The restoration industry is on the frontlines of managing and responding to disasters. While it’s highly rewarding work, helping rebuild lives after catastrophe strikes can also be unpredictable and chaotic. Restorers must meet challenges with quick thinking and adaptability. 

But, where do tight systems fit in, when chaos so often spills over into business operations? How can you transform disorder into a streamlined process that also drives improvement and discourages stagnation?

Welcome back to “Winning with Workers,” the KnowHow monthly series dedicated to exploring the foundational principles for attracting and retaining the best talent in the restoration industry. Inspired by our book Winning with Workers, we spotlight different restoration leaders who embody core principles and are willing to share their secret sauce for success—so you can win, too.

This month, we’re thrilled to feature Lory Perizzolo, COO of Rocky Cross Construction North (RCCN) DKI. Lory delves into the principle of resisting operational entropy and explains how empowering employees through a culture of continuous improvement can boost operational efficiency and performance.

Want to hear more about Lory's experience and his company's outlook on their role as a communication and customer service company? Click on the podcast video below to listen to the full discussion!

Lory Perizzolo: Deeply Rooted but Never Stagnant

Growing up in a family of tradespeople, Lory felt deeply rooted in the industry from a very young age. But, deeply rooted doesn’t mean stagnant, as Lory’s professional path has taken many dynamic turns thanks to his curiosity and people-first attitude.  

Starting his career as an apprentice tile setter, Lory’s commitment to learning from those around him led to various roles within the insurance industry, from claims adjuster to team leadership positions. As he continued to meet people, ask questions, and explore possibilities, his career led him to supply chain and vendor management, to eventually taking on a national role for a major carrier.  

These experiences broadened his perspective and equipped him with a unique skill set that he would later bring to RCCN DKI in 2019 as Chief Operating Officer.

Transforming Operations at DKI with a People-First Approach

When Lory joined RCCN DKI as COO, he quickly identified the challenges ahead. The organization was facing complacency, and he observed a sense of stagnation within the team.

“I felt stale. People were going through the motions without much drive or focus,” Lory recalls.

On top of that, operational processes were lacking rhythm and predictability. 

“One of the things that has really helped us since I came on board was understanding what kind of processes were in place. After observing for a while, it was clear what changes were needed,” Lory explains.

Lory knew that to drive improvement, he needed to focus on the people within the organization. His approach centered on setting clear goals, regularly checking in as a team, and monitoring progress over time. Here are the three steps that Lory identified and implemented to drive operational excellence within his organization.

Set Clear Goals for the Year Ahead

Setting clear goals for the year ahead and having regular follow-ups has been a cornerstone of RCCN DKI’s strategy. 

According to Lory, the process includes an annual strategic planning session, where the team develops actionable items for the upcoming year. Each goal is assigned to specific individuals, who are then accountable for their progress through monthly check-ins.

Regularly Check In as a Team

Speaking of check-ins, Lory quickly recognized the need for a structured framework around how the team meets and why.

“We reestablished regular meetings with our operational team, involving everyone from project managers to production coordinators,” Lory says. But, it was important that these meetings weren’t just information dumps; they were opportunities to gather meaningful feedback on “what’s working, what isn’t, and what new ideas we could try,” Lory continues.

By fostering an environment where every team member has a voice, Lory makes goal setting clear and aligned with the needs and insights of the people on the front lines.

Watch How Things Change Year Over Year

Monitoring progress and adapting strategies are key to continuous improvement, and Lory emphasizes the importance of regular reviews to keep the company on track with its goals.

“[During our] strategic planning session, we develop our top four or five actionable items,” Lory says. “We document these goals, assign responsibilities, and follow up on them regularly.”

Documentation and follow-up help Lory monitor the business’s development year-over-year and make more informed, strategic decisions instead of falling into the trap of stagnation and repetition.

Ways to Resist Operational Entropy by Activating Your People

What exactly is operational entropy? At a high level, it’s the idea that all systems decay over time. The antidote to entropy is resisting stagnation and developing tight systems—especially in an industry prone to chaos. 

But, Lory also never loses sight of the human element powering the engine. Here are his key strategies for resisting operational entropy and driving continuous improvement by empowering employees, enhancing communication, and more.

1. Empower Staff to Succeed

Lory’s management style revolves around giving employees the autonomy to make decisions and learn from their experiences.  

“Give people the tools and resources they need to get the job done effectively, empower them with the decision-making level you're comfortable with, and get out of the way,” Lory stresses. 

