COAA Spring Owners Leadership ConferenceMay 20, 2014 | By Wayne O'Neill
Many of our clients are in the building and construction field. If you haven’t noticed by now, we’re very interested in keeping up with the business and political issues of the people we work with, be it in their workplace or bigger issues that permeate the industry. So last week, Kevin Cray and I visited the 2014 Spring Owners Leadership Conference put on by COAA.
What is significant about this conference?
This isn’t the biggest construction event of the year, but it’s right in our backyard and we can’t pass up an opportunity to stay in touch with the marketplace. Knowing the business and political issues that interfere or contribute to profitability and affect owners helps my team understand how to contribute to that space. That’s not all we came for, though. We like to seize any opportunity to sniff out game changers, and we were very surprised with what we found.
It’s easy to assume that at a company with a traditional business model you’ll find the same good-ol’-boy mentality across the executive board. I’ve found time and time again that you can find forward thinking people in the most unexpected places. This conference wasn’t any different. Some of the speakers there–and the attendees–caught me off guard with their insight.
Value Based Procurement
One of the speakers, Kenneth Sullivan of Arizona State University, spoke about projects researching procurement methodologies that aren’t focused on just price or qualifications. This is something called Value Based Procurement, and its right in line with what we coach. We guide our clients in their pricing methods and encourage them to not be low nor too high, but to bid the best value of their capabilities. You can read a little more about this here.
Mind the Gap
Another speaker, Ron Mangus of FMI Corporation focused on the generation gap in the industry, and how that’s affecting things on a larger scale. This is something my team and I have been saying for a while now: there’s an issue between baby boomers and millennials. We saw it on the forefront and we discussed how we can’t allow ourselves to just accept it as “the way things are”—we need to find ways of connecting with each other and understanding the nuances that makes a person work differently, and using that knowledge to our advantage. Now, we look on as audience members nod their heads when the subject comes up. We’re now living in the consequences of this change.
Here’s the Bottom Line..
We expected a certain crowd of people and a certain method of thought, but there was a different tone at this year’s conference. It goes to show you that you can find game changers anywhere, as long as you’re looking for the right clues.