Steve McGough is president and CEO of HCSS, a trusted leader in construction software for estimating, field entry, project management, safety, digital plans, 3D drone imaging, fleet management, and telematics. Below is a brief Q&A about leadership and the success of HCSS. 

What do you believe are the qualities of a true leader? How do these qualities drive success in a company? 

MCGOUGH: True leadership starts with selfless service, respect, loyalty, and integrity.

Integrity gives employees, customers, vendors, and partners the confidence that the interactions they have with the company will be grounded in trust. We all come from different backgrounds and cultures, and it is respect for our differences that gives us the unity to build a great company. 

Selfless service means asking your team, “How can I be of service?” It lays the groundwork that your job as the leader is to remove obstacles so your team can perform at the highest level. Loyalty gives your team the assurance that you believe in them and the value they bring to the company. 

What specific attributes of leadership motivate a workforce? How? 

MCGOUGH:: Confidence, vulnerability, and ethical behavior are the key motivating attributes of a leader: confidence that you can move the company forward; vulnerability, in that we are all human and at our best when we are open and transparent instead of closed; and being ethical in everything you do as you set the foundation for how you conduct business.

How does leadership drive company growth?

MCGOUGH: A leader’s role is to envision the future, to help other people see that vision and how they fit into it, and to hire in the right people they can trust to be the experts in their field and execute on that vision. As a leader, you have to be a force multiplier—by putting the right people in the right roles with the right priorities and clearing any obstacles in their way, you multiply their efforts far beyond what you could do if you tried to control or execute everything yourself. 

What do you see trending in the construction industry with respect to leadership in the field and in the back office?

MCGOUGH: We’re seeing people find leadership in unexpected places as companies trust their employees with more. Some of the leading construction companies have taken a look at software and said, “What happens if I put these technological tools in the hands of someone I normally wouldn’t, like a foreman?” And what they’ve found is that when people are trusted with the information needed to make good decisions, they propel the company forward in ways they simply aren’t empowered to do without those tools. Leaders reveal themselves at all levels of the company, and companies that are willing to invest in those people who step up, to equip them with information and training, and to trust them to step into roles that make them stretch are seeing huge returns. It’s critically important as we see seasoned construction employees start to retire and the next generation move into those roles.

How will construction software shape the construction industry in the next 3 to 5 years?

MCGOUGH: Through the continued digitization of data. Obviously, digital processes replacing paper processes has cost and time savings, but what’s more important is how transparent data across the entire organization leads to better day-to-day business decisions. Having daily insight into how jobs are performing lets businesses catch mistakes before they happen and leaders make better decisions about what opportunities to pursue with their limited resources. Keeping everyone on the same page reduces or eliminates rework. And giving people in the field immediate feedback on how they’re doing keeps them aligned and empowers them to adjust in real time. 

How will HCSS contribute to the construction industry?

MCGOUGH: Our products have been at the forefront of this for the last 35 years. We will continue to make companies more efficient with the digital flow of data, thus helping companies make better business decisions. Our industry is facing a severe workforce shortage and will have to learn to do more with fewer people. This is where HCSS can help fill the gap, as every incremental step we can remove or make more efficient for our customers requires fewer employees moving forward.

What makes HCSS a 14-time Best Place to Work?

MCGOUGH:: We hire friendly and helpful employees that want our customers and fellow employees to succeed, and then we empower them to do just that. Our culture is built on values, not restrictive policies, so when an employee wants to make something right for the customer or support a peer, they do that, and they have the company’s support in doing that. We build in a lot of ways for customers and employees to talk directly with each other so they can build long-term relationships and really get to know what customer’s problems are and how they can solve them. When someone sees an opportunity that might not exist in our current structure or may not fit their current role, they’re encouraged to shape their role toward the best solution for that opportunity and for their growth.


MCGOUGH: I’ve been at HCSS for 17 years, and stepping into the role of CEO is not only gratifying and exciting, but it also feels like a very natural next step for the company. We’re a unique kind of place, and anyone at the helm of this business really has to understand our culture well. I have a vision of where we’re going next, and I’m very excited to lead us to the next stage of growth and the next phase of supporting the construction industry. 

For More Information:

HCSS is the trusted leader in construction software for estimating, field entry, project management, safety, digital plans, 3D drone imaging, fleet management, and telematics. With 24/7 instant support and a proven implementation process, HCSS has helped improve operations for over 3,500 companies ranging from $1M to billions in revenue across the United States and Canada. HCSS, a 14-time Best Place to Work in Texas, has a unique 12-acre campus in Sugar Land, Texas, with three buildings capable of housing 700 employees. For more, visit

Modern Contractor Solutions, June 2022
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