A (many) New Year’s challenge: 10,000 hours to achieve construction marketing mastery

Do you really need 10,000 hours of effort to master skills and achieve real competence?
Do you really need 10,000 hours of effort to master skills and achieve real competence?

January 1. We know this to be the traditional time for New Years resolutions, which usually fade into oblivion by the third week of the month. I hate this time of year at the gym. The place gets incredibly busy, with waits for equipment and painful expressions by people who know not what they are doing. Long term, there isn’t much problem, however. The newcomers soon disappear.

So what do we really need to do to achieve mastery in construction marketing (or any serious discipline)? If we believe Malcolm Gladwell, the answer is 10,000 hours of practice. Or, to put it another way, about four years working eight-hour days, Monday to Friday. Gulp. If we are to believe these numbers, since I spend about (on average) an hour a day on blogging, I would need to spend 32 years to achieve mastery at this skill. Somehow I think we won’t be blogging (at least in the way I am now) in three decades.

However, maybe we don’t need to spend that much time, if blogging is defined as a sub-set of journalism and professional writing. There, the 10,000 hours adds up correctly — if we take the start of the journey from my initial visit to the student newspaper office at UBC in Vancouver (September, 1974) to the conclusion of my journalistic adventure in Africa (April/May 1980).

In practice, once we’ve achieved mastery, we can maintain our skills with reasonable effort and determination, because we’ve learned the ropes and understand the processes and our minds our wired to really grasp what needs to be done.

Are there shortcuts to the mastery process?

Argumentatively, you can elect to purchase the required skills/talents and pay for them. This solution works if you’ve mastered the broader business operations skills you need to judge and evaluate third-party talent and services. Otherwise you’ll be sucker-bait for marketing messages and sales pitches. (So it is quite okay to frame your objectives as an expert in running a construction business, than as an expert in construction marketing.)

The second solution, I think, is to pick your endeavors and make sure you enjoy the core activities — so you are indeed willing to put the effort into practice (because it isn’t that much work to you.)

Then, if you work at it, you can start earning rewards as you complete your construction marketing apprenticeship. There’ll be easy-pickings (probably related to referral and repeat business success) and failures, and struggles, and setbacks, and plateaus. If the day-by-day effort is satisfying, however, you’ll make it through.

If you are serious about your New Years resolutions, however, think of the process as the beginning of a four-year journey. It can be a long road, but when you’ve achieved mastery, you’ll enjoy the rewards the rest of your life.

Do you have experiences where you’ve mastered success in four years (or less or more)? Please feel free to share your observations by a comment or email to buckshon@constructionmarketingideas.com.

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