Marisol Arboleda-Diaz of Gables Construction Group On Five Things You Need To Be A Highly Effective Leader During Uncertain & Turbulent Times

Yitzi Weiner
Authority Magazine
Published in
9 min readMay 27, 2023

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Commit Don’t Quit: Maintain consistent communication with your team. demonstrate your commitment to them and your appreciation for their efforts. Listening is just as important as talking, if not more so. The desire to be heard is a basic human need. An open door policy and open lines of communication matter during turbulent times.

As part of our series about the “Five Things You Need To Be A Highly Effective Leader During Turbulent Times”, we had the pleasure of interviewing Marisol Arboleda-Diaz.

Marisol Arboleda-Diaz, Vice President of Gables Construction Group (GCG), has established herself as a pioneer in the South Florida construction business via her significant experience, leadership, and commitment to the community. Marisol is the “engine” that keeps things humming along “behind the scenes” at the company.

Thank you so much for your time! I know that you are a very busy person. Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

I was working for a construction firm at the time of the economic downturn when it went out of business. All of my experience lies within the field of construction. After assisting numerous other businesses, I was positive that I could aid GCG in their endeavors as well. Now looked like the perfect time to switch things up.

As Vice President of GCG, I draw on my background in the construction industry to make sure every project I manage is of the highest quality and meets the needs of its customers. In addition to my service on the Board of Directors, I am the first woman to be honored as Director of the Year by the Latin Builders Association (LBA). I served on the LBA’s board of directors for seven years, during which time I was both vice president and chair of the organization’s event, membership, and education committees. I reported to the office of the County Manager on construction sector issues while serving as a member of the Miami-Dade County Development Process Advisory Committee (DPAC) in 2006 and 2007. I am a member of the South Florida Builders Association as well as the National Home Builders Association, and I hold a valid roofing contractor’s license in the state of Florida. I’ve been working with GCG since 2013.

It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

The construction sector is one in which mistakes cannot afford to be made. Accidents may still happen, but it’s my job as VP of Operations to limit the fallout from them as much as possible. Customers sometimes arrive with preconceived notions of how long and how much money a project should take. By keeping prices low and standards high, we are able to keep everyone on the same page. Even if some of our clients’ wants and preferences have shifted throughout the course of a project, we have still been able to finish on schedule and within budget. Each new undertaking allows us to refine our abilities in organizing and allocating our time and materials. Progression is impossible if one does not continue their education.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

In high school, I was fortunate enough to have a mentor who taught me his 10 keys to success. All the decisions I’ve made throughout my life have been based on these guiding principles. I learned early on that if one wants to live life and attain the level of success they picture for themselves, they must devise a strategy for long-term success and survival. Despite the odds, I was determined to achieve my goals, so I constantly sought out fresh challenges and strategies to overcome them.

Extensive research suggests that “purpose-driven businesses” are more successful in many areas. When your organization started, what was its vision, what was its purpose?

Our vision and purpose have not shifted greatly over the years. This has helped us achieve significant success and ensure our long-term viability in this industry. Clients, architects, and designers can rely on us to provide the level of expertise, honesty, and quality they require for their most ambitious projects. Extraordinary real estate initiatives necessitate foresight, self-discipline, and outcomes, as well as hands-on involvement and clear lines of communication. To that end, we’ve worked hard to build a reliable and trustworthy team of experts that are dedicated to setting the bar high for the whole industry.

Thank you for all that. Let’s now turn to the main focus of our discussion. Can you share with our readers a story from your own experience about how you lead your team during uncertain or difficult times?

There are difficulties and obstacles to overcome on the route to any achievement. As a business grows in size and staff, it always experiences certain growing pains. COVID was a true test for us and countless other businesses. Major changes were made to our regular routine as a result of shortages in resources and manpower, a dearth of necessary materials, and extended project timelines. Together, we communicated effectively with customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders to set realistic expectations and keep the project going forward. Despite being put through a grueling ordeal, we managed to persevere and emerge stronger than before. We have spent years building the ideal staff to reflect our impeccable reputation.

Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the motivation to continue through your challenges? What sustains your drive?

In order to enjoy life and achieve one’s goals, I learned early on that one needs a plan for long-term success and survival. I was set on succeeding despite the obstacles. We have a family business and would like to pass it on to our children as a legacy, so we must keep going no matter what. I have zero aversion to giving something a shot to see if it works. Both my family and my religion will always have my undivided allegiance.

