Reflect, learn and grow

RMBA president Darrell Trigg

By RMBA president Darrell Trigg

As we head into another Christmas break, I have been doing a bit of reflection on the past year.

This has incuded the lessons learnt and looking at how I can grow from those experiences, both personally and business-wise going into next year.


Like most in the industry, we’ve had a busy year, and coming to the end of the year things don’t get easier.

Recently we had a new team member start with us, and after a few months in our business I asked him for a “fresh eyes” report with three questions.

What should we stop doing? What should we start doing? What should we keep doing?

I asked for, and received, honest, fantastic feedback. So I went to the rest of the team with the same questions, including myself.

From there I put all the answers together in no particular order, and we all met to discuss the outcomes and a plan of action for change.

It was a fantastic exercise, and we got some great intel, including suggested courses of action, which I have already started on.

There have also been some tough times. I talk to builders and people in the construction sector around the country, and they’re saying the pace of life and the demands of the industry on us personally are massive.

Our best treatment for this pressure is to talk to someone that you trust and not to bottle it up — even more so if you feel one of your family, friends or colleagues are “out of sorts”.

Acknowledge that things are tough at this time of year and enquire as to how they are going.

I guarantee that you will be surprised at how happy and relieved they are that someone cares enough to enquire as to their personal well-being.

People are happy to listen. We as humans are not wired to manage pressure which affects our psychological well-being.

Discussing your situation or listening about others makes a massive impact towards a great outcome.


Learning from our mistakes, or the “school of hard knocks” (passive learning), is one way we have gained knowledge during our past year in business.

It may not be the best or most productive way to do this, but it happens! The best outcome is to learn from others’ mistakes or to seek advice (active learning).

Seek out business advice such as the Elevate Business Education Series on the Registered Master Builders Association members web site, or even news stories, good and not so good.

These might include things that tragically cost someone their life on site, or learning from a mentor. If you don’t have one, approach someone you admire, and I am sure they will be happy to help out.

There are even lessons for all of us from the tragedy of the Sky City Convention Centre fire.

And do you have a business continuity plan that outlines what you would do if you were hit by a bus?

How would you finish that house and pay the bills? What type of person do you need for the short, medium or long term to perform your role within the business?


It is not called a lesson unless you take something from it and improve your business or personal knowledge to ensure that mistakes are not repeated.

Or, if it’s something new you’re learning you need to take it forward, implement it and grow your business and personal knowledge.

Part of learning and growing is making sure you give your body and mind sufficient time away from the physical and psychological demands of operating in the construction industry.

Spend time with family and friends during the year, and certainly over the summer break.

This is a great way to reset the clock back to zero for the new year, and to recharge those batteries that get “hammered” during the year.

Whatever it is that allows you to take time out and recharge, I suggest you make every effort to ensure that is what you do — it is the fertiliser that helps you grow.

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