by Tom Emison, Vice President Strategy and Innovation, Kraus-Anderson Construction Company
“Always remember you’re unique.” Just like everybody else.
I heard Garrison Keillor say that one night during his broadcast of The Prairie Home Companion. You have to hear it twice (or read it twice) to get the meaning.
Construction companies need to consider the wisdom of Mr. Keillor when it comes to being truly unique. I’ve worked with and consulted to several dozen different real estate, construction, and A/E firms over the years and all of them claim to be unique. They claim great levels of personal service, attention to detail, safety, market focus, innovation, and so on – but if they are ALL doing that, then who is unique? How much of this so-called uniqueness is real vs. spin?
This summer, a small squad of market-differentiator-types sought to answer this question from within “KA”. The question we had to tackle? What principles and/or practices make us actually unique without the spin? For us, this process was about authenticity, not happy talk. We listened to our Voice of the Client study from 2015, which provided both positive insights into our brand as well as criticisms. We worked with our key functional leaders, market sector leaders, and our location leaders. Then, we set down to write it out – get it on paper and express in as few words as possible a real and relevant statement that captures what makes us unique here at KA. We did this mostly for our clients and project partners. But, we took into account our employees as well. Our goal was not a snappy tagline, but a comprehensive statement that we can use when recruiting new employees or pursuing new work. What we found is that it is a combination of three factors that make us special to clients and prospective clients, i.e.:
Kraus-Anderson is an integrated construction management and real estate development enterprise dedicated to building enduring relationships and strong communities. Our team members are trustworthy, inspired, collaborative, accountable, and grounded in Midwestern ingenuity. From concept to completion we deliver
extraordinary solutions to our clients. We promise:
(1) insightful real estate development from an owner’s perspective;
(2) exceptional pre-construction ingenuity, project execution, and project closeout from a single point of contact; and
(3) passionate and proactive people, exceptionally well-trained in our own in-house KA University, who are anchored in family and community, and who love their work.
Turns out that by doing some good internal poking around, we’re not like everybody else!