I’m an author and I believe that books have the power to change lives. Do you have a book in your life that impacted you and inspired you to be an effective leader? Can you share a story?

I don’t have a book, I have a highschool mentor that shared his 10 steps for success with me. These have been my guiding principles for every phase of my life.

What would you say is the most critical role of a leader during challenging times?

Leadership is the “process of social influence that maximizes the efforts of others” to achieve a shared goal. Leadership, in my opinion, has nothing to do with formal status, academic credentials, or financial rewards, especially in times of turmoil. Leadership is about how you make other people feel, and how you motivate them to buy into and carry out your vision in a way that leaves them with a sense of agency and appreciation.

When the future seems so uncertain, what is the best way to boost morale? What can a leader do to inspire, motivate and engage their team?

Leaders are responsible for setting the tone and providing motivation for their employees. An effective leader is one who leads by example and delegates decision-making to their colleagues. Many of our employees’ leadership abilities are tested on a regular basis. Whether you’re in the office discussing the next steps with a customer or out in the field implementing those plans, each moment matters. When leading a team, it’s crucial to trust individual members to use their discretion and initiative. We look forward to them filling us in on the details so that everyone is on the same page.

What is the best way to communicate difficult news to one’s team and customers?

Tell the truth wherever possible. Give a rundown of what happened, what you learned, and what you plan to do to fix it. You might also use this time to ask the group for advice. Communication like this is vital in any line of work. Your ability to handle them tactfully will be directly proportional to your ability to articulate the problem.

Explaining a problem to your team is a huge help to everyone. You lead by example, encouraging greater teamwork and maintaining accountability. Your staff respects you and looks up to you because of the outstanding impression you leave.

How can a leader make plans when the future is so unpredictable?

Strategic planning is the only way to establish the path and objectives of your firm. Leaders are the ones who typically develop comprehensive plans. Planning is essential to the development of any company. It helps us zero in on our exact goals. Planning calls for clear and intentional action on our part if we are to bring about the change we seek in our company and our field. Uncertainty is something we must deal with every day, let alone in the future. We need to take things one day at a time and make sure that our strategy can be modified to meet the evolving demands of our market.

Is there a “number one principle” that can help guide a company through the ups and downs of turbulent times?

No. Since business is not mathematics, I do not think there is a single solution to each given business problem. Business is complicated because of all the variables and factors involved. Consider your options carefully and settle on a solution that satisfies everyone involved.

Can you share 3 or 4 of the most common mistakes you have seen other businesses make during difficult times? What should one keep in mind to avoid that?

I have seen several businesses fail because they made the following mistakes:

  • Immediate Staff Termination
  • Inability to Communicate
  • Avoiding Problems and Complaints from Customers
  • Financial Mismanagement

Maintain your composure and keep the lines of communication open. In some situations, you can never have too much of a good thing. If your staff sees you spending all day in your office, they will feel the same anxiety and worry that you are experiencing.

Here is the primary question of our discussion. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things a business leader should do to lead effectively during uncertain and turbulent times? Please share a story or an example for each.

  • Commit Don’t Quit: Maintain consistent communication with your team. demonstrate your commitment to them and your appreciation for their efforts. Listening is just as important as talking, if not more so. The desire to be heard is a basic human need. An open door policy and open lines of communication matter during turbulent times.
  • Meetings Matter: Even if it’s just a quick morning meet up, hold regular business meetings to keep your team informed. It’s a good idea to have a few scheduled meetings at the beginning of the week.
  • Be Honest: Being forthright helps even in tough work conditions. Your employees will respect you more and be more willing to remain with you if you are honest about the issue at hand.
  • Be Patient: Avoid making rash choices if at all possible. Before making a choice, please give careful thought to all of the information at your disposal.
  • Be Solution- Focused: Focus on creative problem-solving as best you can during this time of uncertainty. Tell the team that you don’t know the answer right away, but that you’re working to find it.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“You can’t achieve anything in life without a small amount of sacrifice”. — Shakira

I came to the realization early on in my life that it is crucial to establish a plan for both one’s short-term success and one’s continued existence. Regardless of the obstacles that stood in my way, I was resolved to attain success. We have a family business, and because we would like to pass it on to our children as a legacy, we have no choice but to keep going no matter what the circumstances are.

How can our readers further follow your work?

Website: http://www.gablesconstructiongroup.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gablesconstructiongroup/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/gables-construction-group

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

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Yitzi Weiner
Authority Magazine

A “Positive” Influencer, Founder & Editor of Authority Magazine, CEO of Thought Leader Incubator