Stinking Thinking

Managing Workplace Thoughts and Attitudes

In the book I am currently reading, the author shares:

Sow a thought, reap an act.

Sow an act, reap a habit.

Sow a habit, reap a character.

Certain things accompany certain roles within construction management and our industry. Whether you think these accompaniments are good or bad is your thinking on the matter. For example:

  • A construction superintendent is the first one in and the last one out in their assigned project.
  • A construction project manager manages and meets the project schedule and budget, whether or not they built them.
  • A construction project administrator helps a project team meet its deadlines and responsibilities, not just doing tasks when told.
  • An executive team establishes time and resources for training, whether or not they think they’re important.
  • Accounts Payable informs payees on the payment timetable, whether or not it’s to the payees’ liking.
  • The project team expeditiously and with excellence does its part to ensure a profitable and accurate project outcome.

The Negative-Thinking Spiral

“Stinking thinking” comes the minute you have a thought about the project, the people, or the circumstance that speaks defeat instead of victory. You will not meet a proposal schedule if you set your mind not to meet it. You won’t improve a relationship if you resolve not to communicate with that person. You won’t learn something new if you think you know all or enough. You won’t get positive acknowledgment if you don’t own your responsibilities because you don’t agree with, understand, or care about them.

Managing Your Thoughts in the Workplace as a Construction Professional

What questions can you ask yourselves regarding managing your thoughts in the workplace?

  • When asked to help with something outside your typical scope of work, do you cooperate or complain?
  • When someone treats you unprofessionally, do you affront them or show them grace?
  • When you fail to communicate effectively with an associate, do you dismiss them or adjust your approach?
  • When you don’t agree with a business decision, do you resign or contend for understanding?
  • When a peer or subordinate has a professional request within your power to secure that may not be important to you, do you observe or ignore it?

The Impact of Negative Thinking on Construction Projects

Every day I witness professionals in the workplace who formulate thoughts about a person, company, project, request, or decision by someone else that they immediately think destructively about. That unconstructiveness leads to them having other damaging thoughts and actions. The continuous negativity ultimately leads them down a path of destruction. Their negative thought patterns cause them to quit or lose their jobs and lose relationships with people who only wanted the best for them but didn’t stand a chance. Their thoughts were obscured.

Staying Positive and Resilient in the Face of Construction Industry Challenges

A book I bought for my children on this subject when they were young simply said, “If you have a negative thought, don’t accept it. You have another thought coming.”

If you first think no way, make the effort to have a say. For if resolute you stay, you could miss out on the best of today.

To Fresh Thoughts,

Suzanne Breistol



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