Project Description

For any NFL fan, the playoffs are full of excitement as teams strive to win the Super Bowl. During the past few weeks, I’ve observed many similarities between the NFL and the construction industry, notably:

  • Having a set game plan for the beginning of the game
  • Making game day decisions as to who plays
  • Making game day equipment decisions based on weather conditions
  • Assessing the physical readiness of each player on game day
  • Having backup players game ready in the event of injury
  • Needing each player to fully execute on each play
  • Designating team captains and their roles
  • Empowering the quarterback to call audibles
  • Analyzing recent plays on the sidelines
  • Making adjustments at half time
  • Implementing a two-minute drill
  • Managing the game clock
  • Identifying franchise players
  • Identifying draft choices

What I’ve especially noticed is that teams can compensate for missing players and still win by doing the items above well. 

Construction companies deal with a lot of similar dynamics as NFL teams. Each day on a construction site requires a clear game plan, the right crew, the right equipment and materials, great communication, frequent analysis of work quality and production, empowering crew leaders to make audibles and managing the schedule. In addition, a successful construction company needs to look for opportunities to score in the marketplace and adjust schemes that aren’t working.

In both the NFL and the construction industry, successful organizations are always assessing their team members and what is required to remain successful. 

  • Have you identified your company’s franchise players?
  • Do they know they are valued by you? 
  • Are you drafting youth for all open positions in your company?

What do you do when you “win?” An NFL team that wins the Super Bowl celebrates with their fans. At the end of a long, successful project or at the end of a successful construction season, do you celebrate with your employees, customers and suppliers? 

Conversely, what do you do when you “lose?” NFL teams that didn’t have winning seasons analyze their entire operation, including personnel, and adjust for the next season. How often do you take a hard look at the performance of yourself and your team?

The NFL and the construction industry share another similarity in an area they need to improve: the recognition and treatment of mental health issues of their employees. Recently, in the middle of a game, Antonio Brown displayed behavior that could be indicative of an employee having a mental health issue. 

After he left in the middle of a game, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers terminated his contract; NFL analysts wondered if he had done damage to potential future NFL opportunities. Brown has since communicated he has never had a mental illness diagnosis, but the way his outburst was covered by the organization and industry is worthy of discussion. One of the best reactions to Brown’s outburst in my opinion was Tom Brady who said, “Antonio needs help” and expressed his hope that Brown gets the help he needs. If one of your employees is showing signs of a mental crisis, will you or your team members know what to do?

In addition to my monthly blogs, there are several resources to provide information and resources to construction industry leaders on mental health, substance use disorder and suicide prevention. I encourage you to visit www.finishingcontractors.org/resources/mental-health-resources/; www.iupathelpinghand.com; and www.preventconstructionsuicide.com and review the resources available.