Ask any business owner, executive or manager about their most powerful asset. The answer will likely be: our people.
Without question, this holds true for construction professionals. Just like any workplace, our culture, relationships, and talents are critical for success. Although construction has a unique set of challenges in the face of the rapidly-changing technological aspect of our society, the people in our industry will make all the difference when it comes to bridging this gap.
We’ll start with what we know: our people are our strongest asset. Visit a construction site, and you’ll likely hear about the brotherhood that exists between every person working on that project. And just like the people themselves, these close relationships – which have always been at the core of construction – are the key to getting our industry to embrace new technologies and ways of thinking that can benefit the individual worker, the project and the company.
For example, in many other industries, some employers may assume they have a disaster on their hands when two workers separated by generations work closely together. But the beauty of the construction industry is what sets it apart: despite the multi-generational makeup of construction job sites and projects, every person – from specialized labor roles up through management – is truly dedicated to helping one another succeed.
Let’s consider the makeup of our current workforce. Our longest-serving employees are Baby Boomers, who display an admirable post-WWII ethic, specialized skill sets, and dedication to management and professionalism, but are also slow to adopt new technology. (Not to mention that Boomers are retiring in droves, leaving a staggering 75 percent of skilled worker positions open, and contributing to the industry’s labor shortage). On the other end of the spectrum, Millennials are coming into play. They grew up on computers and technology, and are enthusiastic with innovation and visions of the future. Then in the middle, you have Generation X. Gen Xers, born between 1961 and 1981, tend to be revenue generators and relationship builders who thrive with praise and feedback.
It seems at odds, doesn’t it? Three unique skill sets held by generations decades apart, existing within a single job site. But Boomers can benefit with the adoption of technology, and younger generations can certainly learn all there is to know about professionalism and work ethic from their older colleagues. Here is the recipe for success: management and companies must invest in their people to create a winning culture where all generations have an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of all generations, support generational cross-training and leadership, and work together to create synergy.
When combined with investing in technology, this cross-training approach will help address the labor shortage facing the industry by attracting talent – from all generations. Organizations that change with the times serve as industry thought leaders, with the unique ability to work successfully across all generations.
Of course, everything is always more challenging in practice than in theory, but it becomes simpler as soon as we start with our people. It will open them up to considering new technologies and professional techniques, as they work closely together and begin to talk across generations. Once this happens, Millennials may find themselves with a Boomer willing to try new technology, and younger colleagues eager to show how a technology can provide a legitimate shortcut that still gets the work done in an optimal fashion.
Take, for example, the smartphone – 85 percent of adults in the U.S. own one, but only 35 percent of workers use their smartphones on-site for business needs. For the innovative construction company, these devices are an incomparably powerful asset that is just beginning to be tapped.
One primary way to use smartphones in the field is to leverage the power of voice. The power of voice means simply leveraging the effectiveness of voices, combined with technology, to increase productivity, efficiency and accuracy.
Voice-driven technology applications have been around for years. In the past, such software has been unpredictable and challenging. But today, the technology has advanced to become more user-friendly, reliable, and widely available. And the benefits to voice- driven technology include productivity, accuracy, and time-savings for your team.
Employees of all generations can use the power of voice for dramatically-improved, more robust documentation by harnessing this technology for reporting.
Each generation can now see the benefit of reporting incidents in real-time, versus the old days of waiting and calling between different locations. With technologies on the market today, construction teams are able to report using simply their phone and their voice. Speaking notes into any smartphone, adding photos or videos, and generating professional daily reports. Such software also allows safety issues to be reported and escalated, ensuring action can be taken – all in real time.
Beyond safety, technology now available in our industry can help reduce risk, thereby significantly reducing the occurrence of litigation and disputes. Incidents can be reported as they happen, and information mobility means that all relevant team members are immediately connected on devices to manage the crisis as it unfolds.