This approach fosters a culture of growth and continuous improvement, so employees are motivated and proactive. 

  • Provide clear guidelines and resources for decision-making.
  • Encourage employees to take ownership of their tasks.
  • Support staff in learning from their successes and mistakes.


2. Foster Proactive Communication

No one would deny that effective communication is important. But Lory takes it a step further: he believes in promoting proactive communication. This means anticipating client needs and addressing potential issues before they start or escalate. 

Lory envisions RCNN DKI as not a restoration company, but as “a communication and customer service company.” Prioritizing proactive communication builds trust and reliability with the people you serve. 

  • Train staff to anticipate and address client needs proactively.
  • Implement regular check-ins to ensure communication is clear and effective.
  • Create a culture where feedback is encouraged and acted upon promptly.

3. Prioritize Internal Communication

Maintaining open and regular internal communication with employees is just as important as external communication. Lory has cultivated an environment where team feels comfortable sharing their ideas and feedback.  

“We found that having regular, open-ended meetings where team members could voice their thoughts and concerns was invaluable,” he explains.  

An open communication policy encourages collaboration and helps in identifying potential problems early on for a smooth operational flow. 

  • Schedule regular team meetings to discuss progress and challenges.
  • Encourage open dialogue and make it safe for team members to share their thoughts.
  • Use surveys and feedback tools to gather input from all levels of the organization.

4. Embrace Continuous Improvement

“We always talk about how we can do things better, whether it’s a process, a program, or how we allocate people to make operations more efficient,” Lory says.  

By keeping the team dynamic, responsive, and involved, the organization stays ahead of potential issues and remains adaptive to change. 

  • Regularly review and update processes to ensure they are efficient.
  • Involve team members in brainstorming sessions to generate improvement ideas.
  • Track the impact of changes and adjust strategies as needed.

5. Implement Structured Training Programs

Structured training programs are an essential piece of the puzzle that prepares employees to be confident in their roles. Lory has prioritized creating comprehensive training that covers all aspects of the job. 

“We pair new hires with experienced team members, so they understand the whole picture and feel supported in their roles,” he says. 

  • Develop detailed training manuals and materials for new hires.
  • Pair new employees with experienced mentors for hands-on learning.
  • Schedule regular training sessions to keep skills up-to-date.

6. Leverage Technology for Operational Efficiency 

Embracing technology can significantly enhance operational efficiency. Lory has integrated tools to streamline processes and improve communication within the team. 

“We use technology to track progress, manage projects, and ensure everyone is on the same page. It has made a huge difference in how we operate,” he explains. By leveraging technology, RCCN DKI has reduced manual workloads and improved overall efficiency.

  • Use technology to build your team’s playbook and track tasks and deadlines.
  • Use communication tools to keep the team connected and informed.
  • Regularly update and maintain systems to ensure they are effective.

7. Ensure Smooth Onboarding for New Hires

Lory has implemented a comprehensive onboarding process to successfully integrate new hires. 

A thorough onboarding process ensures new employees feel welcomed and supported, which is crucial for their long-term success and retention.

  • Create a detailed onboarding schedule that covers all necessary introductions and training.
  • Pair new hires with experienced mentors for their first few weeks.
  • Follow up regularly with new employees to address any concerns and ensure they are settling in well.

Key Takeaways for Resisting Operational Entropy 

Lory Perizzolo’s approach to managing RCCN DKI is grounded in practical, actionable strategies that empower employees and drive continuous improvement. Here are some rapid-fire insights from Lory to help your business thrive.

  • Stop procrastinating, start deliberately planning. Procrastination can be a significant barrier to progress. Deliberate planning ensures goals are met and the business continues to move forward. "Start with a plan and stick to it. It’s essential to have a roadmap to guide your actions and decisions." 
  • Invest in your people, they’re worth it. Your employees are the biggest and best investment for long-term success. “Good people want to be around good people. When you invest in your team, you create a supportive and motivating environment that encourages growth and retention.” 
  • Choose people who own what they’re doing, it makes life a heck of a lot easier. Hiring individuals who take ownership of their roles can transform your business. “When everyone owns what they’re doing, it creates a sense of accountability and pride, leading to higher performance and a more cohesive team.”

Remember, building a robust, empowered workforce is a continuous effort. If consistently nurtured, it promises sustained growth and resilience.

For more insights from Lory Perizzolo and to learn how RCCN DKI has achieved operational excellence, listen to the full interview on YouTube or wherever you get your podcasts!

For additional resources on empowering your workforce and driving operational success, visit