Looking ahead at the bigger picture

Alex Brown, MD of NorDan UK, explains why construction firms will have to consider their long-term vision and how to actively pursue growth in the aftermath of Covid-19

IT’S safe to say the past few months have tested the resolve of construction firms of all sizes. This is especially true when it comes to establishing long-term plans and strategies, with frequently changing government advice meaning that many businesses have had to take things one week, or even one day at a time.

While some companies may have continued on relatively unscathed, many have battened down the hatches or have been forced to adapt in order to stay afloat; almost every business in every sector has been affected in some way.

However, with lockdown restrictions now starting to ease in the UK, the construction industry will hopefully be on track for a return to normality in the coming months, which gives firms some breathing room to resume long-term planning. I believe that during this time, it will be crucial for companies to establish a clear vision for where they see themselves in a month, six months, a year’s time. 

The company vision is something I’ve often thought to be the most important catalyst in ensuring effective management and consistent business growth. It has the potential to be more than just a mission statement or a set of immediate objectives and targets – it can be about seeing the bigger picture, about looking for opportunities in unlikely places and adapting to the unexpected. 

A clear vision can help to galvanise the people within a company and help them to understand and face the future direction of the business.

At NorDan, the harmony between our long-term vision and company values is essential to how we operate as an organisation and has been instrumental in allowing the company to pursue unique and exciting new opportunities, which over the past 12 months has resulted in a series of high-profile projects and successful expansions. In my view, construction firms should be able to clearly communicate and share the company vision with members of their organisation, focusing on the future direction of the business and the principles that will drive the company towards success. 

This can be made relevant to individual employees and help them feel as motivated and invested as the leadership in the wider scope and success of the company. Creating a synergy between your company’s core values and long-term objectives can be hugely important in establishing an effective and achievable growth pathway, while helping to drive the organisation towards key milestones. 

I think during the uncertainty of recent times, providing this clarity and transparency across an organisation has become more important than ever.

At NorDan, one of the reasons why our global teams have collaborated well during the pandemic has been because they understand the bigger picture and feel able to share in what our group leaders believe in. A priority for the organisation has been to be open and honest with employees across all global branches and subsidiaries, while also being quick to adapt in the face of ever-changing restrictions in each country of operation. Our people understood the challenges and changes, but more importantly understood how the company was to continue towards its goals, even in the face of unpredictable challenges. 

At the beginning of 2020, I don’t think anyone could have predicted where we’d be halfway through the year. I believe what will be vital for construction firms going forward will be to consider their long-term vision and how they can not only get back on their feet, but also actively pursue growth in 2021. 

What is the overall objective for the company and how wide or far ahead is its scope? What targets need to be reached and how will these be achieved? How will the wider team be involved and invested in the company vision? All of these questions will be important to help firms guide their teams with a singular focus after months of uncertainty.

Lockdown may have been a dark time for businesses, but things look to be changing for the better as the restrictions start easing. I believe it’s no longer the time to put caution before planning your company’s future; it’s now time to start looking ahead at the bigger picture.