Building HGC’s Academy Made Work Fun Again

HGC

In 2015, Brian McManus, Visionary and current owner of HGC, found himself in an interesting place. Former owner and second-generation leader of the family business Larry Hoopaugh had begun transitioning into retirement, and Brian just wasn’t having fun at work anymore.

“From a net profit standpoint, 2015 and 2016 were the most profitable years in the company’s history,” Brian said. “But it was terrible. We just didn’t enjoy what we were doing anymore. And for a time, I was thinking about hanging it up.”

That’s when their CPA, who runs his company on EOS®, gave Brian a copy of Traction. Brian listened to the audiobook while commuting to job sites and realized how much more effectively the team could operate.

With some advice from his CPA, he gathered leaders throughout the company and spent time working through the Vision/Traction Organizer® (V/TO). They looked in the mirror, asked themselves questions they’d never thought of before, and, within two days, they had their two-page business plan.

Vision

Initially, Brian had a hard time stepping back from the day-to-day. Not having a hand in every step and decision of a project didn’t come naturally to him. The team wasn’t used to operating that way. Plus, in the construction industry, if you stop or slow down work, it costs you money. Lots of it.

But once HGC started Running on EOS™, Brian learned how to “detach” from the business to look at the organization through a different lens. Only then could he start to make huge impacts.

Having both white- and blue-collar teammates, Brian knew HGC needed a different way to lead and to set expectations and goals. And he knew he needed an Integrator™ to make it happen.

Enter Integrator Brandon Lindsey. Coming from 20 years in the corporate world, Brandon didn’t know anything about grading construction or Running on EOS. Brian told him he just needed to know people. Then he handed Brandon a copy of their V/TO® and asked for his help executing it.

“That became my job description,” Brandon said. “We had the V/TO and everything we wanted to achieve. But we didn’t have the team at that point.”

Assembling that team became Brandon’s priority, which ultimately required organizational realignment behind the company goals and identifying knowledge gaps. After all, setting lofty goals didn’t matter if they didn’t have a properly trained team to execute them.

And that’s when things got interesting.

Traction

In 2020, HGC opened its doors to the HGC Academy, a 20,000-square-foot in-house training facility. The HGC Academy helped Brian and Brandon focus on the development of the team by giving them the tools to be successful. Housed near its original office headquarters, the HGC Academy provides learning opportunities through traditional classroom instruction, hands-on equipment demonstrations, and simulator training.

Unsurprisingly, their initial plan never involved building an entire in-house Academy or creating a team development group to run it. Yet, Brian says the Academy became a game-changer in surviving the pandemic, inflation, workforce shortage, and exponential growth after several mergers and acquisitions.

This unique training model sets HGC apart and makes them one of the top organizations in the industry.

“Everything in construction has always been compliance- or standards-driven for safety,” Brian said. “But it doesn’t necessarily relate to what we do day-to-day.”

By listening to feedback, the team development group began to better understand the needs in the field and how to support them. But their development doesn’t end with success at work. In addition, their training helps the team become better decision-makers and more effective communicators while improving their relationships at home too.

“We teach people how to work together as a team and have each other’s backs,” Brian said. “They learn how to work through their differences. Because the ultimate goal is to serve our clients and, in turn, serve each other at the same time.”

Healthy

“Our goal was never about numbers,” Brian said, noting their V/TO has basically remained the same since its creation in 2017. “Numbers are meaningless until you get your house in order.”

Brian and the executive leadership team all agree they’re still working on that last part. Over time, the company has identified some unexpected problems from not having an aligned team, and it continues to improve every day.

They focused on promoting change and improving the culture for the first two years. Guided by HGC’s core values, they continue to focus on developing skills in people who believe in getting the job done.

“We had to pair EOS with our training because we were asking our team members to become leaders,” Brandon said. “But they didn’t know how to do that. We had to give them the tools to know how to lead first. And then they could learn how to use EOS to lead their teams.”

Brian and the executive leaders also saw their teams flourish under a different approach to operations. Instead of blindly following ironclad processes, their groups work together to devise the best possible solution for a given situation. Their process mainly consists of adhering to core values and working as a team to achieve the vision. The results have been pure magic.

The HGC Academy and its results have quickly gained the attention of the entire industry, creating a new standard. It would be no exaggeration to call their training model an industry game-changer as others follow their lead.

Why We Run on EOS

“EOS gave us a foundation to navigate a pandemic, record inflation, material cost increases, and supply chain issues,” Brandon said. “If you think about that in the timeline, numbers don’t tell the full story of the impact of EOS.”

“Now we have a group of leaders,” Brian said. “We say we have 725 leaders, and our goal is that everybody here is a leader. We’ve got a group that knows where we’re headed and is laser-focused on getting better and better.”

Oh, and best of all? Brian’s having fun at work again.

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