Fear of commitment: A common problem in the construction industry
Through many trials and tribulations, we find ourselves constantly struggling with a common fear, the fear of commitment. This problem ranges from customers to employees and plagues everyone in between. Customers don't want to make a decision, but would rather get endless quotes until one lucky SOB comes along at the right time when they are confused and to tired to care anymore. Unfortunately, this is also when they are likely to act irrationally and make an emotionally based decision. Not don't get me wrong, we definitely recommend that you get multiple quotes to make sure you are both educated and getting a good deal. But we all know those people that just grind these decisions to a pulp, never really getting any further clarification on the process or assistance in making a better decision. This is a lot of money for a customer to spend so speed is not a necessity, you should always take your time in order to make sure you have thought everything through. But at some point the time comes where a commitment is going to be made, and all to often we end up seeing those customers incapable of making a decision suffering dire consequences. If you just cant make up your mind sooner or later mother nature will help you out with that, but when she does it is going to be a whole hell of a lot more expensive to deal with.
As far as employees go, it is just amazing how many of them come into your business and want to act like it is their own personal play ground. They think is is appropriate just coming and going as they please, working on whatever they feel like, and having emotional outbursts like they are dealing with family members and not coworkers. This is a common enough problem, but something that seems a little more prevalent in the construction industry. Maybe it is because of our lower standards, we don't exactly expect much out of our trades and that mentality bleeds over into the rest of our employees. Whatever the cause, it is going to take a strong effort in order to curtail these bad habits. If you are a smaller company struggling to achieve this my recommendation is to read some case studies and reports regarding bigger companies that have already made the transition. They have a wealth of knowledge to share and it is readily available if you are willing to put in some time reading and learning. If that doesn't work for you, there is always the option to hire a business consultant or even part time CEO. This is a financial commitment as well as something that is very likely to jar a few of the bigger egos within the company. The end goal is to create a respectable atmosphere with clearly defined job responsibilities and company policies in place. If an employee does not want to conform to these rules, they simply need to go. If they cant contribute to the culture in a positive manner, or feel that they are more capable of running the business, then they should start their own and show everyone exactly how it is done. Unfortunately, because they exhibit a lack in ability to commit to their current job it is pretty unlikely they will be successful as an entrepreneur, but regardless just wish them the best and escort them from the premises.
The last thing that needs to be discussed is in regard to the owner or management of the business. If these individuals are able to commit and to make take decisive actions in a timely fashion then all hope may be lost. Running a business requires you to make tons of important decisions on a daily basis, some of which require lots of thought and time but more of which simply call for a quick and firm commitment. These extends from hiring and firing to accounting and financial decisions, all the way through advertising. There is not a single department that wont be effected but "commitment phobia" and it is easy for an outside to spot such a condition from a mile away. Don't be one of those business owners, give yourself deadlines to make decisions and once you do stick with them. It is much worse to do nothing rather then make a mistake. We learn from our mistakes and hopefully don't make them again in the future but ignoring the problem or waiting for it to simply go away don't teach us anything.