I had the chance recently to visit the Hoover Dam.  I am an avid scuba diver, as some of you know, but not much of a land tourist kind of person.  A friend of mine was in Vegas checking out her home and asked me to visit.  So I did.  She planned on us going to the Hoover Dam so, ok.  I am not difficult to entertain, had never been to the Hoover Dam – let’s go! What followed next was nothing short of O.M.G.

Here are some very limited facts (since you can check facts online, if you choose to):

  •  About 16,000 men and women worked on the project.
  • About 3,500 people were employed at any specific time.
  • The project was estimated to be completed in seven years and was done in FIVE in the 1930s!

Talk about under promising and over delivering!

As the tour guide was fond of saying — no computers or iPhones (not sure why an iPhone) was used to work on the planning, labor/materials management and logistics of the building the dam.  Imagine that.  Pure human genius, math, and rudimentary tools.

The architects, builders, managers, and workers for the dam thought of everything.  Impressively, everything.  Even having gutters inside the structure for when the rain came in through some of the vents in the dam, moving the water out of the dam structure itself.

It amazed me; the fact that there was no “technology” involved in managing the project blew my mind.  With everything that we have, there is so much missed opportunity, miscommunication, and missed deadlines?  Why?

Could it be that we are so fond of hearing ourselves speak that we cannot listen to each other long enough to communicate effectively?  Could it be that we hide behind the very technology that is supposed to support by creating a better working environment?  Could it be that there is no strong vision behind what we are doing; that some of us are just churning out the same stuff, repackaged to look like something else and it still takes us twice as long as it did the first time?

Could it be that we have lost all sense of purpose because we are so used to BS-ing our way in the world that half the time we don’t really understand what we are saying and we don’t remember five minutes after we said it?  We just throw it over the wall and leave it to the day-to-day to “get it done.”

I’ve said it many times, strong leadership, strong vision and sense of purpose and ownership, cutting through the BS, cutting away the deadwood, and forming true and truthful partnerships with our teams and with the client is the only way to attain Hoover Dam like success.  Who is with me?

P.S. No, there are no dead bodies in the dam.

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