Precious Time, Squandered Moments

By Noelle Tarabulski, CEO, Builder Consulting Group


By my count, there are over 150 ways to improve a home builder’s profit. This is just one.


Precious Time, Squandered Moments
Summary:  As a builder or business manager I know I will be more effective if I have, plan and run better meetings because effective meetings move the company forward faster, in an aligned way , with less disruption to the goals.  Time is precious, do not squander the power to influence a group of people quickly in your organization IN PERSON. Email, voicemail are not as POWERFUL as in person meetings.

Working with many clients throughout the years, group meetings are viewed in many ways as a waste of time or a place for disruption and distraction. It is clear that the basis for this reasoning is that an amazing amount of business people do not know how to run effective meetings, thus they feel meetings are a waste of time!

In reality, well planned, consistent meetings with agendas and minutes are a way to get a team quickly and consistently aligned, and build team POWER. This is one of many experiences on this topic....

After my normal site assessment visit and upon arrival at a new client in the great state of Nebraska, Rowdy the President and I outlined the visit. He was in his forties, had three kids, ages 6 to 10 and did not have a minute to spare in his life with all his responsibilities. Scruffy red hair, 5 ' 10" and an athletic build, he was fit. He played 3 sports in high school and started to frame houses right out of high school, his grit and hard work got him to the moment in time that we met each other at a conference in Texas.

I said' "Let's outline my visit so we can get great results,  also, what meetings do you have with the team each week? I do not want to interrupt your mojo (organizational flow)  and timing of meetings. "

"We do not have STUPID MEETINGS, what a waste of time, everyone has their opinion, one hour turns into two and we don't get the stuff done I called the damn meeting for!!"  Rowdy commented with some clear frustration.  " I am so miserable right now, I work so hard, worry so much, I feel like I am a failure, but I look like I am a success, my time is so precious, and I have so little free time, I am starting to tire of my role.  It seems like I should be most happy, but I am not."

"OK, ok, I get it. Believe it or not, you are not alone. Let's start with some simple ideas on how to have GREAT MEETING, your people leave with good energy and you align the team, and start to get better RESULTS immediately!"

"Seriously, I do NOT think it can be done, you have no idea of the team I am dealing with and their inability to focus on the topics I need addressed. I just end up doing the best I can with my decisions because it is faster and I cannot take the waste of my time. "

"OMG Rowdy, we have some work to do. Ok, can you just let me set meetings and run them, then you watch how we lead and operate the meeting, in time you take the lead, ok? "

"Sure, thank the Lord you are here, running a company with 35 people and building 350 homes a year is exhausting to me. I almost wish I was NOT so successful!!"
"Ok, you want to snowmobile, go hunting and enjoy more time with your wife and kids right? " 

"Yes, what a far off dream for me right now, my company is RUNNING ME!"

"One more thing, as the fearless leader, are you willing to accept, that part of this issue stems from your approach to your role as the leader of this company?"   "Yes, I am a take responsibility for my actions person, always have been.  I think the PROBLEM IS, I really don't know what my actions should be."

"Rowdy you are awesome at finding land, finding money, and building houses, you ROCK IT, the reason I am of value to you and I am glad you figured out you needed a business coach, is that I think you are not quite sure how to do various management tasks well.  Sometimes people actually lack the confidence and courage to kick some butt when they need to really lead, this is more common than you realize. The good news, we can get on track reasonably quickly."

Rowdy and I put our heads together and started with a simple goal, all supers would come in for a company meeting with the VP of Ops to the Office late on Tuesdays at 2:30 PM. I would lead the meeting with Rowdy, the VP of OPS and we would set up the agenda, take notes and make people accountable.

We made it a standing weekly meeting.  It works wonderfully.

Second we set up a staff meeting for the internal operations team and accounting, I would lead and he would work with me. We then outlined the meetings the best companies have each week, biweekly, each month, we outlined agendas of the typical best meeting practices.  It was work and continues to be as always, but the team  is happier, some team members quit  because they did not like meetings (hint: very bad team players - don't let the door hit ya!)

"Noelle, I am so thankful you made me realize what a great group of folks I have -  they  really care and want this company to do well.  We were working hard in our own silos, not helping each other, not collaborating on real problems. It is so much more fun to be working like we are now. Plus my wife is happy because we are taking the kids to Disney World and she knows I am confident this team is on their game, I can relax and enjoy the precious time."

The morale of the story is this, time is precious, do not squander the power you have as a leader to bring your team together to have effective meetings. If you need assistance, you know where to find me. That is my story and I am sticking to it. My faithful readers - FYI - sorry for the missed weeks, I was camping in the middle of NO WHERE!! :)

For you music lovers a little Van Morrison to rock the idea home.....

Home builders and developers are the backbone of this country. They work hard, take risks, and create more wealth for society than any other sector of the economy. If you are a home builder and concerned about your results - you can do better! If you want to find out more, call me at 303.525.4944 or email me at and LinkedIn is a great place to find out more about my credentials, background, and references.

My first three questions when you call are usually:

1) How many units do you sell per year?

2) What is your average sale price range?

3) What is your projected net income for the current year?

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