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  • Writer's pictureRich Robb, CEO

Management Is Everyone’s Business

If it feels like we have spent an entire year talking about MN’s transition into a “management-based company,” it’s because we have. And that’s no accident. Our management-based model is crucial to our shared future as an organization—and it’s why the vast majority of our departmental meetings in 2022 focused on improving our management skills company-wide.

I promise that 2023 will bring new, equally important topics to discuss (stay tuned!) but please allow me to cap off an incredible 2022 with one more visit to the “management-based” well. Because the idea is truly that important.

The actual definition of management.

I’ve heard from some of you that our new emphasis on being a “management-based company” makes you nervous. Some of you are worried that it means we’re no longer going to build things ourselves. That we won’t hire carpenters or cabinetmakers. That we’ll sub everything out and become a “paper contractor.”

Let me assure all of you once again that this vital shift has nothing to do with changing what we do best and everything to do with ensuring the legacy and longevity of this business.

Because that is what real management is: Organizing all our efforts purposefully so that we can transform the increasing complexity and specialization of our jobs into the consistent performance that grows our business and, in turn, everyone’s profits.

Make no mistake. What we are doing on a day-to-day basis right now is far more complicated than the work we did even five years ago. There are precious few construction companies out there that can take on the complexity and specialization required to build the types of jobs on our calendar—and even fewer cabinet shops. Why? Because we have undertaken a considerable effort to infuse everyone we work with—and everything we do—with a newfound emphasis on proper management. All of you have experienced this shift in recent years. Maybe you’re a Cabinetmaker who now regularly reviews plans and comes up with questions ahead of a handover meeting. Or a Laborer on a job site we’ve asked to more diligently track and code your hours so we can issue a change order. Or a Lead Carpenter who has now added three-week lookahead schedules to your regular list of duties. These are all relatively new but critical management tasks that lead directly to our higher performance as a business and to more opportunities for the people who master them.

Stepping up.

Earlier this year, we discussed the need for the next generation of leaders to begin preparing now. Anita, Amir, and Alex Z. have all risen to leadership positions within the organization by, among other things, honing their management skills. Amir’s story shows that patiently taking the long view while seizing each management opportunity as it comes can lead to promotion. Anita’s rise within the company demonstrates how taking informed risks and initiative leads to personal and professional growth. Alex’s MN path highlights that building good relationships with your colleagues right from the start is key to being a better manager and can carry you far in this company. And all three co-workers demonstrate that being organized in your work is essential to taking on more responsibility—and increasing your earning potential.

We’re asking everyone to follow the leads of Anita, Alex, and Amir and actively manage their work because, going forward, we want everyone to own a piece of this business. (And everyone will, just by virtue of sticking around; that’s the beauty of the ESOP!).

There are a lot more slices of the pie now than before our ESOP existed— and there will only be more of them as more ownership shares get allocated. But owning a slice of the pie means you are responsible to your partners in the business. It means being a good manager in the truest sense of the word. It means paving the way for a profitable future for all of us by properly managing our individual obligations today. As a company, MN will continue to manage projects in different ways, from performing all the work in-house to subcontracting everything. This flexibility remains the core strength and the root of our staying power—and that will never

change. And due to our shared commitment to our new management-based model, something else won’t change, either: the names of the people managing our most significant projects in the future will be the same people doing the hands-on work in this company today.


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