In this industry, we are privileged to have a workforce made of people who love to help one another. As technology becomes more and more a part of everyday industry life, leveraging the generational synergies by implementing collaboration will be of unparalleled importance for successful technology implementation. And regardless of whether an employee stays at a company for decades or moves on, the seed has been planted: success is defined by investing in your people and by giving your co-worker bankable assets and talents they can use throughout their lives. In our industry, our people make sure to always do the right thing for colleagues, and always take the extra time to help one another. That’s what this brotherhood is all about.
Author -Lauren Wiswall
The decision to take a vacation, nap, or step away from your desk can be difficult for any busy executive to make. As responsibilities increase, so does the pressure to perform and the worry that comes with it. Though we live in modern times, our physical response to stress is prehistoric.
When our ancestors evolved the inborn stress response we still harbor today, they were surviving on the Savannas of Africa, where threats were often a matter of life and death. As a result, we now live with what is commonly referred to as the “fight or flight” stress response. Since threats on the Savanna posed a greater risk to survival than opportunities, our brain is wired to quickly recognize and flag threatening experiences negatively. Consequently, negative experiences tend to be more salient in memory and easier to recall than positive ones. Dr. Rick Hanson, author of the New York Times bestseller Hardwiring Happiness, calls this phenomenon the negativity bias. According to Dr. Hanson, it takes five positive interactions to psychologically undo one negative interaction.
Understanding the biological basis of our behavior can help us notice and cope with stress more skillfully. When we sense a threat, part of our brain called the amygdala acts like an alarm bell, initiating the “fight or flight” response. In this state, our bodies are flooded with stress hormones and we become more reactive. As Daniel Goleman, Ph.D., author of the New York Times bestseller Emotional Intelligence, explains in his article A Relaxed Mind is a Productive Mind:
“When we’re under stress, the brain secretes hormones like cortisol and adrenaline that in the best scenario mobilize us to handle a short-term emergency, but in the worst scenario create an ongoing hazard for performance. In that case, attention narrows to focus on the cause of the stress, not the task at hand.”
Chronic stress leads to lowered mood, increased anxiety, disturbed nervous system functioning, and disrupted hormone balance. Under stress, we tend to overestimate threats, underestimate opportunities, and underestimate our inner and outer resources. We update these appraisals with information that confirms them and we ignore, devalue, alter, and augment information that doesn’t. Stress can narrow our focus and derail us from reaching our goals. We begin searching for ways to reduce the stress itself rather than tackling the tasks we originally set out to accomplish. The more stressed we become, the more difficult it is to discern the root of the problem, creating a seemingly endless, self-defeating cycle. Worse yet, this stress response can spread from leadership to the rest of the team, known as mood contagion.
Mood contagion spreads in milliseconds, below conscious awareness, and it can have supportive or oppressive effects throughout an entire organization. For example, if a leader smiles often and shows signs of contentment, the organization will have a more relaxed and easy-going tone. The leader’s actions rub off on others, triggering similar behaviors among followers. Positive interactions create chemical bonds between people and shared behaviors and experiences unify teams. Moreover, being in a good mood helps people absorb information more effectively and respond more creatively. By paying close attention to these interconnections and managing them carefully, leaders can directly impact their team’s productivity and their organization’s bottom line.
Since leaders tend to have the most power and influence in their organizations, they have the greatest responsibility for knowing what they are feeling and managing the contagion they spread to others. Executive coaching can help busy executives identify triggers and take steps to manage stressors and reduce anxiety. Moreover, spending time with a model of positive leadership provides an opportunity for us to experience, internalize, and ultimately emulate what we observe. Managing stress at the top can have far-reaching implications throughout the entire organization. With this in mind, leaders can benefit from practicing relaxation techniques and learning ways to manage the stress and anxiety they are burdened with.
Author – Mark Faust Sr.
“Constraints beget greater innovation—not just because innovation is good but because it is a requirement for survival.”
How often have you heard one of the following requests? “We need to hire more people. I’m overworked.” Or “We need the latest and greatest equipment. We’re losing too much time.” Or “I need more capital to invest.” But the fact is, communication and awareness ameliorate angst and frustration.
