Construction is a complex process in which many experts are relied upon to perfect the technique. Whether on the technical side of construction, or at the sharp end on-site, the process only comes together if everyone pulls together in the same direction, follows plans, and can rely upon those elsewhere in the chain. The smoothest construction programs are those conducted clearly and concisely, with thought for everyone in the chain.
That doesn’t sound like a poker game at all, where the only real construction is that of a hand good enough to beat the next player comfortably. However, planning and implementing a poker strategy is very much reflective of the processes needed within construction.
For instance, elements of a construction project are very much down to chance, and whilst it is a team effort to complete a job, one person has an individual role almost always unique to them. If they fail to get that right, the whole job falls, whilst in poker, failure will only negatively affect oneself.
If you are a site manager, a construction planner, or someone simply looking for tips to improve their own input around a construction site, here are three valuable lessons the world of poker can teach you.
Believe it or not, the best poker professionals study their craft and improve their chances of success through knowledge and repetition. Indeed, playing poker for money can become expensive if you don’t work on your game and develop your skills, and the same can be said for construction. If you fail to grasp the basic concepts of the project you are managing or working on, it can cost an awful lot of money to correct or circumnavigate your errors. Also, from a management point of view, seeking out those industrious sorts who understand their field through study is important. If you were assembling a team for a poker game, would you pick the professionals that earn the big wins or a bloke off the street who was cheap? The same theory should apply to the construction industry.
In a poker game, each hand is only a small part of the wider game, and you often have to ride the rough moments and wait for your great hand. There’s no shame in being patient, waiting for the right cards to come before you go big with your chips, and construction is the same. It applies in several areas, starting with land acquisition. If you are planning to manage a job from that point on, being patient and waiting for the right land is key – there’s no point in throwing all your budget at land that is not entirely adequate. Also, you might have to wait for the right tradespeople, the right days to do certain tasks and knowing when to be patient can be a big help. You only need to play your hand and bet big when the circumstances are right.
Understand Those Around You
Around a poker table, the people you surround yourself with are opponents, enemies who you need to knock out of the game. That said, you must understand them, how they work, what makes them tick. If you know their strengths and weaknesses, you can use that to your advantage. You can do the same in construction; only instead of playing cards, you’re playing your people. If you understand your team, you can deploy them in the correct roles, help them through the tasks you know they’re not suited to and leave them alone when they’re playing to their strengths. Basic people management is essential in poker and construction.
Construction might not feel like it, but it is all one big game, with changing environments and situations, people to manage and plans to make. You’ll only win big and create a healthy profit, or a successful job, by learning these lessons, just as you will in poker.