Thursday, 8 December 2011

A message for the grandchildren

We have just entered December which is traditionally the lunch, dinner and drinks month of the year. Traditionally the construction industry is very busy throughout the month out and about socialising and networking. The start of the festivities is usually the Lord Taverners lunch in the North East of England however this year we started even earlier with the Morgan Sindall evening last week.

Most consultants and contractors have an event throughout December bringing together clients and partners.

It is amazing that even in these challenging times priority is placed upon such events and that relationships are still at the centre of what we do.

However this year I am already sensing uncertainty and nervousness from everyone. A jovial festive spirit has yet to appear and often the discussion is about redundancies or individuals setting up their own organisations.

The days of companies exaggerating their overflowing order book are long gone and now people are far more realistic and honest about the challenges we all face.

Whilst times have been tough for the past few years I think this year there is realisation that it is unlikely anything is going to change soon and that we face several Christmases like this.

There is no doubt that the economy and in particular the construction industry has never faced the challenges it faces at present. The simple fact that revenue levels have drastically dropped has meant businesses have had to quickly adjust to a shrinking forward pipeline.

In the past it was possible to look to the future in relation to forward workload. However now opportunities are thin on the ground and generally appear without notice.

Despite all of this I still believe that relationships across the industry are strong and that everyone is supporting each other and looking to get through rather than break any records for profit or turnover.

What I have found particularly heartening is the commitment and energy from the people within our organisation. Whilst obviously all around us there is an environment of fear of the unknown I am constantly overwhelmed by the efforts and commitment our people are making on behalf of the team.

There is no doubt we have never faced a time as we do now however when we get to the other side hopefully we will all recognise that the greatest achievement is responding to the biggest challenge in a generation.

Im sure it is a story and a lesson we will share with our grandchildren.