They say, ‘every day is a school day’, and the older I get, the more this reality is so very true.
When I began writing this article about LEARNING, I was quickly reminded this particular subject literally affects all people, in all industries, throughout humanity. Naturally, for this article, I chose to concentrate on the construction industry that I love and unfortunately, sometimes loath.
Ok, now I realise you’re all thinking, “yet another article about the same old subject”, but hold on a minute, perhaps we actually have the ability to change something – a novel idea, but entirely possible.
Let me start by stating a fact. As people, we do of course, want everything for nothing. We are hard-wired as humans to get the best bang for our buck – but at what cost?
So, to illustrate my point, let’s tell the story in a slightly different way, a fable if you will – one that might resonate with you all…
Once upon a time, in a faraway place, was the mystical location of Constructionopia.
Constructionopia was a thriving community of clients and projects all working beautifully together.
At the heart of our story stood two equal entities: ‘COST’ and ‘VALUE’. For so many years, COST was seen as a stable and friendly compatriot of VALUE – in fact, they were known to be the very best of pals. They used to work hard and play hard together, and crucially, they knew how important they were to each other. Customers and clients would welcome ‘COST and VALUE’ with open arms – it was the perfect marriage.
However, as with many mythical tales, COST was tempted to the dark side. Legend has it that COST started to hang around with the terrible twins, ‘SPEED and GREED’. Don’t get me wrong, VALUE was still invited to gatherings and was asked to make an appearance but was often left outside the circle when it came to the work and its details.
The paradox of this new relationship saw VALUE become, well, devalued!
Naturally, it didn’t take long for the customer to realise that VALUE wasn’t quite as involved on projects as it once was. But of course, most customers found SPEED and GREED to be very attractive. In fact, most clients were hopeful that everyone could all work together in harmony. However, the trouble was, SPEED and GREED were having far too much influence on the work. Worse than that, the gruesome twosome seemed to be involved everywhere!
Then, it was halfway through one particular project when it became obvious that the job was being badly affected. “Let’s get VALUE back in the room, we need to know what’s happening?”, asked the customer. But alas, VALUE was out on a limb, an outcast, and quite the shadow of its former self.
Now, the hero of our story couldn’t rest on his laurels and feel sorry for themselves, so VALUE decided to meet with COST at a secret location, and together they hatched a plan to remedy as many of the problems as they could. It was agreed that COST needed more support, which in turn would empower VALUE to swoop in and save the day.
Is this familiar to anyone? Of course, it is, we’ve all been there. The moral of this story is simple; “by empowering COST and VALUE in equal measure, we rarely deliver less than we promise, and always achieve the financial, moral and service-related goals we first agreed”.
Now, each and every one of us can recognise this story – let’s face it, we have all been seduced by greed and speed, but to what end? Well, the answer is simple, to absolutely no end! Value should always be represented as a crucial partner to Cost – no short cuts, and no compromises.
But unfortunately, our archenemies ‘Speed and Greed’ will almost certainly make an appearance soon on a project near you, so why does this happen, and When Will We Learn…?
Surely, through collaboration and a shared desire to change the way we work on projects, perhaps the story above will become more a ‘fable of old’, and not a ‘story of the future’.
I’ll end this article by reminding ourselves of the obligations we have to ourselves, our colleagues and to our beloved industry – perhaps every day will still be a school day.
Managing Director – Poppet Construction