Blog

Jul 7 2014

Clouds and Silver Linings

Higher levels of precipitation and unusually cold weather in 2014 have certainly increased the challenge of site construction activity in our region. There have been days when work has ceased completely, and other times when the weather has made working quite difficult and costly – and our industry known for its perseverance has pressed on.

These weather patterns have illustrated the fact that we don’t control the clouds that pass overhead.

Even though we can’t control whether or not clouds move into our lives or across our projects, we can control how we respond to them. I like to envision we’re each given a can of paint and a brush. It’s our responsibility to paint a silver lining around the clouds that pass overhead. Silver linings appear around a cloud because there is something brighter behind it. Even though it may be difficult to see at times, we have faith it is there.

In a literal sense, many times there is a silver lining behind unusual obstacles. Strategizing how to overcome an obstacle often creates an opportunity to connect with customers, business partners and associates at a deeper level of understanding their true needs.  The intensity of approval- or weather-related delays offers the opportunity to fine-tune a project plan, enhance communication with the team or others involved, and set up an efficient work schedule when tangible progress resumes.

However, even though we cannot control the clouds that pass overhead, I have observed times when difficult situations could have been avoided entirely – or the effects diminished significantly. For example, a contractor would not be operating in anyone’s best interest if they did not coordinate their work with other trades on the site. Good project coordination by contractors fosters increased safety, reducing delays and re-work. We know that it takes thoughtful planning with everyone involved to develop a project that runs smoothly.

Sometimes we see others dealing with situations that were their responsibility to control in the first place. Perhaps they should have taken more time to plan, or communicated with others earlier about changes.

To create our own silver linings and avoid frustrating situations, I submit the following actions:

  1. Look at what we are able to control in the situation. Remember, we can’t control the clouds overhead, but we can control how we respond to them.
  2. Ask ‘How can I influence this situation toward a more positive outcome?’ Perhaps more thoughtful planning, timely communication or different conduct could lessen the negative impact.
  3. Finally, to the extent that we cannot do either of the first two things, establish the mindset that it is our responsibility to deal with it and work around it.

A lot of the challenges in life and business can be resolved when we keep these ideals in order. Don’t fret about what you cannot control; instead, welcome the responsibility to create a silver lining by your actions.

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