Imagine a graph on a wall. On the vertical side we're plotting “Will To Work.” Most humans naturally have a high sense of “Will to Work” when they're in the right environment. Even the laziest people are capable of getting passionate about something.

Along the horizontal axis we plot “Accumulated Frustration.” We'll get to what that is in a minute.

On the job's first day, Will to Work is 10, the highest level.

Accumulated Frustration, 0.

Now guess what happens? As the job progresses, these positions are reversed. The horizontal line starts to rise, and the vertical line starts to drop. As frustration builds, workers stop giving their all.

This process is not inevitable.

Want to know how to improve production by 30% without adding people? Address the frustrations that batter away at the Will to Work.

What are they?

Lack of clear objectives and expectations. Is there a project budget for this job? Is there a proper completion deadline? Is there a scope of work? A description of exactly what needs to be accomplished?

Lack of qualified help. Who's doing this job? Are you sure they're capable? And how would you know they are without a structured hiring procedure?

Lack of complete and proper job planning. Have you considered all the details involved in the job? Have you thought through and eliminated obstacles or roadblocks for crews and subs? Do you have the permits and approvals you need in order to get started and proceed from there?

Lack of communication. Have salespeople told installers what the client expects to get? Is your company keeping the clients in the loop, answering questions and letting them know about any changes or delays? Is your product ordering late? Is it complete?

Lack of effective scheduling. Is this the right crew for the job? Don't schedule jobs in the order they're received. Schedule them by what makes sense.

Lack of equipment. Do your power tools work? Do you have the specialty equipment you need, such as scaffolding? Do crews have the basic hand tools they need in the field?

In the next column, I'll identify some other sources of frustration and specify how you can address them all. —Richard Kaller, a contractor for 30 years, is founder and CEO of Certified Contractors Network, 610.642.9505,, or