The new Saskatchewan bridge has fallen.
There was something completely wrong here when a newly constructed bridge collapsed a few hours after it just opened. The construction tendering system is completely perverse. They low-ball anything to the point that quality suffers in the name of the price. And who cares about safety and quality when the best friend of the mayor or the councilor or the favored contractor gets the project.
And of course, rural politicians are not the best judge of construction work, more so competent and professional enough to decide on the award. The local politics get in the way of competent service to the community.
Well, the human race has built the tallest buildings in the world, the largest submarines, and the biggest and baddest airplane without a major construction defect. A small rural functioning bridge is not impossible to have.
Incompetency has to be stamped out. The reason why there are bad contracts and bad work in a public agency is that management failed to act based on integrity, due diligence, and utmost professionalism in these cases. And this patronage system festers for years until something major like this happens.
Firing somebody is palliative. An overhaul of the bidding system is required.
Voters, are you there?
My goal of winning this year is not just a matter of scoring few assignments. Don’t get me wrong. I would love to have those assignments to keep me busy for the last quarter of the year. A great kick-off for next year’s work actually. But yet, the consistency of my work has to be there, day in and day out, in bad and in good weather, in slow times and in fast times.
This consistency is what I would like to celebrate and further strengthen. This is not the goal itself but looking at what I have done since January, I am pretty set up for a more disciplined and targeted approach to acquiring the kind of business that I want for the next five years.
To the organizations, individuals, and companies that are putting in the right effort and the right strategy to use to achieve their goals, hang in there. Michael Angelo painted the Sistine Chapel. It took him a long time but each time, he was getting closer to his “ Obra Maestra.” Your work of art will not be an overnight success.
Nobody is an overnight success. Their discovery is an overnight success but their journey from zero to getting there is never done overnight. Show me one and I will prove to you in million times over that it was never what it appeared to be. Easy on the outside, difficult on the inside.
There is a lot of pruning that needs to happen on a daily basis. Discarding those that no longer suited you or have become irrelevant in your life is important. You do get sidelined sometimes but as long you keep your goals in the frame of your mind, it will stay as priorities.
Eliminating things that no longer fit your own frame of mind and future you have set for yourself is crucial. Those are beliefs, behaviors, and attitudes that are self-limiting. It tends to slow you down and its weight will make you paralyze from inaction. Some of these are good for when you were younger and have those conditions that are sort of set for you by your parents, school, etc. But you have evolved as part of maturity. A 42-year-old person will no longer afford to just ” go with the flow.”
The winning behavior, attitudes, and beliefs will increase your traction, create the change that is balanced and sustained, and set you for the long-term achievements to come.
What elements in your life can you discard, retain, and accept as part of your winning formula?
Build a Bear just had a major marketing disaster. Their Get your Age Bear was a big failure.
Thousands were turned away, disappointed moms and kids queueing up for their bears. They should have seen it coming in thousands and they know that they will not be able to handle the overwhelming demand from consumers. This is an ill-thought and ill-executed marketing campaign.
It could have been done well if they have segmented the market where they will start the campaign, pre-positioned the inventory and staff needed to run on those campaign days, and then provide an online alternative for parents to get them online and pick up on different days. The chaos will definitely ensue and that any small store in the mall will be totally engulfed.
Marketing is the engine of any business. If done well, it can boost up sales, customer support, and increase profitability. When done it a wrong way, it can turn away the precious customer affection that takes years to build and nurture.
The CEO apologizing for the disaster the following day is a good mitigation strategy but that it did not vanquish the frustration from the incident. The next Bear the Big marketing event may not get the benefit of the doubt and the marketers may have to grin and bear the consequences.
What happens after a marketing failure sets apart good companies. This is where a good PR can save the day.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Eric Rajah, the Co-Founder of one of the province’s top international development organization based in Lacombe, A Better World Canada.
A Better World works in 5 areas: education, health, water, agriculture, and income generation in recipient countries for typically 5 to 10 years. They partner with government, local agencies, and the people living in the community to manage and operate the projects, ensuring they become permanently independent. They work primarily in Eastern Africa, but also invest in communities in need around the globe, for example, Bolivia, Afghanistan, and even Tibet. They have a strong volunteer base from Canada that visits communities throughout the year, monitors, and prepares progress reports.
Talking to Eric Rajah, the Co-Founder, I noticed three points that stood out from our interaction.
Like other forward-thinking organizations, he is very candid about the failures they had experienced in the past 28 years of the organization. When he started the organization in 1990, A Better World decided not have offices in the countries where they have projects because they believe in training local leaders to be responsible for their change efforts. They still believe in that principle up to this day.
There was one failure that stood out from their journey. Six months after the grand opening of the school that they funded to be built, Eric came back and visited the location. He found out that classes were not being held and nobody used it. Upon further investigation, he found out that the classroom was sinking. This was a construction issue. The local school board managed the construction and handed the contract to one of the relatives of the board director.
The result was very clear. He told the school board the ABW will not work with them again unless they fix the problem. The school board went to their MP, where the MP chastise them for the unethical practice.
The experience was a lesson to be learned. After the incident, any project with the community has to have a strong assessment in terms of capacity and actually working with them on the design, management, monitoring and evaluation of the project. Listening to the people, understanding their concerns and needs, and estimating their capacities, abilities, and existing assets are very important to get a good grasp of the context on the ground.
Corruption, tribalism, competition, bribery, and other unethical practices/mindset have posed as challenges in the success of their projects in the developing countries. There was one incident that they decided not to work in a particular community in a particular country. They discovered that the community leaders’ real intent was money. There was no intent to improve their situation for the better with an outside support. “They asked for things that they don’t really need,” added Eric.
There were other related issues on this interview. Here is the short excerpt. Enjoy!