Concrete inFocus - Winter 2015 - (Page 10)
and Facing Labor
"Can't We All Get Along?"
John Hansen, NRMCA Senior Vice President,
n 1991, Rodney King was arrested after a high speed chase in the
city of Los Angles. Four LAPD officers pulled King from his car
and beat him, all while their actions were recorded on video by an
amateur photographer. The officers' acquittal in April 1992 triggered
riots in South Central Los Angeles. More than 50 people were killed,
more than 2,000 were injured and 9,500 were arrested for rioting,
looting and arson, resulting in $1 billion in property damage. On the
third day of the riots, King made a public appearance, making his
now famous plea: "People, I just want to say, Can't we all get along?"
King's request for unity was in the wake of great social unrest, but
it is a plea that the concrete industry is giving new meaning to as we
take on threats to our livelihood. We call "getting along" partnerships,
and in the growing number of threats to concrete's market share, getting along and partnering will determine our future.
Zig Ziglar, bestselling author and motivational speaker in the
1970's and 80's, preached that "you cannot hit a target you cannot see".
And Michael Corleone shared his father's wisdom in Godfather II to
"keep your friends close but your enemies closer". So what does all of
this have to do with concrete and concrete construction, you might
now be asking?
I recently was in a large meeting room with over 80 concrete contractors. I started my presentation asking if anyone in the room had
heard of the Wood First Initiative. No hands went up. I was surprised.
I thought in a group this large, with all of them presumably earning
their livings building with concrete at least some of them would have
heard of this well-funded threat to their livelihood. But not a single
hand went up. Oh, they might have seen the press release about the
12-story wood building in one city, or the 10-story wood building in
another, or had even driven past the 7-story wood building in their
downtowns, but none had realized these projects were part of an
ever growing number of low to midrise buildings that in years past
would have been either some type of concrete structure or steel, or a
combination of both.
See keeping your friends and allies close is good and important, but
knowing what your competition is doing, aka your business enemy,
is even more important. And once you have your business enemy in
your sights, it becomes much easier to hit "the target you can see".
My most important job that day in front of this gathering of concrete
contractors was to share this information, and to impress upon them
that even though there might be competitors in the room, our competition was not in the room. We are all partners in the face of the
true competitors, the wood and asphalt industries, and we must "all
get along" and work together to succeed.
Partnering for success is easier said than done when compensation comes into play. I have been in meetings where I have observed
concrete industry rivals belittle and disrespect each other in front
of important companies and clients. One such incident was related
to me by an NRMCA National Account client some years back.
During an initial meeting at its headquarters, one of its construction
and design members made the comment to me that "you concrete
guys don't play well together." When I asked him to elaborate, he
told me how individual company representatives would comment on
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Concrete inFocus - Winter 2015
From the President’s Desk
Corporate Suite Column
Smokey Point Concrete
The Right Mix: A Guide to Pervious Concrete Mix Design
Union Threats: The Rules of the Game Have Changed!
Index of Advertisers
2015 Mixer Driver Recruitment and Retention Survey
2015 National Ready Mixed Concrete Association Driver Recruitment and Retention Survey
Concrete inFocus - Winter 2015