#45: Building a Leadership Foundation with Jonathan Ribskis

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The Predictive Index: https://www.predictiveindex.com

About Jonathan

Jonathan Ribskis is the Director of Talent Optimization for Builtech Services, a nationwide commercial general contractor with offices in Chicago, IL and Charlotte, NC. He began his career with Builtech Services in Chicago as a superintendent, working for a company of just 4 employees. He then worked in estimating and eventually project management, where he spent the majority (11 years) of his career. In 2017, he relocated to Charlotte, NC to launch the company’s Southeast office. In 2021, he moved out of project management and into his current role, which he absolutely loves.

He is responsible for all aspects of talent strategy and vision, including hiring and building teams, career development, mentorship, leadership and engagement, safety and people operations (HR). He does all this through the 4-pointed lenses of how to best attract, engage, develop and retain talented team members.

With Jonathan’s oversight and leadership, the company has successfully launched an internship program, mentorship program and a Senior Leaders/Emerging Leaders program. During his almost 16-year tenure at Builtech, they have grown from 4 employees to over 95 and from annual sales of $4 million to $280 million. Builtech has been named a Best Places to Work by both The Charlotte Business Journal and Crain's Chicago Business for the past few years. The company has an unheard of 6% unplanned attrition rate.

Top 3 Takeaways

  1. Keep it real. When stretching workers, allow them to make mistakes from time to time. Every worker—even an intern—needs opportunities to develop new skills which inevitably means failing.
  2. There’s always time to learn. Fit leadership development into the normal flow of business. Early breakfast sessions, working lunches, or standing meetings are great places to bring in leadership lessons.
  3. Use the tools. Jonathan and his teams have had great success using The Predictive Index and its talent optimization platform. Trying to build a company without the proper tools is a recipe for disaster.

From the Source

“In construction, there are problems, but instead of hiding them or trying to solve them behind the scenes, we try to pull our clients into it, put it in front of them, and say, ‘Hey, we're working on this for you’, and that builds trust because we're just being very transparent with them.”

“We don't call them interns. We try not to make that obvious. You're just a Builtech team member for the summer or for the winter or whatever it is, and you have responsibilities just like our full-time staff.”

“We give our interns opportunities to fail and to make mistakes. That means financially sometimes. And we're okay with that. We feel like that's part of the learning process.”

“We realized we need to focus on Gen Z, we need to give these folks the tools to move them up through their careers, hopefully with us, and so we launched a mentorship program.”

“I have buy-in from our ownership on these programs, and I have their support. So that's what makes these things a lot more effective.”

“A big focus this year has been the topic of delegation. We've done some training around delegation. We've provided resources around how to properly delegate, not just throw it away and and hope it sticks, but to actually give structure to it.”

“If you do some research across the industry—and we're a part of some peer groups that are other general contractors—[unplanned attrition] is 15%, it's 20%, sometimes it's even higher. So we are very proud of the fact that we've been under that 6%.”

“People are complex. I think that's what we've learned a lot through the use of, of our, uh, spending time and studying and learning. Predictive index is the complexities and the nuances of everyone.”

Connect with Jonathan

Website: http://www.builtechllc.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jribskis/


“Built to Last” trivia game: https://www.rakenapp.com/blog/10-incredible-feats-in-construction-history