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In business, just like in sports, the strongest team wins. Most people in the concrete industry recognize this and would agree that "our people are our most important asset." The best, most modern equipment, trucks, anddispatching systems are all for naught if the right people are not in place to utilize them.

Greater demands continue to be placed on personnel due to growth, more complex business environments, and the need to transform companies to stay competitive. Additional skills and improved capabilities are needed to meet these higher expectations.

The Shockey Companies, based in Winchester, Va., enjoy an enviable reputation for providing high levels of service to customers. Through three operating entities-Howard Shockey and Sons, Crider and Shockey, and The Shockey Precast Group-the company is involved in general contracting, ready-mix, and prestressed concrete.

The company captures its philosophy through its "Partner of Choice" theme.

Company chairman Don Shockey and CEO Bill Simmons recognized the need for a highly capable organization to assure continued success of their three operating companies. MJS Management Services of Seattle worked with the Shockey Precast Group and the Crider and Shockey ready-mix concrete management teams to create an organization plan.

"The organization plan has provided us with a road map to ensure we have the talent required to achieve our long-term business goals," says Simmons. "We benefited from the external consultants' perspective. They helped us understand the strengths and weaknesses of our organization.

But more importantly, with their deep industry experience, they helped us create a picture of the organization structure and capabilities we'll need to position these companies for the future. We're well on our way to building a high-performance organization."

The organization plan is an often overlooked, but helpful tool to ensure steps are in place to build the team needed to run the business today and into the future. The organization plan provides a roadmap for developing the people, skills, and structure needed to achieve important business goals.

Creating an organization plan

There are three typical steps in creating an organization plan:

1. Define future organization:

  • Lay out the organization structure needed for perhaps three to five years from now. Think about key questions: How many people will we have? How many departments and leaders? What are the responsibilities and capabilities needed for each role? What are the reporting relationships? Consider more than one option to broaden choices.
  • Define high-performance characteristics for key roles, not just for today but also for the future.
  • Go beyond technical and operating skills. For example, consider leadership, business acumen, the ability to bring about change, and other important attributes. An abundance of skills such as these often explain why some businesses grow, innovate, adapt, and prosper at a faster pace.