Beware the Pitfalls

Of Your Beliefs


Over these past six weeks, we have taken the opportunity during the COVID pandemic discussions to evaluate construction organization performance against the performance of “best in class” construction firms. The Construction Company Self-Analysis form you filled out two weeks ago was designed to reveal areas where you might improve efficiency and profitability going forward into a “post-pandemic” growth period that is sure to come sometime in the future.

Improvement calls for change, and organizational change is difficult to accomplish. Employees usually resist change and only motivational leadership will encourage your organization to embrace the improvements deemed necessary.

Take a look at any changes you may have deemed necessary and double check if you have chosen changes that will unquestionably improve your company’s performance in a new growth market.



Human intelligence works much like a computer program. New information is taken in and tested against previous concepts that we hold to be true. These “previous concepts” become beliefs. Once we accept our beliefs as principles, we rarely reexamine them to see if they were, in fact, true and still are true. We simply “believe”them and test future decisions to see if they are in keeping with these most cherished, but largely unexamined, beliefs. This is how we make decisions.

Top 10 Contractor Beliefs


Our research over the past 30 years has uncovered a long list of “beliefs” that sometimes guide the decision making of construction industry top management. Listed below are the “top ten”. You may find it enlightening to evaluate how many you think are true and how many you think are false.

True or False?

  1. More work = more profit.                                          True___           False___
  2. Bigger jobs provide more cash flow.                         True___           False___
  3. Cash flow is more important than profit.                   True___           False___
  4. Expanding to new locations is essential for growth.  True___           False___
  5. New types of construction are often more profitable.            True___           False___
  6. Personnel turnover is natural in construction.                        True___           False___
  7. Accounting information is for bankers/sureties.         True___           False___
  8. I own this outfit, therefore I should run it.                 True___           False___
  9. Slow pay is just part of the game.                               True___           False___
  10. No successor can replace me.                                     True___           False___

Dangerous Beliefs


“Dangerous beliefs” are beliefs that too many construction professionals think are true when they are NOT TRUE. All of the top ten beliefs listed above are “dangerous beliefs”. Many think they are fundamental truths, but careful examination reveals that they are not accurate and believing them without more careful scrutiny usually leads to poor decision making.

Examine Your Beliefs


The most fundamental intellectual step in writing a dynamic strategic plan is to examine the premises on which you base your conclusions. This is just another way of saying that you should test your “beliefs” before you make decisions that will affect the future of your company. “Growth is always good”,  “cash is king”, and “accountants are just pencil pushers” are all erroneous beliefs that were held by of a lot of old-time construction people. Many of those organizations  underperformed or failed because those long-held beliefs were simply not true. Take a careful look at your own beliefs and test them against your current results to make sure they are not negatively affecting decision making.