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Shoulda Woulda Coulda

Shoulda Woulda Coulda

What amazing weather we’ve had this past week.  What did you do last Sunday?  Beach ? Walk ? Gardening? BBQ?

I read the World Economic Forum (WEF) Report, Shaping the Future of Construction A Breakthrough in Mindset and Technology

I’m sure they mean well but I have to be honest, I’ve never read so many ‘shoulds’ in my life and this prompted me to reread many other industry reports, Construction 2025 strategy, the Sector Deal, Modernise or Die.  Have you read any of these? They are all great reports talking about how we ‘should’ be:

  • lowering costs by 33%
  • Faster delivery by 50%
  • Lower emissions by 50%
  • Improve in exports by 50%
  • Investing in technology and innovation

Action is happening too.  The Construction Leadership Council are working with government and funding has been allocated as part of the Sector Deal to invest in innovation, training, digital and off-site manufacturing to boost productivity and help solve the skills crisis but it is really advanced stuff.

The WEF report has a lot of contribution from large global organisations and academics but there is one, massive piece of the puzzle missing, SME’s and Micro-businesses.

In UK construction a fairly recent economic analysis of the sector reported that 99.9% businesses are SME’s and 83% employ no more than 1 person.

Based on my experienced working with small businesses and also monitoring what is happening in Facebook groups where thousands of these small businesses are members, a huge amount have not heard of the Construction Leadership Council and aren’t aware of the targets or the work going on to improve our industry, have you?

They also have common challenges that I’ve found which they don’t necessarily know about as they mostly works in silos.  A lot of them don’t have what could be construed as the basic technology in place to help them be more productive and profitable.  Many aren’t clear on the exact levels of profit they are making on the individual projects they are working on, they aren’t using project management technology if they are working in teams to help them improve co-ordination and share information.  There are lots of ways they could systemise activities to become more productive and in turn more profitable.

So, why aren’t they putting these systems in place?  I think it’s down to cashflow and headspace.  It’s easy to feel overwhelmed like a ‘rabbit caught in the headlights’ sometimes when thinking about what to do first (hence the picture).  This is where the value of coaching comes in as I help my clients prioritise and wherever possible I will try to connect them to where they can get further support in areas outside of my expertise.

I do know support is available via membership organisations and trade bodies but if you aren’t a member, where can you go?

I’m speaking at MIPIM in a couple of weeks which is a massive property and construction exhibition in Cannes.  The programme is all about technology, innovation, the future of the industry and I am speaking on a panel in a session entitled, Construction – Thinking Differently.

The discussion focus will be all about technology and innovation but my take on it, is that as an industry, not just in the UK but internationally we are in danger of leaving thousands of businesses behind if we don’t solve the basics and help SME’s and micro-business be more resilient, productive and profitable so they can invest in their own future and the wider industry.  This is the message I will be taking to MIPIM and this was the message I gave at a really positive meeting in London yesterday with an industry leader.

Do you agree?  Would love to know your viewpoint so please tweet or leave a comment on linked-in.  I also vlogged about this earlier this week, the link to this is here.