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Construction Genius

Aug 13, 2019

What does the NFL and the Construction Industry share in common?

The NFL is an ultra-competitive, sophisticated, high-pressure team orientated environment. So is Construction.

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In an April 2017 article published in the Ringer, Michael Lombardi (a former NFL General Manager) detailed what NFL teams look for when drafting a quarterback out of college. He describes seven quarterbacks which define successful quarterbacks:

  1. A Winner
  2. Emotionally Tough
  3. A Grinder
  4. A Learner
  5. A Lifer
  6. Charismatic
  7. Lovable

In this episode of Construction Genius, I apply the qualities to the construction environment. Adapt them to your company and use them when you are hiring or promoting young people into leadership roles.


During the Great Recession, from April 2006 to January 2011, nearly 2.3 million construction jobs were wiped out.

One of the long-term consequences of the downturn includes a void created in field and office leadership. Today, Emerging Leaders are about ten years younger than leaders typically are when they take on senior leadership roles and responsibilities. So it's essential that you are selective when you're bringing people into those roles.


Every great football franchise has a high impact head coach.

Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots today, and Bill Walsh of the San Francisco Forty-Niners in the 1980s are two that spring to mind.  

If you lead a construction company or a construction division or a department, think of yourself as the head coach, and when you promote into young people into leadership roles, you need to provide them with coaching.


Here's a simple process you can use:

  • Help them to understand themselves by taking a quality assessment (I use the ProfileXT with my clients).
  • Use a 360 to help them to see how others perceive them. An easy way to do this is to have an outside party contact their peers, direct reports, boss, and even people outside of the organization and ask three questions:
    1. What are the things that the emerging leader does best? 
    2. What is one thing that the emerging leader can do better?
    3. What other advice do you have to help the emerging leader be more successful and perform better?
  • Provide them a tool to help them describe how they're going to thrive in their leadership role. Have them sit down with pen to paper and jot down what they need to accomplish to succeed
  • Meet with them regularly one-on-one to discuss their wins, challenges, and action items, so they make consistent progress


You're responsible for developing and retaining the talent that drives your financial results.

You don't always have the bandwidth to coach each emerging leader individually. It may benefit you at times to get outside help. If you decide to bring in an external coach, make sure that they check these three boxes:

  1. They have to have deep experience working with construction companies and understand the game of construction.
  2. They fit with the values and the culture of your organization.
  3. They're a personal fit with the Emerging Leader.


This episode is brought to you by the Construction Leaders Dashboard

The Construction Leaders Dashboard is one of the simplest and yet most powerful tools for leaders in construction companies of all sizes that can be used to clarify what you need to focus on to be a highly successful leader. It includes Vision, Mission, Values, Edge, Initiatives, Metrics, Key Relationships, and Development Opportunities.


To get your copy of the dashboard, click