Category Archives: Execution

Goals and job costing, become a master of your destiny

Tie goals and job costing together and become the master of your destiny—well, of your company’s destiny.

Goals and job costing go together so you become the master of your destiny.

Goals and job costing go together so you become the master of your destiny.

The typical Job Costing discussion throws a large smattering of options into play. Watch any job costing question posted on a financial management forum and see the wide range of options. And the options are excellent. However, they do take time to wade through.

So, where do you start?

How do you tease this apart into bite-sized steps?

As you may suspect, to get a handle on job costing means you know your profits, costs per job and overall company profitability during and immediately after jobs. And, can effectively project job costs and profits. You become a master of your destiny.

An approach

First, get a good team in place: accountant, tax accountant, bookkeeper who know the ins-and-outs of construction accounting and job costing—an excellent first step to guide you through the process.

Time and again, questions come up about what standard to follow for job costing. The answer invariably emerges as “it depends.” Which can frustrate the person asking.

So, to skirt around this frustration, consider asking a different question.

“What are my business goals and reporting requirements for those goals?”

The answers to this question of goals guides job costing efforts to a clearer path to follow. Job costing become much easier than wading through long lists of options and discussions of, “If you do this, then allocate that.”

Guide to defining goals and job costing

Follow this guide to help refine exactly what you need in job costing. Otherwise you might hear “it depends” when ever you ask what should be done.

A guide to determine the basis for goals and job costing and simplify all the variations.

A guide to determine the basis for goals and job costing and simplify all the variations.

Here are 9 questions to guide you through defining goals and job costing:

  1. What level of growth do you want? Do you want larger contracts, more smaller contracts, mix of both.
    1. What target market do you want to spend your time developing? public, commercial, residential, local, building type, owner characteristics, multiple states, national, or something else?
    2. What level of supervision do you plan to assign per job or across multiple jobs?
  2. Will you stay with one contract type?
    1. Lump Sum or Fixed Price
    2. Unit Price
    3. Cost Plus Fee
    4. Cost Plus with a GMP (guaranteed maximum price)
  3. What profit per job do you want?
  4. Determine the level of rigor do you plan for Change Orders, WIP management.  What is your process?
  5. What level of investment are you willing to make to get details and accuracy?
    1. The more details, the more accuracy the more time and money spent to get it.
    2. Do you want superintendents, project managers to capture daily field reports with job costing, labor, OT, incidents, POs, COs?
    3. Do you plan to automate what you can?
  6. Who will review the job results?
  7. What level of detail do they want?
    1. High level profitability, issues and “what are you going to do to improve?”
    2. Some details about job costing? Look for discrepancies.
    3. Lots of details. Want to go over each job with all costs involved.
  8. How often? weekly, monthly, quarterly?
  9. How will the reports be delivered? digitally, in person with discussion, both.

The answers become a guide

The answers to the above goal questions will guide the discussions around the following questions:

  • Do I include burden and overhead into one percent calculation? What percent do I use?
  • What level of small purchases in a job can simply be allocated as indirect costs?
  • Should I use percent of labor, percent of revenue, or percent of costs as a basis?
  • Should some indirect costs be allocated based on one or more cost bases?

Best practices

A few of good best practices to keep in mind as well:

1. Nail down company goals. Spend some time on them so they don’t turn into new “goals-of-the-month.” You can optimize profits this way.
2. Start with estimating. Estimating defines the structure of job costing. Otherwise you have multiple competing processes in play.
3. Get conversations going between accounting, estimating, and those capturing the job costing data.
4. Become extremely consistent with allocation.
5. Once you have a good set of goals in place, processes will emerge, then you can automate to get benefits of effective job costing.

Job Costing is an involved process. Take a step at a time no matter where you are currently in the process. And be sure to go back to your company goals to get focused on the right tasks.

Learn more >>

Goals set direction, simplify job costing decision making, and let’s you become master of your destiny.

Phil Bride, Executive Business Coach.

Phil Bride, Executive Business Coach.

Contact us today to discuss more about setting goals, direction, and job costing solutions in your company.

Phil Bride, 503-753-9971 for Company goals, direction, business planning and processes.


David Holler, Nov 6, 2017 “Should Company Overhead Expenses be Included in Job Cost Reports?”

