The People-Profit Connection 4rd Edition

by | Aug 16, 2023 | Author | 0 comments

Many of today’s companies are struggling with the people stuff. It’s our people that make our businesses work.  And usually, it’s the human dimension that can make or break companies.  It informs culture and is a great indicator of the health of your company. This is especially true of service industries where employees are technically educated or trained, such as engineering, healthcare, legal, information technology, telecommunications manufacturing, energy, finance, and accounting. Although this book is written for the AEC (Architecture, Engineering, Construction) Industry, it is applicable to almost all industries.

They all have similar problems that relate directly to their collaborative, service-oriented nature and the employees’ need to deal with people effectively. By addressing these people issues, projects can be more successful and satisfying, and organizations can be transformed, become less problematic, and add more to their bottom-line results. 

Imagine for a moment, a brilliant future for your industry, where highly respected managers balance their toughness, assertiveness, and independence with highly effective interpersonal skills. Imagine an industry that is completely service-oriented and customer focused, with zero defects and total customer satisfaction for all project stakeholders. Imagine an industry where there is trust, communication, and teamwork among everyone working in the industry.

Imagine an industry where all projects are completed ahead of schedule and well within the budget, where collaborative project delivery is the norm, where employees are respected and encouraged to thrive, where productivity skyrockets, and profit margins increase dramatically. Imagine an industry where a sustainable approach is just the way we do business, where the industry’s processes not only do no harm, but also contribute to a healthier planet.

Consider the power of communication and teamwork so widespread that project teams love to come to work each morning, where relationships are so strong and concern for others is so pervasive that people look out for each other and working safely is as natural as breathing. Imagine a diverse workplace that draws millions of young men, women, and minorities because they want to be a part of this wonderful industry.

Imagine an industry where people reach their maximum level of performance mentally, spiritually, physically and emotionally, thrive during their career and retire full of health and vigor. Imagine an industry where we all work together to build something, to create something from nothing. That is the industry I want to be a part of, that is waiting to be.

But the big question is, “Why isn’t the industry like that now?” It’s a very good question. One that deserves an answer. In fact, that is the purpose of this book – to determine how the industry can transform itself into the one I have just described. There are many seemingly unsolvable problems that prevent us from having such an industry. I’m sure you are thinking of those problems right now. The first step toward solving these complex issues is to find their root causes. Once we do that, we can begin to find solutions.  And by all accounts, the root cause of these problems are the people themselves.  And emotional intelligence is foundational to solving these problems. 

Many industries are at a crossroads. It is truly the best of times and the worst of times. Although we are gravitating more collaborative project delivery methods and many exciting technological advances and new methods, we need help with issues such as workforce development, diversity and inclusion, lack of innovation, safety issues, and high stress and burnout. 

The people side of the business is usually not our best thing. Our industry image is poor, and our margins are slim. So what can we do about these dire issues? This book has some answers. By focusing on the typical emotional profiles of the mostly technical folks that represent these industries, we explore ways to address these issues by focusing on our people. There are practical solutions and readily implementable initiatives that will help solve these problems. In addition, there are evaluations and simple methods that are easy to follow that will allow your company to overcome these issues and thrive in this new, people oriented marketplace.

I have asked successful construction people about these problems and have heard many different responses, but the common denominator seems to be related to difficulties with people. One person joked, “If it  weren’t  for  the  people, this  would  be  a  fun business.” When construction professionals were asked where they spend the majority of their time, they replied, “Dealing with people problems.” Ask yourself this question: Are most of your problems process-oriented or people-oriented? The answer is obvious. We all know that this is a difficult industry, an industry made more complicated by the myriad of problems associated with this human dimension, which probably goes back to the building of the pyramids.

The dilemma is that no one has come up with an effective way to solve these people problems, until now. This book explores the most difficult AEC industry problems, provides some insight into their root causes, and shows how to go about solving them. And when your company solves these problems, your bottom line will dramatically increase. In order to address people issues, it is logical that we examine the people. That is where emotional intelligence comes in.

What is emotional intelligence? One simple definition is “social competence”. A more in-depth definition is understanding and managing your emotions, and understanding and managing the emotions of others for the best outcomes. Sometimes that means being assertive and sometimes that means being empathetic. True emotional intelligence is knowing when to do which thing to which person at which time. The old Alabama football coach, Bear Bryant said it best: “Some kids need a pat on the back. Some kids need a kick in the butt.”

By cultivating this high level of personal mastery, we are able to deal more effectively with others. This can be a difficult but worthwhile process. As Lao Tzu said, “Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself makes you fearless.” Using emotional intelligence as a foundation, you can measure and improve people skills and solve people-related problems. Teaching people skills to contractors and

engineers using emotional intelligence is something that I am passionate about, and we have been doing that since 2000. During our programs, there is also focus on mental and physical peak performance, which affects everything we do.

At the beginning of this journey, when I told my wife I was going to teach emotional intelligence to architects, engineers, and contractors, she said I was crazy. How in the world could I teach these tough construction managers about emotional intelligence? even I had my doubts. How would they react to learning about their own emotions and the emotions of others? The initial reactions, which are now predictable, were apprehension, skepticism, and resistance. They were also skeptical about how their physical well- being related to their success.

But once these initial reactions were overcome, and participants realized that emotional intelligence and their physical well-being and performance was something that could be quite important for their career development and personal lives, virtually all of them embraced the concepts. And once they embraced the concepts and worked on their emotional intelligence and peak mental and physical performance, the results were nothing short of remarkable.

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