Doug, an estimator for a large paving contractor in southern Oregon, told Session 9B of the Leadership Development Lab:
"Our company was low bidder on the Irrigon Jet Ė Hilgand Int. for ODOT on the October 26th bid letting. ODOT delayed the award due to funding issues until the end of November. By the time the bid was let, approximately seven weeks had passed since we had really thought much about the job. We were all busy with other revenuegenerating projects. We didnít want to spend any time, money, or effort on this project until we were absolutely sure it was going to be awarded. We have all had experiences in the past where we were overly involved upfront, made big investments of time and money, only to have the project pulled.
Since the time we bid Irrigon, we had bid on and won several other projects. These projects have their own nuances, special challenges, and quirks. The projects all started running together in our minds and were hard to keep separate. When ODOT finally awarded the Irrigon Jet project, Scott and I sat down, pulled the bid out, and started going through the bid packages. As we started going through several of the documents, we both discovered how much we had forgotten about the specifics of the various items. We had to rethink our schemes for the various areas of work. What we discovered was missing in most cases were notes about our thought process and why we planned certain things the way we had. We both struggled, trying to recreate our thinking process, the logic of our
approach, the flow and details of the work as we had envisioned it almost two months earlier.
The lesson I learned from this experience is that I definitely need to write down my ideas for doing certain things, the specific details, as well as the why and how of what I have in mind. The action I call you to take is when you are involved in a brainstorming session or a bid, take good notes in order to recall the ideas that were discussed. The benefit you will gain is you will remember the specific items that were discussed that are important to the success of the project. You wonít have to go back and start all over again. This will keep you from wasting time and energy, and build your confidence even when projects are delayed."
Yes, and may I add, when you have those creative ideas about how to solve a problem before you are out of bed, in the shower, or driving along, quickly get up, dry off, or pull over, find a piece of paper and write down your ideas. These ideas seem so clear, so logical, so apparent, that we think we will never forget. Donít kid yourself. These creative flashes are easy to lose. By writing down your creative flashes and implementing them in the press of business, you will have more and more creative insights.