In construction, fail is a bad four-letter word. Nobody likes to fail. But stigmatism aside, mistakes are a way for us to figure out what needs to be done better the next time. At the very least, you learn from your failures what not to do. What you can do better next time is a healthy approach in construction.
If you want to be innovative, there is a mindset involved. It can be fun and exciting, but it can also have its complications. Innovation involves people, processes, communication, collaboration, emotional intelligence, change management, confidence. Often you must believe you are making the right decisions, then figure out where you can improve your skills. Flexibility is critical in these situations.
Software changes. The workforce changes. Sometimes you have to look at what has brought success to other companies similar to yours and give that a try. In the meantime, it’s not all fun and fascination. You need to keep your workforce motivated and keep the end in sight. Implementing innovative workflows requires that team members collaborate, support each other and have trust in each other. Value has to be derived from your innovations – it needs to make financial sense to the company in addition to being trendy.
We all have an opportunity to reach out to younger members of the workforce, whether that is through speaking at high schools or during career days. People who have careers in the industry can play a part in the upcoming workforce catching a vision for what’s possible for their lives in construction trades. From a very young age, they need to understand that they have a lot of potential to do something great, and what that might look like in the construction industry. And all of us in the industry benefit from them realizing that and joining the workforce in a specialty trade.
One way to engage their imaginations is by showcasing the innovations now prevalent in construction – like robotics, drones, 3D modeling, and artificial intelligence for generative design. Construction isn’t just about driving a bulldozer or sitting behind a desk churning out drawings. When someone in high school is wondering what to do with their life, it can make a tremendous impact when adults care enough to share the aspects of their job experiences.
And as we bring these new members of the workforce into construction, we can expect a certain amount of trial and error. Again, mistakes will be a way for them to figure out what to do differently the next time as they build their construction careers.
Tune in to episode 81 of the Bridging the Gap podcast, where Cliff Cole and I talk about developing the mindset for construction innovation.