Why I Embrace the Struggle in the Pursuit of Progress

A man's hand with a ring on it comparing bar charts on a desk.

As we grow and launch new integrations, I’ve been thinking about the early days of LaborChart...and how we had trouble seeing our own needs. 

In 2014, we were in the process of building our construction workforce management platform. We were focused on solving the problems of workforce forecasting, resource planning and labor scheduling. Yet, we didn’t have a standardized process for buying software for our construction tech company. It was hard to sell to us because it was hard for us to know what we would want in the future. 

That uncertainty is what everyone faces at the beginning of a big new project. It’s the moment when you glance at the top of the mountain and then realize how many steps you need to take on the way up. 

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates once said, “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.”  

Some problems seem too large to solve in the moment because the work doesn’t stop while you’re making a decision. But if you have the courage to make a decision, that’s the moment when you’ve started solving your problems. 

An image of a bulldozer with "If you have the courage to make a decision, that's the moment you've started solving your problems" overlying the image.

We see it all the time: A contractor who deals with labor management day in and day out. He or she manages complex systems, processes and data with out-dated tools like whiteboards and spreadsheets and needs a better way. And although he or she may view software as a solution to their problem, they know that implementing a new software into their organization can be an uphill battle. After all, change can seem complicated. 

We hear this story all too often. But in our experience, the shift from whiteboards and spreadsheets to a workforce management software is worth it. 

Hesitant about making change? Here are two steps (that I also took early in my contracting career) that may help you.

Step 1: Reframe Your Problem

You have your own mountains to climb. Quarterly numbers to hit. Labor scheduling that needs updating daily. You’ve talked about improvements to resource planning for years. It might literally be mountains of spreadsheets that you tackle every Friday. That is the moment when it might feel like the tasks are so large, you don’t know where to start. 

I get it. We were in the same position. But our journey to push onward in the early stages has yielded some real benefits over the past seven years at LaborChart. It’s helped us build a culture of continuous improvement. 

Today, when we look at whether or not to purchase software for our company, we use one simple question to guide our evaluation: Will this help us serve our customers better? 

A graphic with text saying "Ask Yourself: Will this help us serve our customers better?"

When we can answer that question, then we can start to move forward and look at how we can integrate something new into what we do. And over time, we refine our process by getting a little better each day. Once those days turn to weeks and weeks into months, we can see just how far we’ve climbed. 

So, what about you? Would this change you’re facing help your clients? Your customers? Your employees. If the answer is yes, it’s time to move forward. 

Step 2: Don’t Be Lulled Into Inaction 

At LaborChart, we know that the decisions we’re making today aren’t solely for today. They are meant to position our business to grow for the next decade. And we’re committed to growing alongside our customers. We’ve built out our platform for three years with direct feedback from the people using LaborChart day in and day out.  

With each passing day, your company either improves or takes a step back. There is no such thing as staying right where you are in this moment. When I was a contractor, I felt the pressure of always trying to improve our process. It was a difficult challenge, a wave that could feel overwhelming, at times. But it also taught me an important lesson that each day was an opportunity. 

A man on his computer with text stating "with each passing day, your company either improves or takes a step back. there is no such thing as staying right where you are in this moment." over the image.

I started LaborChart to help contractors face the same challenges that I did on a daily basis. I talk about my experiences in the field with my team, explaining that if you’re not making progress, you’re getting worse. You have to make a choice to get better. You have to recognize and refuse to tolerate stagnation in your relationships, work and craft. 

The right choice doesn’t always mean that everything changes immediately. True organizational change can take years to experience. So, even as things start to improve, it can take time for the people on your team to get a feel for what you’re trying to accomplish. 

This is where the culture at your contracting firm comes into play. This is where the strength and knowledge of your team helps you achieve your goals. This is also where I’ve found that having partners committed to our long-term growth is essential.  

You don’t have to be overwhelmed by change. You can adapt your business with LaborChart because we understand that doing the work each day is how you affect real change. Our construction workforce platform will make your business better in the long-term. Let’s start right now

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Ben Schultz is founder and CEO of LaborChart. Prior to LaborChart, Ben was a fourth generation electrical contractor for 12 years. He's a husband, a father of three, and enjoys playing golf, spending time with family, and coaching his kids' sports.

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