't know why we treat people the way we do and we don't know why we react the way we do. Many of us spin our wheels each day, trying to get out of the rut we're in but we can't seem to do it.

The only way for us to have lasting change is for our worldview to change. Focusing on our behaviors and skills doesn't generate lasting change. If we change our view of the world we can truly change. A leader's worldview will greatly impact and influence the people he leads. It's a leaders responsibility to influence the worldview of others if the leader wants the best for that person. Leaders have clarity of worldview. When interviewing a potential employee, the most important thing to understand is that person's worldview, because every person operates from his point of view on the world.

If you're interviewing someone for a project manager position, you may want to ask him questions that will reveal his view of field superintendents or foremen, because a project manager usually works closely with these people. It's dangerous to hire people in leadership positions without first knowing to a large degree what that persons worldview is. A leader can have a good or bad worldview. A leader's good or bad worldview will infect the people he leads.

Can we change on our own? I don't think so. Can we be influenced to change? Yes, I believe people can be influenced to change for the better or worse. It depends so much on the leader who is doing the influencing. Hiring people for leadership positions is so much more important than one might think.

Charting the course

I believe great leaders chart the course. They keep people going in the right direction. They have such clarity that they are able to keep the big picture in focus no matter how blurry the big picture can get at times. Great leaders have the ability to take the least important activity a follower may be doing and connect it with the big picture or the goal and they somehow are able to communicate how valuable that least important activity is to the person doing it.

We've all modified subcontracts. Sometimes, I will spend hours making changes to a subcontract and when I get done, I ask our secretary to duplicate my changes to the other originals. This is no doubt very boring for the secretary-however, it is vital to the success of the job. The changes must be exactly perfect and if a change is missed it could cost us a lot of money.

Many of us value big ideas more than we value strategic planning. Big ideas are great if they are strategically planned for. Strategic thinking is much more than generating great ideas. Strategic thinking involves seeing how things are connected as well as identifying the consequences of our actions or plans. Everyone is looking for a quick fix to a problem or a big idea on how to boost profits.

If we think more strategically, we will look at new ideas carefully before implementing the idea. If we think more strategically, we will keep the main thing the main thing and will be less likely to be distracted from our goal.


If we want a successful project outcome, we have to align our resources. We know we must provide our people with obvious resources such as material and equipment to get the project done. We think we know all the resources required to achieve success, however we often lose sight of the fact that sometimes we have to remove organizational and sometimes personal obstacles to achieve success. Personalities can be an obstacle for success. Misaligned compensation or systems can be obstacles. A leader's worldview can be an obstacle.

Creating ownership of the project and goal is one of the most difficult things a leader is faced with. If a leader is thinking clearly, he will recognize the fact that they cannot be successful on their own. Leaders cannot bid the job, manage the job, hang the board, tape the board and clean up the job on their own. Leaders must align their resources and allow other leaders to lead and own the project. Everyone on the job must own the project in order for it to be successful.

There is a huge difference between motivation, inspiration and manipulation. Manipulation through various methods seems to be the standard this day and age. Manipulating people does not develop trust but destroys it. People know when they are being manipulated and if they don't know at the time, they will eventually find out. In the end, a leader's credibility is ruined because he has relied on manipulation rather than trust to develop a relationship.

I believe the key ingredients to motivate and inspire is to be motivated and inspired. As well, I believe encouragement, support and understanding is key. As I get older, I believe it's impossible to motivate and inspire unless we take the focus off of ourselves and put our focus on others. In other words, it shouldn't be about No. 1. We must move from "me" to "we" at the minimum.

Focus on others

Have you ever had a teacher or coach who really cared about you? I was fortunate to have both. I've had people in my life who have really cared and invested in me, in terms of their time and kind words. I don't know why they did, other than they must not have been dwelling on themselves. I do think humility is a key leadership quality. Humility is not thinking less of oneself, it is thinking of oneself less.

Leaders who are focused on the success of their team and their organization overall and less on their personal success will find that personal success is a byproduct of their teams' success.

We have to understand that caring about the people we lead can become a technique, which is simply another way to manipulate people.

What does all this worldview, touchy-feely stuff have to do with running a construction company? Directly, it has nothing to do with running a construction business. However, your worldview determines whom you are. A leaders worldview affects everyone. Think of it this way: A leader with a negative worldview is like bad cholesterol-it plugs things up. Consider GCs and their associations who spend millions of dollars developing subcontracts that pass most of the risk to subcontractors-what's their worldview and cholesterol level look like?

Remember: Teamwork begins with a fair contract. W&C