Benchmark Group

Don’t Stress. Create Opportunities Instead.

From one of our Program Managers, Scott Forbes:

Stress – we all deal with it. The construction industry is certainly no exception. What we used to be allowed months to do is now completed in weeks, and that can lead to stress. As consulting engineers, one of the biggest stresses that we face is trying to dot all the I’s and cross all the T’s. When we miss a jot or tittle in the midst of our hectic day-to-day production schedule, it often seems like a major disaster – and it can cause severe stress.

My wife is a wise woman. I used to be stressed out all the time when some little thing went wrong at the office. She would always say, “Is anyone really going to remember this in five years? Ten years?” She has a point. Every project that we work on is the most important project we’ve ever worked on at this moment, but in five years it will be forgotten as a series of new and bigger projects unfolds. Or will it? Is it possible that the occasional oversight is an opportunity for us to expend our energy on something other than stress – the opportunity to make a memorable response?

Is it possible that the occasional oversight is an opportunity for us to expend our energy on something other than stress – the opportunity to make a memorable response?

I’ll let you in on a little secret. I am not aware of any architecture or engineering firm that has issued a 100% flawless set of construction documents. As much as we strive for perfection in our designs, we are human and are prone to human error. So what do we do when one of those flaws surfaces in our design? There are several ways we can handle it. Pretending that we don’t make mistakes and shifting blame is one way. Attempting to ignore it is another. But the response that will live on long after the original oversight is forgotten is the response that takes ownership of the flaw and aggressively seeks to set it right.  The heroic response will be remembered, even as the memory of the individual project fades.

But the response that will live on long after the original oversight is forgotten is the response that takes ownership of the flaw and aggressively seeks to set it right.

It sounds cliché, but what we often think of as problems truly are opportunities if we prepare ourselves to see them that way.  I want the people in my program to understand this and know that they are fully supported in going to heroic lengths, not only to deliver good designs, but to deal with any design flaws that are discovered.  In five years, when our current project is nothing more than a memory, I want enduring relationships with our clients and co-consultants to be the fruit of the opportunities we face today.  It’s all about putting unavoidable stress to good use!