CFMA Cafe general forum

“The Book” “Financial Management and Accounting for the Construction Industry” section 3.15 (1).

“Project Delivery Methods & Contract Types” WSU

Where’s your Not-to-Do list?

Ah hem. The right length for a to-do list.

Where is your not-to-do list anyway? You do have one, don’t you?

Ah hem. The right length for a to-do list. Your not-to-do list holds a lot more.

Ah hem. The right length for a to-do list is 5 or fewer. Your not-to-do list can be much, much longer.

My business journey started out with out of control to-do lists. When I ran a small growing vibrant company, my to-do list floated around a  constant 50 actions required by me at any given point in time. Ouch!

During my professional development, which I continue in earnest today, I’ve developed a not-to-do list process. I actively work my not-to-do list and simplified my to-do list.

The not-to-do list process uses the best ideas from business, lean concepts, and leadership practices. I use a very practical method every day for my business. I then share what I learn with my clients.

Five principles for a not-to-do list

  1. Not-to-do list grows longer than the to-do list.
  2. There can many variations of not-to-do lists.
  3. A Kanban style organization of lists gives them a workable structure.
  4. The to-do list is always very short in length (5 or fewer) and short term in time horizon…at most a week, if not a day.
  5.  New items always go into the not-to-list then get moved into other lists. Eventually activities move to the to-do list and into calendar time slots for execution.

To-do lists always live at the end of the planning process and not before. This is often the opposite of all the bad habits we’ve developed and learned over time. Now is the perfect time to change your approach.

A very useful process to implement a not-to-do list

Create various projects based on your business planning process. Having spent the effort and time on planning simplifies prioritizing and decisions for projects and activities.

And, of course, the plans include project SMART goals, obstacles, solutions, activities.

I’ve listed an excellent starting point for Not-to-do list structure. Yes, and the to-do list!

  • Ideas:  These are proposed activities. Pile them here.
  • Planning:  Here the best ideas develop into SMART goals and plans.
  • Active:  The activity now moves into action. Planning activities results in checklists with deadlines and assignments.
  • To-do list:  The activity is defined, assigned, scheduled and will be done. This list is for today. Keep it focused and short.
  • Stalled/Waiting:  Put stalled activities or activities waiting on someone else on this list.
  • Completed: Completed activities go here. Your well done list!

Using a simple, structured not-to-do list gives you control over all requests, great ideas, “you should do it” requests, and those activities you actually do.

Plus, you can take advantage of that part of your calendar that rarely gets used!

Now, use those time slots in your calendar out 30, 60, 90, 180 days or more. They work perfectly well for not-to-do yet activities.

Successful use of a not-to-do list structure requires leadership skills, decision making skills, and prioritization skills. Do it to tease apart all the competing activities.

(References:  The One ThingThe Path of Least Resistance.)

Next steps

Give me a call or email me to discuss how you can start your not-to-do list and nail your leadership, decision making and prioritization skills.

Especially if you have lots of organizational and personal goals.

Take 30 minutes and let’s discuss the issues you face. It’s free.

Phil Bride.   503-753-9971






Culture eats strategy for lunch

Oh, yes and culture eats strategy for lunch and then dinner. Then it eats business plans and execution for dessert.

Culture eats strategy for lunch. "It's the way we do things around here."

Culture eats strategy for lunch. “It’s the way we do things around here.”

It is imperative for every business owner and business manager to clearly understand what exactly the phrase means, “culture eats strategy for lunch.” And then, understand the huge effect culture has on ROI, growth, sales, marketing, customers, projects, and success.

Why does it seem like the brakes are on when you want to go forward?

First, fun facts from Gallup and NAICS

This information is from the 2018 Gallup “State of the workplace.”

  • 33% of workers, on average in US workplaces, are engaged at work.  Ouch!  And this is more than twice the engaged workers than European companies.
  • Companies with upwards of 70% worker engagement earn 21% more profits than those with low engagement.
  • Focusing on strengths brings out engagement.

And on top of that, did you know that a whopping 77% of US companies are under $500K in revenue and 82% of companies are under $1 million in revenue?  (Latest NAICS statistics).

