My four siblings, our spouses and our 15 children recently got together for a week of relaxation. Thankfully, we also had a small S.W.A.T. team of baby sitters to ensure that at least parts of the week would be restful. One morning, as we sat at breakfast, I was struck by the breadth of similarities between my siblings. Two are really motivated. Two are easier going. But each has a bit of the other in their personalities. Twenty years removed from our formative years, there is this sense not only of the apples not falling far from the tree, but also of all of the apples generally looking and acting alike.
No matter which family you are from, people tend to be a harbinger of their environment. Individuals reflect the positive attributes of those around them. The remodeling industry, as it has evolved from its fragmented contractor roots into a distinct entity replete with standards of professionalism and a host of best practices, is no different. At the very top of the industry are hundreds of contracting firms whose owners and executives 30 and 40 years ago began banding together to establish norms of practice and to build a semblance of cohesiveness. They formed a leading cadre of companies that established benchmarks of professionalism, pricing and quality. The remodeling associations as well as the business peer groups these forerunners formed are important distillers of these attributes today.
Business peer groups, in particular, tend to be tight remodeling “families,” if you will. Remodelers who participate in the bare-your-business-soul peer groups tend to make the greatest improvement in quality and profitability over time. It is my contention that within these tight-knit groups, remodeling companies (like siblings) really take on the characteristics of each another despite major differences, like type of service and organizational structure. But if, for example, you get to know a remodeler who is part of a group that calls themselves the Parrot Heads, (and there is a real Remodeler 20 Club by that name) in a way, you feel like you know all the other Parrot Heads. They take a similar approach to the business. And just as important, they seem to prod, cajole and push their colleagues upward and onward. To a degree, peer group ties become a DNA that help businesses innovate and improve. The traits of remodelers who participate in peer groups — collaborative, generous, customer-focused, hard-working, et al. — reflect well on the larger industry. At the same time, remodeling has never been more professional or more savvy than it is now.
Peer groups are a great way to positively impact your business and the larger remodeling industry. And if you are lucky, you tend to enjoy hanging out with them, too.