Beyond the Build


Channeling Goldilocks

Construction, by its very nature, can be and is a stressful business. While we are planners by trade, and we’ve all learned how to mitigate risk, we’re constantly battling unforeseen circumstances. The list can range from material shortages to something as simple (and powerful) as the weather. Many of us thrive under pressure, but how much is too much?

I read an interesting article recently about the “Goldilocks principle of stress.” The gist is that humans actually perform better under stress…Until it gets to be too much. The the curve starts going down when we get overwhelmed. So how do we find that sweet spot, where we’re juggling enough to be extra sharp, but not so much that we crumble under pressure?

In the medical profession, when a young physician is in training, part of that training is putting them under stress at certain times. This includes very long hours, at times without sleep, so that they learn how to make the right decisions for their patient even when under duress. While are not be able replicate this type of training in the construction business, we try to match up a senior leader who has “experience under fire” with a manager who has not yet figured out how to make the right decisions when the bullets are flying, so to speak. Often times, this system allows our younger managers to learn how to anticipate tough spots in the project before they come major issues, leveling out the stress for everyone.

{Image Source}

Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.