2015: The Year Of More!

2015 The Year Of More

More Damages… Yikes!

2015 will likely be an excavation year like no other because we continue to enjoy the recovering economy and that’s driving more construction activity.

Primary factors driving the Year Of More include discretionary spending and investment in infrastructure and CAPEX funding for major utility sector projects like the $15 Billion in Pipeline Projects Coming in 2015217 transmission power line construction projects, and many more.

These factors, coupled with a rise in consumer spending resulting from lower gasoline prices, are likely to motivate homeowners across America to start projects they’ve been delaying for the last 5 years.

What will it take to ensure that buried utility lines won’t keep you from ending 2015 safely and securely?

Regardless of how well or how poorly last year went for you, you now have a blank canvas; a clean slate. You have a brand new opportunity to make this your safest and best year ever.

That doesn’t start by simply waltzing into 2015 the same way you left 2014 and expecting a different outcome. This year in excavation, make sure you start 2015 the way you want to end it: with the expectation of zero damages.

“The Man On The Top Of The Mountain, Didn’t Fall There” – Vince Lombardi

He got there on purpose, intentionally. He got there because he believed he could do it. If we as leaders do not believe zero damages are possible, we cannot in good conscience, have that as an expectation.

Have you just rolled into 2015 without taking time to help your crewmembers see their way to the top of the mountain? Have you helped them to see the view from the summit?

We’ve made huge strides reducing excavation damage in this country because of the Common Ground Alliance (CGA).

Stakeholders have come together on the issues surrounding excavation damages and believed we can find new ways to challenge ourselves, our employees, and our family and friends, to believe that we can make a difference through a compilation of “Best Practices.”

Calling 811 is only the beginning. We must help people we know and work with to join us in the battle for eradicating excavation damages. This is the proverbial “view from the summit.” We must encourage the importance of increasing safety. In order to do that, we must also eradicate excuses for not following Best Practices: no more “we’ll always have some utility damages” or “the locator didn’t mark it; it’s not my fault” or it’s the utility company’s fault; it wasn’t mapped.” Each of us must take personal responsibility for the safety of ourselves, our employees, and the properties we live and work on. Then and only then, can you in good conscience, make zero damage the expectation.

Here is a 5-step process – the “Best Practices” – for driving excavation damage out of your business operation and getting the outcomes you want for your business.

  1. Instill Desire, Reap a Thought – As leaders, when we make our desires known to our team, they will find a way to achieve it.
  2. Instill a Thought, Reap a Vision – It all starts with a thought. Our teams come together every year and achieve phenomenal results because they put thought into figuring out how to work together toward shared goals.
  3. Plant a Vision, Reap Belief – Knowing where you want the team to take you is not intuitive to everyone. Some of us need a picture. We not only need to know the destination; we need to be able to feel what it will be like when we arrive. We can’t get where we’re going if we can’t clearly see.
  4. Plant Belief, Reap Passion – Ever hear the adage “I’ll believe it when I see it”? How true it is. This is the transformative step. Once I believe in something I want, I can be passionate about it. It’s belief that makes athletes like Cliff Meidl train and overcome outlandish odds. It’s belief that causes firefighters to enter burning buildings and soldiers to go into battle. The reason I believe is because someone did a great job (in Step 3) of helping me see and feel what it will be like when I go an entire year with zero excavation damages. Experiencing that feeling is what sparks the passion.
  5. Plant Passion, Reap the Outcome – So, if the desire is the who and the thought is the what and vision is the where and belief is the why then what is passion? Passion is the secret sauce. When I believe in something I’m attentive to it. I wake up early and stay late to make sure I’m on track. I go the extra mile for it. Passion is the mojo that will help us beat the odds. If you ask me, “How can we ever get to zero excavation damages?” my answer will be simple: “You must be passionate about getting there.”

Instilling a vision is our role as leaders. Supporting our crews as they exercise passion in pursuit of that vision is what will take us to the top of the mountain. Follow this 5-step process to zero damages – the top of the mountain! – and enjoy the view.