In this first article in our three part series we are going to examine one of the keys to reclaiming your throne of competitive advantage.
Almost every conversation I’ve had with construction business owners and managers recently includes a version of the following:
Me: “How is everything going?”
Owner: “We are slammed with work, it’s crazy out there. We are working lots of overtime.”
Me: “Does it look like it’s going to continue at this pace?”
Owner: “It’s busy as far out as we can see. We can’t even look at any new projects that start sooner than 4 months from now.”
Don’t get me wrong. Being busy can be good – having work in progress and new projects in the pipeline. But when the ‘badge of busy’ keeps us from getting the big stuff done that’s not good. I repeatedly see owners with their hands so full playing firefighter and whack-a-mole that there is nothing left. Nothing left to take their company where they want to take it. By nothing left I mean no time or attention.
Simply stated, time and attention are your two biggest resources. And it is YOUR time and YOUR attention. You own them. They make up your competitive advantage. Talking about your time and attention may sound boring on the surface, but what happens when they are really harnessed is game changing. Let’s go do it.
Acknowledge that your time and attention is finite. We ‘know’ this logically. There are 24 hours in the day for all of us. But do we really operate that way? How did we get so busy that we don’t have the bandwidth to get to what we think we should? Because we don’t filter, purge, or guard our time and attention.
- Filter. How did we get so busy in the first place? By letting too much unfiltered stuff in (stuff = everything…calls, meetings, emails). We all love new stuff, be it ideas, projects, people to meet, or new TV shows. But where is it all going to fit? It isn’t. So start acting like your time and attention is finite…because it is! Stop trying to jam an endless number of things into a very limited space.
- Purge. Now that we’ve stopped digging the hole deeper it is time to purge. When was the last time you took something completely and permanently off your plate? It felt pretty good, didn’t it (if we can remember that far back!). Narrow down what you think is important enough to be taking up your limited resources and purge the rest. If something feels like a waste of your time and attention it probably is. Get rid of it. We’ll dig deeper into this when we talk about leverage in Key #2 in the next installment of this series.
- Guard. Congratulations. Now that you have started filtering and purging you have…reclaimed your time and attention! To keep this new found time from just filling right back up it needs to be guarded. Set it aside and guard it with your life. Say ‘no’ to three things this week (trust me, you’ll love it). And then close the loop by continuing to filter and purge. Keep asking where it is going to fit in your finite amount of time. Keep asking if it is important enough to be worthy of you attention.
Visualize the impact this will have on your effectiveness. Getting to what you want to get to, what you feel you should get to, rather than what you have to get to. That is reclaiming the throne. And picture the impact when your team creates the breathing room to do it too.
Your time and your attention is your biggest competitive advantage. We know it is finite and we need to act that way – filter, purge and focus. Reclaim the throne of your time and attention. It is yours after all.
Next month we will dive into Key #2, the value our competitive advantage really offers.
For past articles and additional resources click HERE.
By Jonathan Walters with Crux Consulting, Inc. – Crux Consulting Inc. specializes in providing practical growth and success tools for general contractors and subcontractor trades in the construction industry. Want to know more? Contact via email at email@example.com or go to www.cruxconsultinginc.com