Recently, I took my family hiking in the Grayson Highlands State Park, located in southwest Virginia. As I reflect on our time on the trails, up boulders, and down to waterfalls I can’t help comparing hiking to the building season.

learning-from-past

Every hike begins with planning and preparation; what route do we take? What gear? Food? How much water? Our preparation dictates how successful our hiking trip is. If we fail in our preparation, we will not be having a good time on our hike. It is also important to debrief at the end of the hike. Did we have enough food? Did we have too much? Was the route too strenuous for some? Too easy for all, etc. This data will help to inform us in our planning for the next trip. For instance, we determined we had enough water during the hike, but we ran out on our 1-hour drive home afterward.

The building season is the same. The preparation we do before we enter into the busy time will largely influence how successful we are. Furthermore, analyzing the past several months, reviewing successes and failures, and any emergencies that occurred should influence our planning prior to the next cycle.

GDI, INC receives many calls during the summer to get set up with new clients, however, as my simple illustration should indicate this is not the ideal time for that conversation. It is like failing to pack water and then not realizing it until you are 10 miles from your origination point.

In terms of setup the ideal time is not during the peak of the season. The potential client is at their busiest, we are at our busiest, and so if we proceed with the setup, what occurs often takes much longer to initiate and implement. GDI, INC designers will then need to be trained on the account but at a time when they are at their busiest with other clients, which could threaten their performance.

Which raises the question, why should we potentially hamper our performance with clients who planned ahead, by trying to serve potential clients who didn’t? More than likely what will occur is unhappy existing and new clients.

As component manufacturers come off your peak time this year, make an evaluation; would an off-site design service have been an asset to you over the last several months? If you think so, don’t wait until next year to start the conversation. No remote design firm has unlimited capacity. If you wait, you may find that other component manufacturers got their gear together before you did.

Peter Drucker has said regarding emergencies, that an emergency that is repeated is not an emergency, but it is the result of a leaderships inability to reflect on and learn from the past.

Tim Hoke – Design and Sales Manager