Some Thoughts on Thankfulness

A couple of recent anecdotes...

First, a colleague recently told me about an exchange he had early in his career. His boss, who was a West Point Graduate and served in Viet Nam, had a way of putting things into perspective. After a particularly tough negotiation with an unreasonable and sometimes unprofessional vendor, he complained to his boss how difficult the process was. His boss pointed out that no one was trying to kill him, no one was shooting at him or his colleagues, and at the end of the day he got to go to his family and home.

How to Get That “Ah Ha!” Moment - Broadening Perceptions through Collaboration

Coming out of a meeting with a number of my peers, I was impressed by the various innovative strategies and approaches that many companies are taking. We are all faced with challenges, including new technologies, a changing workforce (especially in engineering and construction), and the agility with which executives are walking the fine line between short term financial goals and long term investing.

What is the "New Normal"?

Back in March of 2009, as the financial and real estate meltdown was occurring, McKinsey & Company issued an assessment where they posited, “This much is certain: when we finally enter into the post-crisis period, the business and economic context will not have returned to its pre-crisis state.” Whatever the “new normal” will be, it will not be the same.

A New Strategy: Embrace Change and Simplify

Over the past few weeks, I have come across a number of talks and articles that promote the idea of simplification in our lives. Futurist author Jack Uldrich has written books on the topic of “unlearning”. In fact, he refers to himself as the Chief Unlearning Officer of his consulting company. He quotes a philosopher who said, “To gain knowledge, learn something new every day. To gain wisdom, unlearn something new every day.”

Always Selling. Always Competing.

Every day, we are consumed by the daily tasks of our lives. For those of us engaged in the design and construction of facilities that will be used to employ people, house equipment and run businesses, our work is complex, challenging and typically, unique. Nonetheless, our daily tasks can become routine and our focus may rest on the tasks, rather than the end result those tasks are organized to deliver.

Be Prepared to Sell: Are you ready to listen?

Good ListeningI recently attended a major tradeshow in Las Vegas, which in terms of potential return on our investment in the show, was probably one of the best I have ever attended. Many tradeshows are attended by the same people, who are there to see what is new, stay abreast of current market trends and do some old fashioned, face-to-face networking.

So, what made this show different?

Corporate Culture - Cult or Cultivation?

Corporate CultureI recently read an article online on hiring people for the “right fit”. Meaning, “Did they fit the corporate culture?” The author’s point was that hiring for the right cultural fit may be the wrong thing to do – that it may promote a lack of diversity in personality types and work styles in the company that may stifle its growth.

Job Trends in Architecture, Engineering and Construction

Job Trends in Architecture, Engineering and ConstructionA recent (September 16, 2013) edition of Engineering News Record (ENR) contained three articles that were fascinatingly related. First, an economics piece stating that the jobless rate in the construction industry has “leveled off” at 9.1%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Keeping Safe at Home - Fire Prevention Week

Fire Prevention WeekSafety is such a critical element to success in business. There is a specific discipline to implementing safe practices - preparation, orderliness, organization, etc., so that an organization that prioritizes safety is bound to be a better run organization. 

Common Sense Contracts

Common Sense ContractsIt used to be that business was conducted by a handshake and a written agreement to make sure both parties knew what the handshake was all about. Austin’s standard agreements for a range of applications run anywhere from 1-7 pages – not that they are used much anymore. 

Recent contracts for a variety of projects have agreements in the 100+ pages category to accomplish the same thing that was once done in 5 or 6 pages. What gives?