A Grassroots Charge

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Editorial Director Paul Deffenbaugh encourages home builders to pull themselves up.

July 01, 2008

There isn't a builder in the United States who isn't watching costs right now.

We've seen builders across the country make heartbreaking decisions about personnel. But if you are going to survive in the long term, if you're not going to cash in your chips, you have to invest in the future — no matter how tight the purse strings.

A significant element in that investment should focus on improving the operations and efficiencies of your business so it emerges stronger and better when the economy turns around. To that end, we have made two elemental decisions about the Benchmark Conference this year. First, we have combined forces with Avid Ratings to offer two conferences in one, making it easier and more cost effective for you to send your staff. Second, we have given the conference the theme "Tools for the Turnaround." All of our speakers — from leading builders and industry experts to outside the industry thought-leaders — will focus on making your business stronger and tougher. (Check out www.probuilder.com/benchmark for more details.)

Too often management conferences address theoretical business situations. Benchmark has a tradition of nuts-and-bolts advice driven by true performers, and this year we're getting deeper into the nitty-gritty with some fabulous success stories from industry heavy-hitters. In addition, the conference will feature the deep insights garnered from Avid Ratings. Now more than ever, delivering on customer loyalty is essential to long-term success.

Normally, when I talk about conferences, I exclaim over the quality of the speakers and the programs. I could extol the more than 20 educational programs we're offering. Instead, I want to call our audience to action with a question.

In October, would you benefit from being in a room with home builder survivors, learning what they learn, hearing what they've done that works, looking to the future, thinking about what we can do to rebuild this industry into a driving economic success? After all, if we wait for others to act, we'll be waiting a long time. In this election year, no politician is going out on a limb to push the economy.

The most important thing we can do right now is take matters into our own hands. And the best way to do that is learn what is working within the deep trenches of quality companies and apply what we learn throughout the country. We'll survive and prosper due to our quality, not luck or government intervention.

Let's turn the Professional Builder Benchmark and Avid Leadership Conference into a grassroots movement that puts this industry back on its feet. If you want to put together a group, invite other builders or bring your staff, let me know. We'll help pull it together.

paul.deffenbaugh@reedbusiness.com

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