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In Construction Leadership, Blind Spots Spell Trouble

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By David Nour

When a company’s top leadership has blinders on, trouble will follow. The first clue that this condition exists is doing the same things over and over again, expecting different results. To assume “We’re leaders in our field for a reason. If we keep doing what we’ve always done, our market will continue to reward us” is fundamentally flawed. Construction company leaders need to understand that you are not just competing against each other, but competing for a share of the spending power of your clients. Customers always have a choice, and that includes substitutes you may never have imagined could impact your bottom line. Remaining relevant to choice-conscious buyers is your fundamental purpose, not protecting the status quo.

Your next generation of buyers looks nothing like the last.

If you haven’t noticed the changing market preferences and tastes of Millennials, you are wearing blinders. These are tomorrow’s customers. With the construction industry picking up steam, it is easy to become complacent. Total  construction starts are predicted to rise to nine percent in 2015. (Source: Electrical Contractor magazine.)  After years of two percent growth, that sounds great. But if leaders began innovating around the pains and gains of their next generation of customers, they could see double-digit growth. Unfortunately, I see little sign the construction industry recognizes the demographic shift underway.

If you want to avoid blind spots, don’t put the blind in charge.

A large problem facing the construction industry is a stale mindset. Too often, leadership succession means one old-guard face is replaced with another just as “male, pale and stale.” Few recall what a fresh perspective is. Shuffling the organization chart keeps the blind in control. Not good.

Imagine what fresh perspective could bring.

Innovation isn’t necessarily about your products and services. It can also be about how your business model challenges the status quo. For example, take a look at your strategic relationship priorities. Are you centered on the interests of your supply chain partners, with little thought to your customer experience? If you flipped that priority, it would fundamentally differentiate you from competitors. You cannot continue to hold your company to the standard of your peers. Until you raise your eyes from the rut you are in, and look outside your industry for inspiration, you have no chance of discovering an innovation that can fuel new growth. Your blind spots will persist. And blind spots spell trouble.

Takeaways

  1. If you find your company repeating the same behaviors, but expecting different results, you have blind spots.
  2. Millennials’ market preferences and tastes will radically challenge your old assumptions. Start sensing market trends.
  3. Don’t measure yourself against peers. Look outside your industry for fresh perspective.

David Nour is an enterprise growth strategist and the thought leader on Relationship Economics® —the quantifiable value of business relationships. He is the author of several books including the best selling “Relationship Economics— Revised” (Wiley), “ConnectAbility” (McGraw-Hill), “The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Raising Capital” (Praeger) and “Return on Impact—Leadership Strategies for the age of Connected Relationships” (ASAE). Learn more at www.NourGroup.com. David may be reached at dnour@nourgroup.com.

Have an idea for a guest blog for Construction Today? Contact alan.dorich@phoenixmediacorp.com or jim.harris@phoenixmediacorp.com.