And one more set of information from that defines business success factors.

Business success factors include the drive for impact in the market, commitment to stay the course, willingness to adjust as necessary, patience, persistence, willingness to listen, develop mentoring relationship, and strong leadership in both general and domain expertise.

A Big Question to Tackle

Do you plan to build an extraordinary business for customers, partners, employees, yourself?

If you want to build something extraordinary, increase employee engagement, increase profits, then all this information points to develop leadership skills in yourself and in employees. And it means to develop a strong culture.

So, instead of a situation where culture eats strategy for lunch, embed culture development into your strategy.

What Exactly is Culture?

In its simplest terms, culture is “The way we do things around here.”

Decision making under stress

“Doesn’t matter if it’s right, that’s now how we do it here!”

The behaviors, reactions, decision patterns, attitudes, beliefs form the factors that drive the way you run your business, project, team. These factors will overwhelm strategy and cause culture to eat strategy and spit it out.

“Cultures can be described in terms of the values they (organizations) endorse or promote.”  ( A Rose by Any Name? The Values Construct.  Meg J. Rohan)

And, “the beliefs and behaviors that determine how employees and management interact and handle outside business transactions.” –Investopedia

What this means is that people endorse and promote certain behaviors. Some behaviors help produce improvement while other behaviors can override new strategy for the company in a heartbeat. These behaviors are deeply entrenched with “guardians” who watch to insure cultural codes are followed—the good and the bad behaviors.

These guarded and watched over bad behaviors (codes) will stall out the best strategy before you even spell “strategy.”  Everyone will nod in agreement then do what the culture behavior codes dictate. Often, people don’t realize it happens. Breaking cultural codes means severe punishment sometimes subtly enforced and sometimes not so subtle.

Warning Signs your Culture costs you Big

Consider these three warning signs that bad behaviors in your culture costs you.

3 fingersThe first and most impactful warning signs that most likely your culture eats strategy for lunch is the “Rule of Three.” If you suffer from the same mistakes three times or more then the repeated mistake indicates an upstream cultural issue.  Upstream cultural issues deeply embed themselves in the way ” we do things around here.”

The second warning sign is lack of decision making, prioritization and time management skills. All related back to decision making.

The third is grumbling in the background. This most likely comes from inconsistencies between what you want and the culturally enforced behaviors, which often comes from the same person.

These three warning signs result in lost engagement, lost productivity, less profits, more costs, more indecision, more wasted time on the job and host of other ills. It makes you feel like the brakes are on while trying to accelerate.

What to do about it

It really is simple in theory to stop the fact that culture eats strategy for lunch.

Know yourself well. Know your company culture well. Understand and accept your strengths, talents, weaknesses and blind spots of you and your company. Fill in the missing skills as fast as possible. Build a shared vision, establish consistent values, and establish great teamwork. This becomes the strategy.

However, it can be hard to put into practice. Cultural behaviors and personal behaviors become guarded and enforce the old behavior patterns. In this case, the group doesn’t produce the results you want and expect.

So … What now?

Decide to change, take the long view, start a program, get outside help, be patient.

I specialize in guiding people through the transitions of behavioral changes. I use structured training, assessments, accountability, and practice sessions oriented to where you are today. Then move you along in the journey at faster pace than you can do yourself.

Drop me a message if you want to explore this approach for you and your team. It is worth it.

Contact Phil Bride today or 503-753-9971.

Let’s do a professional assessment to get you clear on your strengths, talents, weaknesses and blind spots. The foundational step.

This is perfect for business owners, business managers, executives, those who want to improve their organization’s culture or their own personal approach,  and those who want to learn more .

Something’s not quite right

Something's not quite right in my business. What is it?
You suspect something's not quite right in your business. What is it?

You suspect something’s not quite right in your business. What is it?

You know something’s not quite right in your business. Your results are not quite what you want. You suspect something’s holding you back. What is it?

Most people feel something’s not quite right about their business or themselves at some point in their career.

How do you nail it down? How do you fix it?

The usual answers are to talk to a trusted friend, a mentor, figure it out as I go, read a book. All well-traveled paths.

How to identify what it is when something’s not quite

So, here is a good rundown on how to get on top of those things not quite right in your business.

