Coming to accept that not everything works the way you believe it does is difficult, disturbing and ultimately shoves you into the next phase of your life.

By Dean Horowitz, Publisher | March 31, 2003


Dean Horowitz, Publisher

Coming to accept that not everything works the way you believe it does is difficult, disturbing and ultimately shoves you into the next phase of your life. You can read hundreds of quotes about how failure delivered famous individuals to great knowledge and discovery, but you never believed your competitiveness and tenacity would let you down. Benchmark (Sept. 21-24 in New Orleans) is the only conference designed to safely deliver you and your residential construction company to the next phase of professional life. It enables you to compare and learn from businesses and individuals just like you.

The first-day conference topic is business results. That phrase sounds simple, if not empty. But it is the outcome, the purpose, the vision that separates valuable organizations from the slight of purpose. We all want to run the equivalent of Dell Computer or Southwest Airlines and attain the leadership prestige of a Jack Welch. It is hard, and it requires alignment of strategies and people, as well as a well-defined operational plan. This is why best-selling author and leading consultant Ram Charan will be the keynote presenter for this portion of Benchmark. I have enjoyed his books and had the good fortune to attend one of his programs.

Ram takes you on a journey to understanding words such as discipline, rigor, rhythm and practice. The building business is a fine art. It is about creating beautiful objects through the orchestration of many voices and parts. This first day of Benchmark will assist you in considering the behaviors and habits that, once a part of daily routine, will increase your organization's capacities.

Customer satisfaction is the focus of day two and a fundamental issue to all our teams. As a demonstration of our commitment, Professional Builder and Professional Remodeler teamed with NRS Corp. to offer the first customer satisfaction award program in the residential construction industry. It debuted last September and will repeat this year. It already has turned into a huge success for those who entered and learned more about their companies, as well as those who won and enjoyed an award's recognition.

Martha Rogers of Peppers and Rogers will keynote customer satisfaction day. She and her partner have written multiple books, periodicals, case histories and columns. She is one of the best-rated speakers in the country. She will take us through a process of understanding that customer satisfaction begins with how we select individuals to market to first. Hopefully, she will enable us to learn how to avoid the types of clients we should never do business with before the relationship even begins. A high goal but a very relevant one.

The last day of Benchmark will focus on construction quality issues and end with a personalized implementation plan and strategy designed by Scott Sedam and the PB team.

The turnout for Benchmark is expected to exceed 750 residential construction industry professionals. Tracks and events are designed for each segment of our industry. You will meet others who embrace the desire to be the best at their jobs, to discuss leading ideas and to become network contacts for each other throughout the year.

Benchmark just passed its 10-year anniversary. More than 1,000 people have participated in the program, with many returning year after year. Every year is special, but this one is a knock-your-socks-off program at a time that fits into our industry's schedule perfectly.

Benchmark is a living edition of Professional Builder magazine. It gathers readers together at one event, the content is interactive and lively, and its vision for blending work and fun is demonstrated day after day.

We look forward to seeing you there.


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