The habit changer

I want to be 100% honest and straightforward with you!

If there is one thing that needs to be changed in most construction companies, probably also yours, it’s the habits. Not the good ones, of course, but I’m pretty sure you have some bad ones as well.

Taking a walk, going to the gym, cleaning the dishes, mopping your floors, and eating the vegetables is good for you or needs to be done.

We all know it, but we still try to find “good” reasons for doing something else. Excuses!

I would say that excuses are what we humans are best at, by far! Maybe I’m stepping on someone’s toes now, but so be it. You can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs.

Since we were kids, we have perfected this skill; it often starts at the dinner table.

Parent: “Eat your food, please.”

Kid: “I don’t like vegetables.”

Parent: “But you haven’t even tasted it, so how do you know?”

Kid: “It’s orange (or green). I can’t eat something like that!”

Parent: “Well, eat your meat/chicken then, and leave the vegetables on the side.”

Kid: “But the carrot touched the meat; you need to cut off that part..”

(let’s not even start with the fish story)

You might smile and think, “kids are kids!” and that this is not a problem with grown-ups.

Well, maybe not when it comes to food or vegetables, but history repeats itself.

This story can be 100% compared with what we see in the construction industry on a daily

basis. It’s not just similar; it’s a true copy.

Manager: “Fill out the checklist, please.”

Fieldworker: “I don’t understand computers!”

Manager: “But you haven’t even tried, so how do you know?”

Fieldworker: “It’s IT. I became a “insert your trade” to avoid computers.”

Manager: “Well, use the app then; you can just click the button and take a picture.”

Fieldworker: “But I have to download it, and I don’t remember my Apple/Google password.”

Heard it before?

If this were Facebook, Tinder, or the booking page for a trip to Hawaii, they would have no problems at all. They search for hotels, flight departures, pick from dropdown menus, add detailed information from their passport, credit cards with long numbers, expiry dates, and security numbers.

So why do they understand apps and computers in their personal travel case, but not in the work case?

We can easily find the reason by asking the question: “what’s in it for me?”

Field workers are, in most cases, quite busy as it is; adding more “time thieves” will not make things better. We’ve used pen and paper since I started in construction 10, 20 or, 50 years ago; it works fine. No, it does not! There is a reason for coming late to a client, returning to a finished job 2-3 times, forgetting things that should be invoiced, clients not paying because they lack documentation of the work you’ve done, etc.

So the solution to better control and economy in your projects is not always a new tool. Maybe all you need is just a new habit?

Note: If your tool today is “pen and paper,” then Next Field would be an excellent companion to that habit change!

/Tom Erik von Krogh Martinsen – founder of Next Field