The DPR Operating Code

This article is included in the Spring/Summer 2012 edition of the DPR Newsletter.

It is hard to believe that DPR is now 22 years old. When we first started, we had a vision of the kind of culture we wanted to create and how we would differentiate ourselves from others in our industry. Our culture was expressed through a set of core values that we all shared and a very simple, but important, purpose: DPR exists to build great things.

During the early planning sessions of DPR, we also identified a set of very specific practices that would define how our company would function. We viewed these practices as being both practical and durable over the long run. While they weren’t specifically captured in a single list at the time, these practices have been the “operating code” of DPR.

Over the years, we have faced many challenges and opportunities that have both stretched us and caused us to think deeply about how we should evolve as a company. Our operating code is one tool that has been used to test our strategic concepts and direct us on how to best pursue opportunities. We have frequently revisited, and challenged, the practices outlined in this operating code. No matter the venue, or the folks involved in the discussion, we have always walked away feeling that these practices are as valid today as they were when we started and that they will undoubtedly continue to serve us in our future.

It was fun for us to learn from Jim Collins and his research for the book “Great by Choice” that practices such as these were prevalent in all the great companies that he has studied. In fact, he dedicated a chapter in his book that talks about what he ultimately defined as a SMaC recipe. According to Collins, “a SMaC recipe is a set of durable operating practices that create a replicable and consistent success formula. The word ‘SMaC’ stands for Specific, Methodical and Consistent.”

We know that many of these practices will sound familiar but wanted to share them as a complete list. These operating practices have changed little since we started and will continue to shape DPR.

  • Entrepreneurial organization
  • We are customer driven
  • No procedures manual!
  • Relationship-driven and loyal
  • Local “midsize” general contractor
  • We are builder—not a broker
  • Treat employees the way we want them to treat customers
  • We are an employee-owned organization
  • We are a technical builder
  • Understand our customer’s business as well as they do
  • Preconstruction expertise is a differentiator
  • Safest contractor of our size—all the time
  • Can-do attitude
  • Keep score!
  • Hire the best people—all the time
  • We do what we do because we love the building process