“Fulfilling jobs don’t grow on trees.” That witticism struck a chord in me when I saw it in a Harvard Business Review article years ago because it is so true. As a young engineer, I got fed up with not being heard at work. Or not getting to do work that I found gratifying. I had to start my own company to have a seat at the proverbial “table” and get to work on what I considered fulfilling projects.
Back then, I learned from experience that jobs can start out fulfilling and become less so. And when that happens, people find new jobs. Now after more than three decades of managing a company of more than 150 employees, I know a lot more about the importance of having an outstanding team. Good talent is hard to find. And good talent is even more difficult, and important, to retain.
Today I’ve come to believe companies are only as great as their people and losing someone good hurts the health of their entire team. But more significantly, I’ve also realized why people quit. The number one reason people leave a company is because of culture; this is so prevalent that it’s been widely studied and substantiated.
At McKissack we continuously assess our company culture and make changes to nurture and protect what is clearly our most significant asset—our people. During the pandemic, we had to modify our company culture significantly in response to the pandemic to create a true circular economy of care. To sustain this new model and be true to it, our leadership team has been working on maximizing everyone’s job fulfillment. We want our people to be excited about their jobs, really like what they’re doing and take ownership of their work.
For that to happen, we must allow everyone to play to their strengths. This helps us all work more cohesively as a team and better serve our clients. But bottom line—and there is a bottom line here—this allows us to operate more efficiently, be more resilient and have a structure that will support our team without stifling their autonomy and creativity.
For that reason, we reorganized our leadership team July 1. Christine Merdon, PE is now our chief growth officer after serving as our chief operating officer for two years. Among her many projects to fuel new growth will be building strong business development teams in our five satellite offices outside Washington, D.C. Michael Carter, CCM, is now our vice president of operations after heading our PMCM practice for eight years. He is not only an operations whiz who knows his way around profit and loss statements, he’s a true mentor and teacher who has helped so many in our industry get certified in program and project management.
The rest of our leadership team remains the same and includes Philip Artin, CCM, PMP, LEED AP-BD+C as our senior vice president for construction, program, engineering and development management; Sam Boye as director of Midwest and West and leader of our Chicago and Los Angeles offices; Ronald Kessler, AIA, as vice president and national practice leader for our architecture and interiors practice; and Andrew Corn as vice president of information technology.
Our changes are about allowing people to operate to their strengths and operating better as a company to better serve our clients. Stay tuned for more changes as they develop, and never hesitate to reach out to any of us.