Construction and Human Resources

Capacity vs. greed and fear

August 24, 2016
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Each week, I speak with fellow business owners who say the same thing: “We cannot find good help!”

Due to the shortage of qualified candidates, they are forced to turn away work, posing a frustrating conundrum.

I agree with their decision and applaud them for saying “no,” because how else will they maintain a reliable brand and secure their customers’ loyalty?

Some in our industry believe in taking on all of the work they're able to acquire with the resolve that they will figure out later how to get it all done. These are the folks who inevitably are unable to deliver on their promises, resulting in disappointed customers. So why would they take on more than they can handle? I believe overcommitting in business is a function of greed and/or fear.

In the midst of the Great Recession, we all struggled to find ample work to keep all of our resources engaged. On a daily basis, we were wrought with the anxiety of an unknown future. Layoffs and downsizing were the norm. Today, for the moment, work appears plentiful. “Make hay while the sun shines” is what my grandfather used to say. However, I am not sure if this statement was based in fear or greed.

Like every other company, our firm wants to maximize business in this economy, but we also realize that we need to flawlessly execute any work we commit our resources to. We believe that there are times — for the good of the company — that we have to say, “NO” (as in, Never Overcommit). In our business, we are looking for the healthy balance between “capitalizing on opportunity” and creating reasonable “backlog comfort” to hold fear at bay, while keeping in mind the limited nature and value of our resources.

I’m really excited by what 2016-17 holds in store for us. We have a great backlog of work regionally and nationally and are selectively pursuing projects and placing personnel where we know we can serve owners at the highest level. We are blessed to have a magnetic culture that continues to attract excellent people, allowing us to accept even more work…but not too much!

Are you dangerously overcommitted?

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