Change with the Times

We find ourselves at the end of another year, and what a year it has been! Historical high and low gas prices, people watching their retirement funds vaporize before their eyes and American voters making a historic presidential election. As the world around us continues to change at an accelerated pace, it might be a good time to take a long hard look at the people with whom you are working. Are the people around you keeping up with the changes in the world or are they bobbing for air?

We have all witnessed a tremendous amount of change recently, and as the world changes so does the design/build industry. How many changes have occurred in your company this year? Did you make a conscious decision to reduce your overhead and staff, or did it just happen by default because of economic considerations?

Many of us business owners must to continue to evolve, develop and create new ideas that will keep our companies financially stable with room to grow. When employees hear the word change at the workplace, it often triggers the classic deer-in-the-headlights look of panic. They quickly speculate that there might be accountability issues, training to learn new concepts and over-enthusiastic, long-winded consultants who will force them to improve their professional behavior. Once the word change is out there, it generally takes about two minutes before the complaining and whining begins: “Why do we have to change the way we do things? We’ve always done things like this. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.”

When you have surveyed your company and taken a good long look around, have you ever thought: “Some of these people just don’t get it.” Perhaps people are saying that about you. Have you asked yourself: Do I get it or am I one of those people who think I get it and have convinced myself that others don’t get it? Many of us are legends in our own minds (myself included) because we are only seeing the world through our minds’ view.

Getting it requires a few ingredients. The first ingredient comes from within you. Passion! If you love doing what you do, you will never work another day in your life. The second component is developing an acute awareness of marketplace; how your company functions within it and your professional growth and behavior development. Being in the right place at the right time takes practice, practice and more practice. The final and third ingredient is taking action on life’s playing field. In the words of Benjamin Franklin: “Well done is better than well said.” All talk and no action will yield no results.

Now take a look around you. Who are you working with? Are your co-workers there just to collect a paycheck, or perhaps they don’t have a clue as to what is happening in the world or even in their own neighborhood? What about those people who consistently complain about everything and everybody, but will do nothing to help fix the problem? Do you know anyone like this?

American companies lose billions of dollars every year due to employees wasting time and being nonproductive. Many employers find employees surfing the Web, having personal conversations on their cell phones on company time, taking long lunches and so on. Do they get it? No. Are they to blame? Yes and no. If the employer fails to set up clear expectations, the employees will take advantage of the situation and push the boundaries. During the employee’s interview they agreed to work eight hours for eight hours pay, but if you break the day down hour by hour you’re lucky if they are working four to five hours. So, in the end who really gets it? Unfortunately, it is always the life-sustaining, paying customer, that’s who. They end up paying for underdeveloped design, poor craftsmanship and terrible customer service all because a few people are coasting through their jobs.

This year make it a goal to find quality people who have passion for their craft. Employ those with good business skills, fierce determination with a healthy awareness of themselves and their surroundings. Most importantly find someone who has the willingness to take action from start to finish and accepts accountability for their actions. Finally, never stop working on you, because you are the best thing going for yourself.