People tend to support that which they help to create. You will get greater engagement from the team if you have open and quality dialogue about how all organizations have limited resources. A core management practice is to discern how to best balance those resources, not just hope for more. Involve your team in the decision-making process by asking for people to share opinions or asking them to prioritize and justify resource requests (quantifying the expected ROI, for example.) Teams are more likely to support final decisions when their voices have been heard or they have contributed directly.
Like siblings who remember scraping by together, teams can develop camaraderie when you create a turnaround mindset and purposely point out the challenge of limited resources. Rather than being a manager who acts like a harsh parent, you can find great value in being a pioneer in the frontier who proposes, “No matter what this environment dishes out, we’re going to beat it—and not just survive but thrive!”
Constraints often birth advantage. “Necessity is the mother of invention. If it weren’t for the lack of ___, then we would have never achieved ___.”
You hear it all of the time. Small organizations bootstrap their way to success. But the fact is, this isn’t just in spite of their lack of resources. It is frequently because they lack resources. Constraints beget greater innovation—not just because innovation is good but because it is a requirement for survival.
My firm kicks off innovation sessions with clients using questions like:
- If our company were legally unable to sell to any of our existing customers and markets, then how could we adapt to keep the company afloat?
- If we were legally unable to sell to anyone other than existing customers, then how could we adapt to this constraint and grow the company?
- If we were required to cut expenses at X% but could not lay off one employee or stop one production area, then how might we achieve that objective?
- If we were prevented from having access to ___ resources and could only use ___ resources to deliver ___ results, then how might we accomplish our current production targets?
- If we eliminated the following products and services, then how could we still hit our current growth objectives?
- If we had no access to any new capital, then how could we still grow the company by X%?
Don’t fear your constraints, but embrace them. Any company, military or other organization can benefit from being the underdog—smaller, younger or constrained in resources. Embrace the turnaround mindset, and leverage your weaknesses into strengths.
For more ideas on how to facilitate profitable innovation at your company, you can listen here to the innovation section of Growth or Bust! Proven Turnaround Strategies to Grow Your Business https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-9xgqf-acfb6b
Ideal Strategic Partners Launches IdeaPath©, a Proven Process to Significantly Increase Entrepreneurs’ Success Rate in Spearheading New Products From Initial Idea Through Market LaunchPRESS RELEASE UPDATED: JAN 21, 2021
SAN DIEGO, January 21, 2021 (Newswire.com) – Ideal Strategic Partners, an innovative solutions partner to startups and entrepreneurs, provides the necessary resources and expertise needed to maximize the opportunity for success. Through its team of experts and Partner Advisor network, Ideal Strategic Partners engages with entrepreneurs and business owners who are seeking the level of direct experience required to best develop and market new products.
“In conjunction with our unmatched team of experts, the IdeaPath© process allows entrepreneurs to accelerate new product development by advancing ideas to reality. When startups partner with us, they have access to experts and resources needed to be successful, backed by IdeaPath©, a proven, highly effective operational process,” said John Roshala, Managing Partner, Ideal Strategic Partners.
IdeaPath© is a unique process that was developed specifically for entrepreneurs seeking a highly effective and regimented program with a strategic partner to become their operational leadership team. This process is designed to provide real-world applications from experienced Partner Advisors and a team with a vested interest in the success of the entrepreneur.
“Ideal Strategic Partners understands the evolution of new ideas from concept to successful market launch, so we partner with entrepreneurs and utilize IdeaPath©along with a world-class team of experts,” said Scott Moffat, Head of Partner Recruitment. “IdeaPath© delivers value to the bottom line by reducing the costs typical of launching a new business and utilizing an unparalleled level of support to achieve success.”
Ideal Strategic Partners was founded with a simple and noble mission: To Make Entrepreneurs’ Dreams Come True. The company focuses on providing the operational components to support entrepreneurs. Ideal Strategic Partners has a vested interest in its partners’ success and utilizes a disciplined process backed by an experienced team of experts in a multitude of industries to build and launch manufactured products or software applications. Visit us at www.idealstrategicpartners.com or for more information on IdeaPath©, visit us at www.ideapath.info.
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Source: Ideal Strategic Partners
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