By Brian Hall
I recently heard one of my favorite speakers give a talk on staying focused and the main thought principle was that “your direction, not your intention, determines your destination.” While it might sound like common sense, if you dig deeper, that is on a more specific level, you might realize that it has applications in many aspects in your life. Since you are reading an asphalt article, in an asphalt focused magazine, I thought we would look at how this might apply to your business.
The basic idea behind this principle is that no person intends to fail. The great philosopher, Aristotle once said “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Think about the last time that a job didn’t go the way you had planned. You didn’t start the week by saying “You know, for this one job, let’s just do substandard work.” Of course not. This happens because sometimes we rely on our intention to guide us through our work. Instead of finding a defined direction, we intend to move without actually moving. Intention will get us nowhere. Intention should only be a catalyst for movement. It should spur on direction and then that direction will create our destination.
So how does this apply to our scope of work? In 2023, let’s focus on a few ideas that I believe will make a big difference in your everyday jobs and make life on the jobsite a little less stressful.
Pre-Season. Preparing for success. There is a good chance that you are reading this while sitting in some sort of training class while waiting for the winter to break. If that’s the case, then you get what I mean. No matter whether you are an owner, supervisor or just starting on the crew, honing your skills is the best way to spend the down time. Sitting in a class is a great way to learn, but not the only way. Any type of activity that makes you better at your job is time well spent. Whether it is creating a preventative maintenance schedule for your equipment, scheduling daily tasks or creating a creative marketing plan, now is the time to set the bar high before you get too busy to think of anything besides how many tons to order for tomorrow’s job.
Regular Season. Where the rubber (or the asphalt in our case) meets the road. Let’s put the plan into action, but remember, unless you stay consistent day in and day out, your intentions start to take over and your direction goes awry. Remember when you spent hours designing the perfect preventative maintenance program for your equipment, but, well, it was raining, and we got in late and time got away. Yet here you are, having to call out the service truck because somebody didn’t properly clean the asphalt off of the machine. All it would have taken is a plan, managed by no one person, but the whole team. Remember, if the paver goes down and people go home, nobody gets paid.
Post Season. This is the gravy. You’re now down to the end of the year and guess what? You’ve kept your direction focused, your destination is in sight. The biggest difference is that you’ve finished ahead of schedule and everyone has more money in their pocket. Why, because you’ve done all the planning so that you were ready for anything unexpected. The whole crew knew what was expected from them as far as scheduling and tasks and your equipment was reliable because it was never ignored, no matter the circumstances. The end result is that you now have co-workers that are proud to come to work because there is a new sense of pride when they walk through the door.
Now, before we join hands and do a closing cheer, let’s come back down and smell the tarmac. This isn’t anything new and different, it’s just a reminder of how successful folks have to approach every day, week and year. We all have intentions to be successful, but sometimes we get a little distracted. Keep your direction straight and great things will be the result.
Brian Hall, LeeBoy Territory Manager. He can be reached via email at email@example.com