As the second-generation owner of a commercial construction company near Washington, D.C., I have explored the driving force behind my work. I prayed for a vision and landed on this: Use your influence to create environments where people can experience abundant life.
Since that time, I have been working toward creating a place where our people can work in an environment that resembles what God intended.
We are not a Christian company, but I do pray that God’s “kingdom will come on earth as in heaven” in our organization. As a construction guy, I am pretty practical, and I live with the end in mind. The Bible says that in the end all things will be perfect and as they were intended.
I believe that abundant life means that we are growing and becoming who we are created to be. So what does that mean for a construction company? We boil it down to three commitments:
1. Employee development.
2. Repeat relationships.
3. Operational excellence.
These three commitments lead to both our individual and our corporate growth.
Frankly, 90 percent of our employees don’t know the spiritual “why?” behind our commitments. What they do know is that doing business with these at our core is satisfying.
• Employee development
Practically speaking, we have about 90 employees who are developing professionally, educationally, relationally and spiritually if they choose. We have annual learning goals for each employee to help them develop. We believe that everyone should be working, growing, becoming — moving toward his or her potential. Each supervisor is responsible for the growth of his employees. Success is measured by team development and team member growth.
• Repeat relationships
Our core value of commitment to relationships is based on the belief that good relationships are important. If we are going to be with each other forever, then how we deal with others takes on a different perspective today. Our customers, architects, engineers, subcontractors, co-workers — all are important and all these relationships should be nourished. We don’t get to burn bridges. Relationships are hard. Construction is especially messy and full of conflict, but if we can work to enhance our relationships, then we are working to bring the “kingdom” to earth. We are absolutely not perfect, but we are trying.
• Operational excellence
Operational excellence is the third commitment that we pursue. Of course, we want to be excellent. We want to be the best. We want to reach our potential as builders, estimators, accountants, project managers, carpenters and laborers. Becoming excellent, mastering what we have learned, and reaching our potential is honoring to God. For the most part, our people are not considering God when working toward excellence, but I think God made excellence something that we naturally want to achieve, no matter our beliefs. Being excellent is what God intended for us.
How do we do all of this?
We measure employee development, we measure repeat-customer and architect relationships, and we measure our excellence by profits, quality and project schedules. We promote our people based on these measurements.
Again, our employees are not all in sync with me regarding the “why” behind our commitments. However, for those that are interested in pursuing spiritual things, we have a corporate chaplain who holds monthly Bible studies, leads a weekly prayer time and provides mentoring.
What is the abundant life for our people? Growing, having great relationships, being excellent and becoming who they are created to be.
• John Scott is president and CEO of Scott-Long Construction, Inc., a general contracting firm in the Washington, D.C., area. The firm specializes in building “projects that make a positive impact on the community,” including health care, senior living, and faith-based and other community projects. John lives in Virginia with his wife and three children.
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