MEP Masterminds Recap: Embrace Disruption and Thrive with Jeff Sample
Written By Caitlin Dunn

For the sixth installment of the MEP Masterminds virtual event series, Jeff Sample of eSub was our mastermind of the week. He led a discussion on disruption and how to both embrace it and thrive through it.

“I’m a disrupter by trade,” Jeff began, “because I always think there’s a better way to do something.” He discussed the current business climate and the difficulties that have come with it and added, “I think we have a unique opportunity, and people are afraid to call this an opportunity right now. The only constant in our life is change.”

And when life gives us an opportunity to change, Jeff said, “It’s up to us to take it.” The industry itself will not go away; construction will not go away; and MEP will not go away. “We’re going to keep building buildings,” he said. “Fundamentally, how it gets done will change. It has to change.” He also mentioned that the construction industry has long been “ripe for change.” Many aspects of the industry are in need of an update, and that’s nothing to be afraid of. As individuals and organizations, we can harness and enjoy that change. “I think life’s about enjoyment,” Jeff said. “It’s about growing and embracing that [change].”

Jeff also discussed leadership in a time of disruption. “We are all inherently leaders,” he said, “by how we act, how we hold ourselves, and how we treat other people.” In order to thrive as a leader in a time of disruption, leaders must “have a culture of failure.” But what does this mean? “You have to be okay with dissension,” Jeff explained. “You have to be okay with differing opinions. It has to be alright with you to invite people to criticize your ideas, just as part of the overall process… if you don’t sit down with a team and ask ‘how is this going to fail,’ you’re not going to be ready when those things happen. Those things are going to happen.”

In times of disruption, rolling with the punches is essential. “Now, more than ever, we’ve got to embrace diversity,” Jeff said. “And I mean that from all angles… a diversity of thought brings a different way to solve problems. We all have that, and we need to encourage it.”

During the break for discussion, the groups mentioned that disruption has always been a part of the industry, and people usually tend to push against change until they become used to it. Companies that are good and accustomed to change and innovation roll it out intentionally. Construction has been extremely resilient as an industry: tools such as BIM 360 and Zoom were quickly implemented and allowed workers to regain an effective workflow. In addition, it’s important to remember that there is a price that comes with refusing to innovate. Although it may be too late to do it this time around, the next time a disruption hits, embrace the change and thrive.

If you’d like to hear more from Jeff, check out this episode of Bridging the Gap: How “The Iron Man of IT” Found His Way to the Trades. Also, read our more recent MEP Masterminds recap blog: The Benefits of Prefabrication with Jason Barber.

Join in our final MEP Masterminds virtual event, “Prefabrication,” with MEP industry specialist Adam Heon of eVolve MEP. Prefabrication of something repeatable in a factory setting is far more efficient than creating them one by one onsite. Join us in this session as we learn about prefabrication and how it’s being used to conquer rework, shorter schedules and tighter budgets. By working in a controlled prefab environment, quality can be tracked more accurately, and employees can work more safely on prefab in a shop. Prefab is also more sustainable because it results in better use of materials and less waste on a project.

Sometimes even the smallest things can be the best teachers. Lessons learned come in many forms, for instance participating in the upcoming virtual MEP Force conference. Register for MEP Force today and take advantage of this opportunity to learn from your industry peers.

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