Accept continuous improvement as necessary:  Step back and view the task as something that will take you to your dream, your vision, your biggest goals.  The success of the task will determine success and failure ten-fold over optimizing what you do now.

Understand the thing that’s not quite right. 

  • Identify the effects it has on your business, your day, your daily activities.
  • Start to sleuth out the causes lying behind the effects. Don’t stop at the first answer, second, third or even fourth answers. The causes often lie at the deeper levels. Keep on them.
  • Be ready for wherever it takes you. You might not like it. But, don’t ignore it.

Know your truly outstanding talents. Not what you want them to be, but what they are. This takes a deep-seated honesty.

  • Make your next steps rely on your talents.
  • We often take our talents for granted. We think everyone else has these too, “so what’s the big deal?”  They are a big deal and determine what can make you different.

Know you weaknesses and blind spots.  I’ve had people spout off their blind spots then stop a moment later and say, “I guess they can’t be blind spots if I see them.”

  • It becomes crucial to not rely on weaknesses and blind spots for your success.
  • Get help to identify these. The payoff can be huge. The cost of not identifying these is huge also, in wasted time (months, years, decades), direction, focus, and money (10x over cost efficiencies easily)

It is time to get on top those “something’s not quite right” in your business.

Phil Bride, Executive Business CoachTake some time to work on your situation.

As an executive business coach I help clients get on top of this.

Let’s see if I can help you too!

Contact me to set up a 30-minute complimentary time to discuss your situation.

Give me a call at 503-753-9971 or email me at

3 must haves to take the next big step

The 3 must haves to take the next big step for your business determine if you grow or shrink. The must haves determine if you get in control or flail around responding to all the issues and obstacles.

3 must haves to take the next big step in business includes paying attention to employees.

3 must haves to take the next big step in business includes paying attention to employees.

A quick tale of two business owners

One business owner put in place all the mechanics to run the business quite well. Got the operations well defined, with processes delineated clearly and metrics in place. They even put people in the right positions that seemed to fit the jobs. Also, the owners knew their customer base extremely well and marketed their business so that customers lined up to buy. However, they experienced a high turnover rate in employees, some staying only weeks. And then the business failed to meet expectations.

The second business owner knew the mechanics of operations very well, as you would expect. They knew the processes, but did not go to same extent to define all the processes as the first owner. And, the owners knew their customer base fairly well, but were not as clear about the customer characteristics as the first business owner above. They had to work harder to get customers in the door. However, they did know what got their employees going in the right direction. And, they had a clear direction that wasn’t just about them making money. The big difference boiled down to their commitment to continual improvement based on a clear direction and values. The business thrives and continues to grow. 

Okay, so you’ve decided to make the next big step for your business.

What exactly are these must haves?

3 must haves to take the next big step in business

Understand your customers

Yes, we all know we need to have clear understanding of our best customer characteristics.

Why do they buy? Why would they buy from you? What do they get out of buying? Who buys and who gets the benefit of the purchase? What is the value of what they buy? How do they want to receive what they buy? What exactly is the service they get? How do they prefer to make the payment and in what time frame?

And, the list can continue. So, you get the idea. Understand customer’s characteristics extremely well.

Know what employee characteristics get you where you want to go

Especially relevant, each of your employees, whether W2 or 1099, have their own wants, needs, motivations, distractions, values. Appealing and honoring those characteristics in a genuine way will go a long way to align employees to your business goals.

An important note to keep in mind, employees think first in terms of time spent out of their lives for your benefit. Only then do they think in terms of your business goals and achievements. Remember, people always look for a WIIFM (what’s in it for me) component.

As a side note, if you are a one-person shop, YOU are the employee and all this holds true for you.

Therefore, the more you find the “right” employees and give them some amount of WIIFM in their terms, the more they will serve your customers and achieve your business goals.

Commitment to change

All of the positive affects of the 3 must haves to make the next big step in business gets wiped away as if it didn’t exist at all, if you are not fully committed. The commitment to change personally, professionally gets the business changes you want.

Most of all, your commitment to change will be tested again and again.

Consequently, during these tests managers and leaders bail out, get frustrated, start the blame game, get bitter, and in affect sabotage their own business success.

