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2021 Case Study - Caliber Projects
Location: Langley, British Columbia
2020 Revenues: $6.7 million
Critical Numbers™: Profit Before Taxes
Caliber is a multi-family residential and mixed-use commercial construction management and general contracting firm that works with real estate developers in the greater Vancouver, Canada, area to “Crush It, Own It, and Love It” on large scale projects, ensuring they stay on time, on budget and on schedule. Their purpose at Caliber is “Building People and Processes”; they “just happen to do Construction.”
Owner Justin Bontkes started Caliber in the aftermath of the global 2009 real estate crash caused by the subprime mortgage crisis. “I lost my job working for a developer-builder and no one was hiring,” he says. “So, I had to create my own job.” Bontkes successfully grew and expanded his business over the next decade as the market began to boom again. The firm managed more than $23 million of construction in 2019, $77 million in 2020, and was trending for over $105 million in 2021. Starting back in 2019, Bontkes began looking for a way to create a more equitable bonus program that would also get everyone focused on winning together as a team. “Our leadership team was making too many decisions and I wanted a way to involve the team more in coming up with answers,” he says.
After learning about The Great Game of Business®(GGOB) from their business coach Trevor Throness, Bontkes and the leadership team made the trip to Springfield to attend a workshop and see The Game in person. After struggling a bit to self-implement in a service-based business, they made the commitment to hire coach Kevin Walter and launched GGOB by the end 2020.
Despite beginning their GGOB journey in May 2020 in the middle of the pandemic, the Caliber team has fully embraced the principles and practices of GGOB. “It’s been a game changer for the organization,” says Bontkes. “Employees are engaged at a new level and are beginning to truly understand the financial metrics behind what makes us as a business financially successful. I am no longer the only one taking responsibility for the company’s success.” By developing line of sight and an “Own It” mindset throughout the business, the team has already improved their net margin by 25%.
“GGOB has had a real positive impact on our team culture. Especially when it comes to our ‘Own it’ core value. We encourage our employees to own their roles and direct line of sight to our income statement and how they each can impact our Critical Number has been huge. Employees are excited about GGOB and love seeing their personal wins as we win as a team.”
~ Kevin Leyenhorst, Director of Pre-Construction
Spotlight on the Pandemic
Despite the onset of the pandemic, which forced the Caliber team to embrace social distancing and remote work, the team remains focused and full of positive energy. They also continued to perform at a high level, earning their maximum Level 10 bonus. “What GGOB did for us was help us realize the value of contingency plans and High-Involvement Planning™, which has allowed us to really come together as a team,” says Bontkes. “Our business looks different, better in a lot of ways, than it did 14 months ago. And we’re using GGOB as a differentiator to attract and retain A players in a tight labor market.”
The primary way Caliber employees can impact the bottom line of the company is by saving and driving the construction schedule. So, they designed their first MiniGame called “CRITICAL PATH,” with the goal of giving team members line of sight into how they could individually affect the schedule for that day, that week, and that entire project. Soon, 19-year-old laborers were informing their superintendent about which delivery or suite cleanout needed to be prioritized to keep the schedule moving. That MiniGame was so successful, the team has since rolled it out to all of their construction projects.
“GGOB has made a significant change for us. There is more ownership from the entire team that I lead. The budget is no longer just the responsibility of the Project Manager, but now everyone can positively affect the budget and schedule and the bottom line. It has brought everyone closer together into a team mentality, and each person can now see the value they bring to the company and the project.”
~ Jamie Hummelman, Assistant Superintendent
The team plans on doubling-down on its commitment to GGOB principles and practices—especially as they return to meeting again in person in a post-pandemic world. “We will Level Up our Caliber Ownership Thinking through the in-person meetings, discussing the numbers, adding another Critical Number, and strengthening our culture by winning and losing as an organization,” says Bontkes. “If we are having as much success as we are having while meeting virtually, I can only imagine the results we will have once we meet in person again.” Another goal Bontkes has is to introduce more of their industry to GGOB as a way to do business and help their people reach their own goals.
“GGOB has allowed my wife and I to purchase our first home, because it equipped us to think DIFFERENTLY about our finances and the concepts of assets and liabilities, revenue, costs and cashflow, and the $1 exercise has changed our perspective forever!”
For nearly 40 years, The Great Game of Business™ has helped organizations reach their highest potential and value.
Tapping into the universal human need to win, GGOB educates your people in the rules of business, rallies them around a common goal, empowers them to see and improve the score, and engages them by giving them a stake in the outcome.