Making the Most of Your Year-end Activities

Each year, as we approach the end of the year, there is a definitive change of pace for just about everyone in the engineering and construction industry. Some projects underway are accelerated to achieve certain year-end goals. Others are delayed until funding is available after the first of the year when the new year’s budgets become available. If you live in northern climates, you may try to get as much of the civil and concrete work done before the really cold weather sets in.

Holidays also take their toll on efforts to maintain a fast pace in our business. Remaining vacations get squeezed in, just at a time when it seems that the other half of the world is also taking off. Accounting departments are working longer hours, though, as they endeavor to close out the month and year. Personally, I sense the change of pace simply in the low number of emails I get.

In short, the pace of work changes and in doing so, we find ways to adapt to the demands of the changes. This change is good because it demands flexibility and resourcefulness. And, while it is harder on some departments in a company, e.g. accounting, for a company overall, it gives  you an opportunity to assess what ruts you may have gotten into and therefore, a chance to do things to get out of them.

So, once you’re out of that rut, how does the terrain look? Year-end is a good time to rededicate ourselves to the tactics we need to take to improve our own personal performance – our New Years’ Resolutions. I like to focus annual reviews on how we are going to improve. Fundamentally, as I have said before, if we are not focused on improving our performance, then we fall behind our competitors who are always looking for ways to improve.

Cleveland Browns Linebacker and team captain D’Qwell Jackson said yesterday after their loss to the Steelers, that if “you get out of a game like this with your health, then it’s a good day.” I have a hard time with that sentiment. The goal in professional sports is to win, not simply compete. Just like in business, the goal is to make profit, not just design and build projects. It is the profit that drives continued investment and growth, provides job security, challenging projects, and opportunity for everyone involved in the endeavor.

So, what are you going to do differently in 2014 to improve your overall contribution to the effort of the team that you are on? As you get ready to launch into the New Year – a year of hope, opportunity and challenges, what is your plan to make it the best year yet?


"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense."

Ralph Waldo Emerson


“Never mistake activity for achievement."

John Wooden