A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

The following article originally appeared in the October newsletter to clients of Kiley Advisors, LLC.  Reprinted with permission.Recently, Larry Brookshire, the former owner and leader of Fisk, the large electrical contractor, offered some deeply insightful comments, to a group of both general and specialty contractors. Many in the Houston Commercial Construction Community know Larry. He is respected as one the most successful leaders, by all standards used to judge business executives. And, he is very deserving; his is an “up from bootstraps” story. Raised by a single mom, he put himself through the University of Texas to get an Electrical Engineering Degree and then later though law school. Clients, employees, and peers all admire and celebrate his success.  
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October 19, 2016
Kiley calls on industry leaders to remember the historical essence of the building industry and work with the integrity of those who play the “gentlemen’s game” of golf.
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September 22, 2016
The following article originally appeared in the August newsletter to clients of Kiley Advisors, LLC.  Reprinted with permission.Andy Robertson died of a heart attack in his sleep on July, 8, 2016; he was 68 years old.  All of us who knew him share a tremendous sense of loss.  While we knew some things about Andy as the consummate construction man, we really never knew much about Andy the man; he was a quiet loner.Several knew that he had been a senior officer at HA Lott and later at Manhattan, and that he had been a founder of Farnsworth & Lott and Robertson Building Strategies.  People also knew he had been a director at Houston AGC.  Any person who ever interacted with him found him to be warm and wise.  He had few peers in the Business Development and Pre-Construction arena.  And, a few knew that he had served in Vietnam.It was only when his brother, Mark, stood before the podium at a memorial reception at the Houston AGC, with the symbolic folded American Flag resting upon it, that we learned the full measure of Andy the man.  That flag is given to families upon the death of a combat veteran, normally presented by an honor guard.  Mark, with pride and emotion, conveyed clearly that his older brother and our friend was a genuine war hero, who had served in the US Army during the worst of the Tet Offensive, one of the largest military campaigns of the Vietnam War.  
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August 10, 2016
As Kiley muses about the character of the two presumptive nominees in this year’s presidential election, he says proudly that “character still counts in the construction industry.”
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July 22, 2016
The following article originally appeared in the June newsletter to clients of Kiley Advisors, LLC.  Reprinted with permission.We continue discussing the importance of culture both in creating high-performance teams and in winning the war for talent.  The research seems so compelling that most true leaders believe it is THE fundamental for competitive success.  It even trumps strategy in the hierarchy of critical ingredients.Culture emanates from the beliefs and values of the founders, owners, and senior leaders and is reflected in the “way we do things here – what you can count on from us.”  It is the basis for policies and practices.  The role of the senior leadership team and all other managers is to define it, align the people to it, and above all demonstrate it.If leaders walk their talk consistently – writing an occasional check or eliminating a top economic performer who is a major culture killer – specific examples will become part of the “tribal stories” and will be passed along with pride from generation to generation.  I have personally seen this many times.  
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June 17, 2016
The following article originally appeared in the May newsletter to clients of Kiley Advisors, LLC.  Reprinted with permission.“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”That statement, attributed to the late Peter Drucker, Founding Dean of the Management Consulting Profession, is never truer than at this very time.  Only companies with strong, value-based, magnetic cultures will be the big winners in the business environment that is becoming more evident every day.  There is an intense war for talent, and there is a relentless march of technology.  Smart companies will have smart people empowered with smart technologies, working in teams, to achieve superior performance targets.So what are the elements of a culture, in light of both the present and the future market conditions, that are proven to attract, retain, develop and excel?  Valid research is now confirming the building blocks.  First, winning cultures are based on values that stem from deeply held core beliefs about the value of people, the treatments of clients and all building partners, and the obligation of the company to the industry and community.  
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May 16, 2016
The following article originally appeared in the April newsletter to clients of Kiley Advisors, LLC.  Reprinted with permission.The recent National AGC Annual Convention in San Antonio was both convenient and compelling.  It provided an ideal venue for gaining perspective; for learning; for reconnecting with many friends, and this particular year for celebrating the leadership of two fellow Houstonians.  Chuck Greco, Chairman of Linbeck, ended his highly productive year as President of National AGC, only the second Houstonian to hold that office.  (Warren Bellows did it in 1948.)  Then Jerry Nevlud, CEO of Houston AGC, passed the gavel to his successor at the Executive Leadership Council, the national group for Chief Staff Executives.  Peer respect for the job each had done was earned and evident.The new streamlined convention format places an emphasis on education and exhibits, as opposed to laborious committee meetings.  Because of this, younger people, still fully engaged in their businesses, are there.  These ascending leaders add both energy and future focus to topics and discussions.  
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April 22, 2016
The following article originally appeared in the March newsletter to clients of Kiley Advisors, LLC.  Reprinted with permission.He was 88 years old and had lived an accomplished life, a rich legacy of significant contributions to his family, his company, his industry, his church and to Houston.  Nonetheless, Jerry Nevluds’s thoughtful announcement of his death left so many with a profound sense of sadness and loss.Jack Marshall, the 2nd generation leader of Marshall Construction Company, was a Rice University Graduate and a World War II United States Navy Veteran.  He was also a past member of the Houston AGC Board of Directors, and up until 2015, a member of the chapter’s Labor Committee for over 50 years!    
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March 18, 2016
The following article originally appeared in the February newsletter to clients of Kiley Advisors, LLC.  Reprinted with permission.The increasing realization that talented people are truly the strategic separator for successful construction companies is significantly changing how HR initiatives are developed and executed.  The leadership of this activity has moved to the executive suite (the C-Suite in magazine jargon), because a growing amount of resources are being strategically deployed to ensure the company is a winner in the escalating “war for talent.”It has been interesting to watch the change in this function over the years, and the respect it has steadily gained.  It has moved from being the ancillary responsibility of the payroll clerk, who worried about paperwork, through the Personnel Manager phase, where the concerns were about process, to the Human Resource Director phase where policies became the concern.  
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February 15, 2016
The following article originally appeared in the January newsletter to clients of Kiley Advisors, LLC.  Reprinted with permission.The phrase “company culture” appears regularly in business literature.  Senior leaders regularly use it too, and acknowledge the importance of having a strong company culture.  But it is worthwhile, as this new and more challenging year begins, to examine the meaning of these words and the actions they mandate.Google the phrase and you will find many helpful definitions.  Synthesizing, they all contain statements that company cultures flow from the beliefs, values and attitudes of the owners and leaders that result in consistent behaviors toward each other and all company team members toward customers, toward businesses partners and toward their industry and community.  
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January 25, 2016