Our Principles for Creating Value in Careers, Projects, and Contracting

“As to methods, there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The person who grasps principles can successfully select their own methods. The person who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.” - Harrington Emmerson

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Each contractor, including their team, customers, competition, capabilities, and timing is unique. We take pride in deeply learning the specifics of your business and team dynamics first and then developing and aligning on the best solution.



Our team includes generalists, specialists, and a broad network of industry friends that add the right value at the right time for our clients. Everyone on our team draws from their own personal experiences in the construction business. Each of our team members has unique experiences, relationships, and tools to help contractors identify problems and their root causes, then prioritize, design solutions, and implement.

We leverage bodies of knowledge and tools developed over the last couple hundred years for scaling businesses effectively and developing people. We learn from our industry friends and the many other thought-leaders in the construction industry.


We have codified these down into the principles, strategies, tactics, processes, tools, training, and learning resources that we have seen have the most impact on growing contractors.

We have been refining these since 2005, working with contractors across the United States. We collaborate constantly within our team and with our industry friends to identify the best approach for each contractor we work with.

On any given day, our focus may be as broad as facilitating a strategic planning session and as specific as writing code to integrate your supplier pricing with your estimating software, and every level of detail in between. That bandwidth is our competitive advantage.


14 Principles for Creating Value in Business, Projects and Careers (Summary)

These principles for creating value in the construction industry are our foundation. They support Our Mission and Our Promises. They are further expanded into more detailed principles supporting every major area of a construction business, including "Basic Principles & the Math of Growth" and "Field Productivity Principles." 

  1. Develop a Clear Vision
  2. Know Your Resources
  3. Know Your Options
  4. Learn from Others
  5. Debate Rigorously
  6. Build a Forecast Model
  7. See the Bigger Picture
  8. Keep it Simple
  9. Know Who Decides What and Why
  10. Be Decisive When the Time is Right
  11. Commit Fully to the Decision
  12. Execute Aggressively
  13. Track Progress Pragmatically
  14. Know When to Change Course

From this principled foundation we leverage our experience, relationships, training, and tools when working with clients.  


Our Principles for Creating Value (Details)

Have a clear vision, know your resources, and know there are many ways to get there - none are perfect. Learn from others. Often with conflicting perspectives engaging in rigorous debate. Develop a pragmatic forecasting model early and refine it frequently with S.M.A.R.T. experiments to understand the resources required, returns, and risks. Zoom out to see the bigger picture, including synergies, redundancies, and comparative value-add. Keep things simple. Be clear about who is best to decide what and by when. Commit fully to execute aggressively and optimistically with discipline and the stamina to stay the course. Track progress and adjust accordingly.

  1. Have a clear vision of where you are today plus where you want to be in the future and how you create materially better value for your customers than your competition, including your capabilities, capacity, and culture. We all have customers and competition. Despite short-term irregularities that seem to fly in the face of fairness, over the long-term our income is directly and proportionately tied to the value we create for others. Make sure you are absolutely in love with your vision. Life is too precious to waste working on things you don’t love.
  2. Be intellectually honest about your resources, including current capabilities, capacity, culture, and growth ability. Remember that typically, the biggest variable in the execution of your vision will be the people involved, starting with you. More than likely, this is also your biggest blind spot.
  3. Know that there are many combinations of strategies, people, plans, processes, tools, and technology that can get you there. Be comfortable knowing that none are perfect, that all have risks but few are fatal, that you can never know them all, that there are rarely opportunities for do-overs, and that many more options will present themselves along the way.
  4. Others have likely walked a similar but not exact road before. There will be a handful of underlying principles that are timeless, helping create clarity as you are faced with many complex challenges and choices. Learn from multiple and often conflicting perspectives with the intent to understand. Learn to make connections between seemingly disparate ideas, industries, and situations. Learn to ask good questions. Learn to effectively engage others to accelerate results.
  5. Participate in rigorous debates with your team for alignment and to refine the best ideas. Commit your ideas, discussion points, and arguments to writing to create a clarity that isn’t possible with verbal communication alone.
  6. Develop a forecasting model early and constantly refine it. Utilize S.M.A.R.T. research and experiments to validate or invalidate assumptions with a focus on learning the key levers that have the biggest impact on the outcomes when weighted for both probability and control. Model the impact of doing nothing at all, starting to execute a partially baked plan immediately, delaying the start, and accelerating or slowing the execution.
  7. Look at the broader value stream and a longer timeframe to identify synergies, redundancies, and comparative value-add. Learn what really matters to your customer and your customer’s customer by seeing the role you play from their perspective.
  8. Keep everything as simple as possible but no simpler. Question every bit of added complexity as to whether it adds more value than the drag on startup time, scalability and flexibility, which is always dramatically underestimated.
  9. Be clear about who owns the decision rights for all major aspects of execution and why, knowing that decision rights on a team are directly linked to experience and accountability for results.
  10. Be decisive but wait to commit until the last responsible moment as better options may present themselves. Know when that moment is by understanding the impact of delaying the decision against the probability weighted chances of a better option presenting itself.
  11. Don’t accept passive commitment from yourself or anyone else involved, but remain cautious to avoid resource constraints or unproductive overload due to well-meaning over-commitment.
  12. Execute aggressively with optimism, discipline, and the stamina to stay the course.
  13. Track progress with pragmatic metrics and milestones everyone can understand.
  14. Be just as decisive about changing course if another option with a comparatively and materially better return presents itself without forgetting that the cost of change is often higher than expected in terms of lost momentum and morale.


We exist to help contractors build stronger businesses for the next generation.

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All about D. Brown Management: Our Mission. Our Promises. Our Principles. Our Approach. OUR RESULTS: Profitable growth in all economic conditions....

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All about D. Brown Management: Our Mission. Our Promises. Our Principles. Our Approach. OUR RESULTS: Profitable growth in all economic conditions....

What Must Be True...
Asking the right strategic questions will ensure profitable growth in all economic conditions. Daily operational management is about adapting to what is currently true. Effective executive leadership creatively bridges the gap between the two.
Talent Funnel - The Macro Viewpoint
To better cope with some of the talent shortages that growing contractors are facing, it is important to look at talent through a similar lens as we would sales, putting them into a funnel and approximate timelines. We have to start with the big picture.
Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act (The OODA Loop)
The OODA Loop is a decision-making framework originally developed for the military to make agility a competitive advantage. The focus on fast, localized decisions in rapidly changing environments aligns well with construction projects and businesses.