Problem Solvers

by Peter Silcock, chief executive, CCNZ.p58-Comment-Peter-Silcock-300x300

 

Happy New Year! I hope you all had plenty of quality time with friends and family over thesummer break

Any contractor will tell you that business today is getting more and more complex. While that will not change in 2016, it is important as we launch into the new year that we don’t lose sight of the real prize.

For many of us that prize is the time we spend with family and friends and indulging in our favourite pastimes, whether it is reading, fishing or mountain-climbing. Whatever your passion is, make a point of planning some of that into your schedule for 2016.

Over recent years it has been both the pace of change and the disruptive nature of that change that has added complexity. It isn’t just about doing things faster and more efficiently it’s about being flexible, reinventing your business, thinking outside the square and responding to the market around you.

When I talk to contractors from around the country it is very obvious that each region is different and is influenced by many different factors. Changes in the levels and types of client investment drive demand and create both opportunities and threats.

In this environment it is often businesses that are adaptive and flexible that are the most successful. There are some big issues driving those changes in 2016 which we all need to consider, such as the completion of the bulk of the Canterbury civil infrastructure rebuild work; the continued growth in the residential building in and around Auckland; and the rollout of NZTA’s increased capital expenditure programme (30 percent more than the previous three years).

The latest Pipeline Report from the Auckland Infrastructure and Procurement Group highlights that nationally the value of building and construction has grown by between nine percent and 12 percent a year over the past three years.

The civil construction market is dynamic. New clients and types of work emerge and contractors look further afield rather than just chasing work in their traditional areas of operation. The awarding of key NZTA maintenance contracts can mean that we see new contractors establish in a region, or existing contractors withdraw and with the wind-down of civil infrastructure work in Canterbury, some companies will be making a strategic withdrawal of resources which could have flow-on impacts in other regions.

Planning for a successful future (well beyond 2016) is about understanding your environment and the changes and flow-on effects that will impact on your business. It is about reading the trends and making moves at the right time and being prepared to change quickly.

While, overall, the amount of civil construction work available across the country has increased, the question is, do you have the right capabilities and resources in the right places to secure the work?

We are in a rapidly changing business environment and business owners and managers need to step up to the challenge. Successful contractors are practical people, they are problem solvers. Since starting with Civil Contractors in mid-2015 I have been very impressed by how resourceful, entrepreneurial and innovative contractors are out on-site and when talking to clients.

It is that same problem solving process and logic that now needs to be applied on a whole-of business scale. So, make some time for you and your key staff to step outside of your business, embrace change and look and think about things differently.

Taking a different approach – by developing or focusing on a particular specialist capability, by developing a new alliance or partnership that gives you scale or capability to take on different work, by looking at how your specialist knowledge or expertise can be leveraged and how you can enhance your staff capability through training or recruitment.

Talk with your key staff because they are problem solvers too and will have some great ideas and insights that could give you that spark of an idea. Engage them in shaping their own future.

Remember that goals, including marking the achievements along the way and having a strong team of people around you are the things that will help get you through the challenges of 2016.

Oh, and of course remember the real prize!

 

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