This stuff sneaks up on all of us. We have to be diligent.

Now what?  How do you become more diligent on the 3 must haves?

It is time to become more diligent

Phil Bride, Executive Business CoachTake some time to work on your situation.

As an executive business coach I help clients nail down their 3 must haves to take the next big step and achieve their goals.

Let’s see if I can help you too!

Contact me to set up a 30-minute complimentary time to discuss your situation.

Give me a call at 503-753-9971 or email me at




< 2019 >
  • 21

    CFMA Webinar: Fraud & Embezzlement

    12:00 pm-1:30 pm

    Join us for this highly popular and complimentary webinar on “Fraud and Embezzlement: Lessons from the trenches.”  Angela Morelock, Forensic CPA presents.

    Every company and manager needs to be aware of this issue. Unfortunately, it’s more prevalent than we would like.

    This is a recorded course. And offers 1.5 CPEs.

    There will be pauses for a facilitated discussion by attendees. A requirement for CPE credits. The event will be facilitated locally at a live venue. The event will be presented to both the in-person attendees at the venue and webinar virtual attendees.

    Fraud can wreak havoc on an organization’s financial performance and undermine business objectives. No business is immune from the risks associated with fraud, and education is the key to prevention. Hear from industry expert, Angela Morelock about insights into the world of internal embezzlement and learn about frequently overlooked prevention tips in this unique, one-hour webinar.

    Participants will learn the following:

    • Realize the red flags warning of embezzlement and fraud
    • Understand the criminal methods used to embezzle from and defraud organizations and tips to protect your business
    • Steps to take if fraud is suspected

    Level: This is a group-internet based program at the Overview Level. No prerequisites or advanced preparation required.

    Who Should Take This Course?  Executives, CFO’s, CPAs, Managers or anyone who may be interested in attending.
    For questions please contact:
    Phil Bride at Co-chair CFMA education committee.

  • 22

    HillHub Guest Speaker Aug

    1:00 pm-2:00 pm
    Hillsboro Chamber
    Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce 5193 NE Elam Young Pkwy, Ste A Hillsboro, OR 97124
    Introducing Office Hours @ HillHub!
    HillHub has grown rapidly since opening in April and we’re excited to announce new programming this month!

    Starting August 21st, we will roll out HillHub Office Hours. Twice a month, we will host a group of business owners and professionals who will provide 1:1 support to entrepreneurs and small businesses. Our office hours providers are experts in various topics, all essential to growing a business.

    Providers will be available during a 1.5 hour window from 10am-2:30pm. You do not need to be a HillHub or Chamber member to attend. All small businesses and entrepreneurs are welcome to attend! We do ask that you register ahead of time to ensure guaranteed time with your chosen provider.

    To attend, please register below with your preferred provider and what time you plan to attend. 

    Register For Office Hours
    Below are our upcoming service providers, a little bit about them and their areas of expertise:

What Clients Say

“After working with Phil, from just one process we cleaned up, we reduced mistakes by 70% and are stacking up cost savings.” —Stan, Construction Business Owner.

“Going through the decision framework helped make a very big decision that was stressing me out. After the decision, I felt a huge sense of relief and our revenue jumped due to better focus.” —Jon, Software Construction Business Owner

“We’ve improved our sales per FTE by 30% once we clarified the gap through the SMART goals and I’m not yet done with Phil’s program!” —Tim, Business Owner

“I recommend that if you want to increase effectiveness, sit down with Phil.” —Michelle, small business owner

Coach Phil

Phil Bride

Professional Business Builder

Executive business coach

It's all about business, development, and execution

Phil Bride, MBA, AIC

Sharpen up

Clarity of direction, confidence in next steps

  • Get a plan you can execute
  • Prioritize like a pro
  • Get control over time

Push to the strategic

Up your game. Make things happen.

  • Set, execute a vision of accomplishment
  • Up your game on leadership
  • Get accountability in place

Align (new) managers

Team alignment—Up to speed quicker

  • Skills development
  • Collaboration
  • Project management


Coaching, training, development, facilitating

  • Professional Development
  • New manager training and development
  • Seasoned manager tune up
  • Strategy and execution
  • Business, Market, Sales planning and execution
Workshops, Classes, 1-on-1