How Aquicon Manages Change

By Daniel Aquino
March 28, 2017

Change is inevitable in any business and if handled properly, it can be extremely positive. After all, there’s no growth without change. In 30 years, our company has seen a lot of changes; in technologies, in the construction industry, and within our own organization. Along the way, we’ve learned some valuable lessons about maintaining stability in a changing world.

Retaining Talent

Being a family business means that Aquicon’s leadership team is unusually close. But even non-family employees tend to stay with us for years, even decades. That kind of loyalty is invaluable to an organization – it means that institutional knowledge is preserved, leading to better decisions and better outcomes. It’s also a source of strength when the company is facing changes or challenges. We recommend making every member of your team feel that they are an essential part of the business (because they are!); providing a positive environment; and compensating them fairly as a matter of course. Perhaps most importantly, we keep staff motivated with a diverse portfolio of work, empowering them to work across a range of roles and project types rather than typecasting them. Building loyalty takes work; but the payoff can be huge.

“In 30 years, our company has seen a lot of changes. Along the way, we’ve learned some valuable lessons about maintaining stability in a changing world.”

Daniel Aquino, President, Aquicon Construction

Embracing New Technology

One of the biggest changes we have witnessed in the construction industry has to be the widespread use of the Internet. In 1986, when Aquicon was founded, computers didn’t play a significant role in our work. In fact, all we had was a rotary phone on site, connecting us to the overall team by landline. We later progressed to technologies like pagers and fax machines, but it wasn’t until the widespread adoption of email, approximately 15 years ago, that computers became really important to us. It’s been an evolution, rather than a revolution but today, it’s amazing to see the complete integration between site, head office, and the entire construction team. When a file is required it is simply uploaded and viewed by all, allowing the construction to progress without a hiccup at all times.

Handling Transitions

A few years ago, Aquicon underwent a significant shift in leadership, which in turn changed the company structure. The potential for disruption was high. What prevented it was planning. For several months in the lead up to the transition, our directors worked to ensure that every facet of the business had been organized in preparation for the change, leaving no gaps or unanswered questions. Once again, talent retention proved key; leadership worked to maintain existing relationships in a positive manner and keep the business moving at a rapid pace.

The key to managing change is to be adaptable while maintaining the core values of your business — the ones that attracted your employees and clients in the first place. It’s important to have a solid understanding of what is changing, why it’s changing, and the industry itself. For me, an intimate knowledge of both the technical and personnel aspects of the business is key. There isn’t a facet of the construction industry or the company that I don’t touch each and every day, and there isn’t an employee that I don’t have contact with each and every week. That level of understanding allows leaders to see where they need to go and smoothly navigate toward it.

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