Beyond the Build


When to Pump the Brakes a Bit

Years ago, one of my mentors shared something that stuck: “You only have one chance to get it right the first time.” It’s interesting how often I have repeated this comment over the years, to people on our team and beyond. To me, this advice was even more poignant when we were first getting started in business.

It can be hard to be 100% honest with ourselves as young professionals. The truth is, in the early stages of our careers, we probably make the wrong call more often than we get it right. Younger brains tend to have an overconfidence bias. The good news is, experience and wisdom usually go hand-in-hand, and the ratio should change in our favor.

After more than four decades in the construction business, my takeaway is that a little self-doubt can go a long way. Are we working with the best information? Will the “jump to conclusions” mentality serve us well in the weeks to come? Probably not. We become better managers and team players when we slow down, think and consider the input of our team. 



Merrill Stewart Jr.

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