Business agility Ellis Fox Blog

Getting off the back foot

You have to admit, as much as we all wanted 2020 to be the year of positive change, it has gotten off to a rather chaotic start. Even with the intention to implement positive change in the industry, it’s a little difficult to gain any momentum when you’re constantly on the back foot.

Financially 2019 was a tough one for most main contractors and it took until February before the figures started looking positive. But even that was dampened by the wettest February in history and now the industry is having to consider the “what if’s” relating to COVID-19.

Now Brexit was something everyone knew was coming and has had time to make considered decisions on, even if there were many unknowns, but the floods and the pandemic, that’s making things even more challenging for construction management.

So what can industry leaders do to ensure their companies survive what looks like to be a year of disruptions? What are the key elements that could make a difference?

Agility

These past few months have demonstrated how little control business leaders actually have on the business environment. There’s only so much one can plan for, the rest is going to require some quick thinking and decision making. The companies that will stay strong are those that empower their leaders to be able to make quick decisions and quickly implement strategies.

Delegation

While business leaders will be making the decisions they will need to surround themselves with highly skilled and forward thinking teams. There is too much going on for them to be able to manage everything. But if they can delegate key task to people who have the right skills and experience, it will enable implementation to happen that much faster.

Information

When things are changing so rapidly, decision makers need access to accurate information if they are to make informed decisions. Technology that enables information sharing on projects will be an important tool if strategic plans are to be implemented effectively. Admin staff that can keep managers informed of global happenings will also perform an important support role.

Flexibility

While there may be corporate structures in place, this is an ideal opportunity to experiment with flexibility, allowing more people to work from home or in shifts. The results may be surprising especially when it comes to productivity.

The construction industry has certainly shown it’s resilience in recent years, but the storms are far from over, it’s good leaders that will make all the difference.