#WiseUpWednesday: The Enemy Within…

Our Wise Up Wednesday Guides are here to give Specialist Contractors a quick burst of useful information that will help you succeed in your business life, irrespective of your size or specialisation.


Sometimes quirky, sometimes hard hitting, but always guaranteed to make you think and take no more than 2 minutes to read.

So this one is both quirky and hard hitting!

So why raise this now?

Three reasons;

Firstly, I know from current first hand experience that it’s not always apparent when someone, even someone close to us, is hurting inside. Whatever the cause of that mental turmoil they might look absolutely fine on the outside. And construction can be a very macho “get on with it-stop being a wimp” kind of place.

Secondly these things don’t get much publicity, albeit that the Health In Construction Leadership Group’s “Mates In Mind” campaign is seeking to raise awareness, particularly about research suggesting that in the construction sector people could be 10 times more likely to die by suicide than in an accident on site!

Thirdly, it’s current, because you may have seen on the news today that Everton winger Aaron Lennon has been detained under the Mental Health Act by police over concerns for his welfare. The club has said that he is now “receiving care and treatment for a stress related illness”.

The message – it can happen to anyone, young or old, rich or poor, famous or unknown, successful or struggling.

Aaron Lennon’s case, and sports men and women generally, will probably get a lot more publicity than those who work in construction.

So Why “The Enemy Within”?

Recent events reminded me of a passage from “The Art of Happiness” by non other than H H Dalai Lama and Howard C Cutler. A bit out there, but very interesting nonetheless.

“This is very different from an ordinary enemy… This internal enemy, this inner enemy, has no other function than causing us harm. It is our true enemy, our ultimate enemy. It has no other function than simply destroying us, both in the immediate term and in the long term.”

Whilst the Dalai Lama was talking about the inner enemy within ones own mind, it got me thinking about the “inner enemies” within our own businesses. Because, day after day in my work resolving problems for Specialist Contractors I have a unique and objective view of their inner enemies, their very own “Enemies Within”.

The Specialist Contractors Top Ten Enemies Within

These “enemies within” manifest themselves in all sorts of different ways, lack of knowledge, the wrong people, wrong thinking etc. Or a combination of these and other factors, but however they occur, and in the words of the Dalai Lama; they have no other function than simply destroying us, both in the immediate term and in the long term.

So here they are;

1) Not understanding the contract

2) Not agreeing the basics of the contract properly

3) Ignoring contractual obligations

4) Failing to get written instructions

5) Failing to agree additional costs at the appropriate time

6) Not issuing proper notices when being delayed

7) Failing to understand and comply with the payment process

8) Failing to take remedial action when things are going wrong

9) Reluctance to escalate problems to the senior decision maker

10) Not taking appropriate advice sooner rather than later

And these enemies within our business can all too easily lead to enemies within our ourselves.


Destroying The Enemy Within

Whilst it may never be possible to completely destroy the enemies within, we can take steps to minimise their impact on us as individuals, and the success of our business. After all if we don’t take action they will destroy us and our business!

Maybe not today, maybe not next week or next month, but they are busy working away, and they have no other purpose…

And please take a moment to consider anyone who might need your help to overcome their own enemies within.

Here; a link to more information about “Mates In Mind”

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