Every year top executives around Columbus compete for a Smart 50 Award based on their company’s innovation, impact, and sustainability. This year we are proud to announce that our president, Jim Ziminski, has been given the honor of being recognized as one of the Smart 50 honorees with a focus on his impact internally and externally.
A little bit about Jim’s leadership
Jim Ziminski creates a dynamic vision for the Crane Renovation Group and implements innovative strategies and processes to achieve that vision. He has developed a culture internally and externally that focuses on three customers; employees, consumers, and subcontracting partners. With these customers in mind, Jim drives growth and innovation while developing and protecting a unique company culture that supports the Crane core values:
- Respect everyone – Treat everyone with respect and dignity and value a rich diversity of backgrounds, perspectives, and styles. Communicate openly and honestly, and act with integrity in everything we do.
- Achieve a sense of family – Strive to be the best place our associates have ever worked by encouraging teamwork and a sense of family. Ensure that everyone’s contributions are valued and successes are shared. Have fun together.
- Give back to the community – Act as leaders and stewards to our community and seek to improve the quality of life for everyone where we live and work.
- Be forward-thinking – Nurture a forward-thinking and curious culture that inspires the best in the renovation industry.
He empowers, develops, and challenges emerging leaders around him to think critically and implement improved ways to serve and engage with customers.
Jim shares his vision with the entire company through quarterly videos and annual companywide meetings. To wrap up an amazing year in 2018 and to encourage consistency throughout all the business locations, he led two companywide meetings, one with Contractors Inc and Responsiv and the other with Mr. Roof and Able Roof. He celebrated the amazing accomplishments of Contractors Inc while re-focusing the team in preparation for a groundbreaking year ahead. The theme of being “Deeply Rooted, Growing Together” brought business leaders together from all over the country under the banner of growing together as a united and synchronized company. Jim then led Mr. Roof and Able Roof with the theme of “Oh, the Places We’ll Go!” where he shared his dynamic vision for the future and led a diverse group of business leaders to reach new heights in the contracting industry.
The company pulse
One of the biggest challenges of leading a rapidly growing business is keeping a pulse on the company as a whole. Jim does this by utilizing a third party, called GLINT, to benchmark Crane Renovation Group to industry standards. In the most recent GLINT survey for Crane Renovation Group, scores were above the national average in all 20 categories, with the highest score being “employees would recommend joining the company to friends and/or family.” These ratings have proven to be top predictors of employee engagement and fulfillment.
How innovation plays a role in leadership
Jim has developed a company culture that is centered on curiosity. He empowers employees at every level to seek improved and innovative ways of servicing all three customers; our employees, consumers, and sub-contracting partners. He leans on the strengths of those around him as well as reaching outside the contracting industry for modern tools and processes we can adapt to better meet our customer’s needs. For example, Jim met with Safelite and adapted some of their customer experience practices that have already been proven to be successful and well-received by customers.
Another example of innovation would be Jim’s pursuit of the latest technologies. He invested in an innovative new application that originated in the military. It’s a 3D modeling program the Crane Renovation Group uses on residential and commercial projects to help business and homeowners visualize their projects before committing to the major expense of renovation. The program creates an accurate model of the consumer’s building, including measurements and design options from our product offerings. It ultimately saves the consumer time and money by assisting them in making the right decision the first time. It also helps us on the production side by having better accuracy of material usage and helping our production people see the finished product before the job starts. This all happens via an app in our smartphones. With Jim’s leadership, we were the first major company in the nation to adopt this unique technology.
The impact of good leadership
Sales and expansion
Under Jim’s leadership, we have grown significantly with no signs of slowing down. We were acknowledged as the largest residential roofer by Roofing Contractor Magazine and we won Roofing Contractor of the Year in 2016. We are not only looking at new startup locations but also attracting companies that want to join what we are doing by joining the Crane Renovation Group.
Giving back to the community
Being stewards of the community is one of our core values, but core values are meaningless unless they are acted upon. At Crane Renovation Group Jim lives and leads by example as a steward of the community and in turn, this core value is lived and breathed throughout our organization. Under his leadership and guidance, we partner with nonprofits all over the country including but not limited to United Way, Operation BBQ, Rebuilding Together, and many more.
To celebrate the end of 2018 and to ramp up for a monumental year in 2019, Able Roof and Mr. Roof hosted an all-in meeting where employees from all of our locations were invited to come together. For our last day, we lived out our core values by spending the day volunteering together at LifeCare Alliance. We were honored to run the entire Meal’s on Wheels route in Central Ohio and we served the elderly in Carrie’s café. The core values are more than just words, they are intrinsic to every interaction we have in the community, inspired from the top down.
Use of technology as a business tool
Jim has fully embraced the use of technology as a business tool. Not only does the Crane Renovation Group use 3D modeling technology and drone imagery, but we have an innovative marketing team focused on modernizing the contracting space through digital and social media, graphic design, video, and data mapping. We have a G.I.S. expert on staff to help us stay on the leading edge of technology. Jim guides the Crane Renovation Group into the future by inspiring and supporting every department to be innovative, efficient, and consistent so we can provide the best possible customer experience from start to finish at every location.
New building construction and expansion
In order to recruit and retain fresh, innovative talent and continue to lead the way in the contracting industry, there was a need to modernize our workspace. We have already upgraded some of our space and we are about to undergo a major renovation. We allow flexible work hours to support individuals and their work-life balance, and we even offer working remotely for positions that allow it. In the office, we create a creative, fun atmosphere by hosting “bring your dog to work” days, team bonding lunches, and we bring everyone together to celebrate holidays with clever games and good food. We are even looking at flexible office space to provide a creative work environment for employees to work remotely to stay motivated and fresh vs. coming to the same space every workday.
Talent management and development
We have a Leadership Development VP on board at Crane Group and we make use of that resource for personal and professional training and development. Our employees are hungry for growth and after reinstituting our VAL (value added leadership) program we have a waiting list of employees who are eager to join the next class. The VAL class lasts 4-6 weeks and culminates with a capstone presentation on a real business issue or initiative that is presented to our entire leadership team. We invest in our employees and equip them with the tools they need to grow and use their individual strengths at work. As a result of Jim’s investment in talent management and development, he is retaining happier, more satisfied, and more successful employees, which is measured by the GLINT survey.
Differentiation from the competition
We realize most consumers aren’t excited about construction projects, and in particular, roofing. Typically, having your roof replaced is a need not a want and consumers simply don’t expect to have a great experience from stories they have heard from friends or past experiences with contractors. We go out of our way to make their experience as user-friendly as possible from the time we first meet them to the time we complete their project. That’s why Jim has invested in the position of Director of Customer Experience. We will provide our customers with the type of customer experience they want and expect as the consumer landscape continues to transform and develop.
We are set apart by our family-oriented and curious team culture. We find this sense of community and freedom to experiment fairly unique in today’s marketplace. Our employees truly care about one another and our customers, and as we continue to grow and expand, we are 100% committed to focus on developing and protecting this culture. We challenge our employees and customers to keep us honest and they do! It’s in our core values and we stand behind them with every decision we make. Our core values are published, shared, and talked about frequently with all of our employees and those we recruit. We hear things like, “you can feel the passion in this place”, or “it feels like one big family where everyone is rowing in the same direction”, and it’s moments like those when we know we are doing something right. We aren’t perfect, but we are curious to keep getting better!
A huge congratulations to Jim Jiminski for being awarded as a Smart 50 honoree. We are proud to follow his lead as we continue to revolutionize the way things are done, and we couldn’t do it without the transformational and inspirational leadership Jim provide