Housing cycles and what to do when they happen again ... Lessons off the shelf from guru George Casey.
I admit it. I keep things, particularly written things.
I have an old and cracked leather copy of Nathaniel Bowditch’s “American Practical Navigator” from the mid-1800’s, handed down from an ancestor who was a clipper ship captain. I also have all 14 volumes of Samuel Eliot Morrison’s “History of United States Naval Operations in World War II” (it was the basis of the 1950s television series “Victory at Sea”).
There are a million lessons of what to do right and what to do wrong in them.
Good writing often contains wisdom about the human condition that we tend to forget unless we either reread the lessons or commit an error that causes us to learn the lesson again the hard way.
I feel that reading is much easier and more gratifying than continuing to pull pitchforks out of your rear end.
When I was one of the first project managers at Toll Brothers in the late 1970’s, we had a wooden pitchfork in the corner of the conference room where we held our weekly Project Manager Meetings on Monday afternoons. It was a reminder that one of the purposes of the meeting was to learn tough lessons from each other and ingrain them so that you did not have to learn them a second time on your own.
I had lunch with Bob Toll recently and he noted that it was still there with the same purpose nearly 40 years later. Great ideas and practices tend to stay because they work.
Recently, I was going through my “By George!” articles in an effort to catalog them as part of a website update. It forced me to reread stuff that I had written eight years ago in 2010 as we were at the bottom of the last real estate cycle.
There was one that I thought would be good to re-publish: “My 10 Lessons Learned from the Downturn”.
We have actually been on an upswing since 2009, according to the data. My internal clock says that it might be time to dust off some of those lessons. Nine years is a long time for a sustained upswing.
I am not saying that a downturn is around the immediate corner. However, at some point we all know one is coming.
When I was in the Navy, I learned that training for all kinds of eventualities during times when crises were not imminent was the best practice for being prepared when they did arrive, almost always unexpectedly.
So, it is with the “ounce of prevention, pound of cure” thoughts that I take you back to June of 2010 and a replay of my “By George!” of that time, My 10 Lessons Learned from the Downturn.
So, there we go. Nine years of history under our belts since then. Interestingly, even back then I suggested that the lessons might be needed about 2018-2020.
Here we are.
It is still a smart thing to maybe dust off your old writings and memories and experiences and begin to mentally prepare for what will be coming next. Maybe not this year or next; but smart people prepare anyway.
Do you have you have yours?
If you do, time to dig them out.
If not, maybe it is time to learn from others what theirs were.
Those who plan and prepare now will be in better shape than those who do not and will have a higher chance of not only surviving, but prospering.
I welcome your thoughts and comments.
About George Casey
With decades of deep hands-on experience in operations and processes, business consultant and keynote speaker George Casey brings unparalleled insight to a variety of businesses to streamline operations, increase profits and long-term sustainability, especially to the residential development and home building industries.
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