Construction Management: Running to Win

July 31, 2015

Reaching a goal requires continuous effort

Shin Urano, President and Chief Executive Officer, KBD Group  USAThe last mile of any marathon requires the greatest effort. Many runners face two choices: give up or finish the race. When I ran the 2011 Publix Georgia Half Marathon, I did it to raise awareness about the devastating 2011 Japan earthquake; even though I was emotionally and physically tired, I had to finish the race to show my support for those victims. Today, the earthquake recovery process is ongoing, and, much like the final mile of any marathon, still requires continuous effort. However, I am confident in the hope and resilience of the people of Japan to reach their goal in recovery.

Reaching a goal, be it a recovery effort, a marathon or a construction project, is a journey that requires continuous improvement and effort, as well as good management. It also requires a balance between speed and completion. The ultimate goal for a city runner is to complete a full marathon in less than four hours. To meet that goal, a runner has to be able to make rapid readjustments, to strategically pace themselves and, at times, re-evaluate his running plan. Runners who are unable to make changes and who do not pace themselves could collapse, just like I did during my first few marathons. The same process applies to fast-tracking a construction project to meet a client’s revised deadline. At KBD Group, we constantly monitor all aspects of a project to meet our goal, and more importantly, that of our client. Our team often comes together to see where we are on projects. We continually explore areas of improvement, remain aware of conditions that could slow or hinder progress and consistently work toward the ultimate goal of providing an excellent product that meets the deadline.

Running a marathon and running a business require the physical and mental ability to overcome difficult circumstances. The week of a race, I encourage myself by remembering that as long as I maintain a good pace, the race is all but finished. In business, we encourage each other to never give up based on our management philosophy: a passion for continuous improvement, sustainable operations and our contribution to society – even when the project seems extremely challenging.

Shin Urano at the 2011 Publix Georgia Half MarathonIn all honesty, running to compete is not my preference – I enjoy running because it is fun. Now that I am in my 60s, I am thankful I can still run and enjoy other more humble motivations for finishing a race such as an ice-cold beer. Even though my first attempts at a marathon were unsuccessful, after a few more tries, and continuous training in pacing, I started finishing races successfully. The journey leading up to the successful completion of a goal, be it in a marathon or a construction project, requires the same amount of continuous effort and determination. Regardless of how shaky the start might be, with ongoing effort and courageous readjustments, success is sure to follow.

– Shin Urano, President & Chief Executive Officer, KBD Group USA