All Management Is Change Management
Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different
results simply does not and will not work.
Manager’s Reality Check:
Is this my management style? Do I keep steering my company down the same path because I’m familiar with the route? Do I do things because that’s the way we’ve always done it? Do I resist investing in “novel” innovations because I feel comfortable with “tried and true” building methods? Do I hear myself saying, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it”?
If anything is certain in the construction industry it’s that change is permanent and nothing is certain. The problem-solving instrument we call our mind denies this. After all, its natural function is to take in stimuli, abstract future danger, and execute avoidance measures. As our mind collects data it forms a view of the world. This emerging world-view gradually becomes more familiar, and we become more comfortable with it. We begin to adopt cherished, but often inaccurate, beliefs. They make us feel safe. Our tendency is to try to ignore the startling reality that the world we have become familiar with, and comfortable in, no longer exists. It changed the moment we observed it. And it continues to change. Construction market patterns, trends, innovations, technology, labor, and capital sources keep shifting in both direction and intensity.
Uncertainty is our constant companion. Decisions regarding contracts, employment, and investment become less certain. We begin to accept the uncomfortable reality that we cannot predict the future with any measurable degree of accuracy. Experience tells us that we should not expect the future to arrive as we may have hoped or planned for. But as we become more uncomfortable with the ever-shifting sands beneath our firm’s foundation, we begin to awaken.
What does this mean to us? You need to expect change. You need to anticipate it rather than resist it. Managing in a fluid business environment becomes a challenge that requires construction executives to recognize, measure, and react to the inevitable fluctuations in the construction business climate and the overall economy. Reaction needs to morphs into pro-action as you, now anticipating change, warm to the task of a lightning-fast response to potential market downturns, labor shortages, commodity inflation, stricter regulation, and capital costs. Eventually, a lightning-fast response becomes your pro-active anticipation of change. I like to call this the realistic, well balanced management style of the Successful Contractor of the Future.
As I said, all management is change management. If we were living in a world that had achieved equilibrium, management of any kind would be unnecessary. Everything would be on auto-pilot. It takes a skilled and limber management to navigate a construction company through the choppy seas of the ever-changing business environment. The successful construction manager of the future will:
- Recognize the constant nature of change in everything.
- Continuously Anticipate change.
- Redefine hope. (Hope is wishful thinking without data.)
- Measure the impact of impending change.
- Forget being lucky – instead be ready.
- Build flexibility into their construction organization.
- Reconsider the safe feeling of “tried and true”. (It is too often an illusion that ignores the fluid nature of the universe.)
- Teach everyone in their organization to be limber.
- Value versatility above experience.
- Plan for the unexpected.
- Become more comfortable with uncertainty.
We Need to Stop:
Trying to get everything right to be dealing from a “pat hand.”
Thinking we can bet on a sure thing.
Assuming the old way is always the best way.
We Need to Start:
Recognizing and embracing the fluid nature of business.
Enjoying the challenge of managing into an uncertain future
Being more limber than steady.
Being inquisitive rather than right.
Are you a realistic, well balanced Manager of the Future?