When it comes to the way things have always been done, it’s tough to know what processes to keep and discard. A high-level attitude is important when considering the comings and goings of great companies of yesteryear. Often the ones that became complacent are the ones that are gone – for instance Solyndra Solar, Iomega, Compaq, Polaroid, Blockbuster.
Every industry grows through incremental innovation. So, it benefits all of us to embrace a growth mindset in construction. At the same time, there are barriers that stymie progress.
There are construction companies that have become complacent. The construction industry is backlogged right now, so it may not be obvious to busy companies that they need to innovate. They’ve profited from doing things the same way for a long time, and staff have become resistant to change. Being in a reactive mode places a company in greater peril. By the time you realize you need to change, the change has passed by. At that point, the pack leaders are ahead of you.
Change and innovation are important in a company to keep it healthy and relevant. You are either part of the disruption, or you will be disrupted. Playing it safe does not enable your company to be agile in the face of disruption. A more agile business philosophy is an attitude of constant improvement. Companies can still optimize current projects while making incremental improvements.
Embracing change involves an adjustment of mindset, philosophy and structure. That can be difficult for a company with a successful business model. Even though some opportunities are obvious, a business owner may be hesitant to change things. It can be hard to see the big picture from inside the fray. Meanwhile, the competition could be on the leading edge of innovation and ready to overtake slower innovators.
Innovation is about solving old problems in new, more efficient, more effective ways. When you see an obvious opportunity, investigating it will involve a financial investment, but it will likely cost more in the long run to not check it out.
Offsite construction is an example of changing the paradigm around construction. The trend toward offsite/industrialized construction (IC) is going to be adopted slowly but surely. Companies that resist it will probably regret it a decade from now.
Construction companies have a role to play in IC, especially since 2020. While it’s still a small fraction of the US market, there are pressures that make it more feasible and necessary: the workforce crunch, supply chain issues, compressed schedules, safety concerns, customer demands, and contract disputes.
Being proactive means investigating the industry’s direction and steering your company that way. Success doesn’t require a major overhaul all at once. It can involve small, steady inputs of time, resources and innovation.
It’s difficult to predict when disruptions will happen, so companies need be continually innovating with smaller disruptions. When innovation is part of the culture, it facilitates the company’s success.
Tune in to episode 130 and join guests Nolan Browne and Diana Fisler as they discuss bringing a high-level attitude into the construction industry.