Zone coverage: Column Eike Becker Immobilienwirtschaft 01/2019

Zone coverage: Column Eike Becker Immobilienwirtschaft 01/2019

More and more companies are therefore connecting more closely with colleges and universities, thus attracting attention at an early stage. But only commercials will not fix it. Predictions assume that by 2030 about 6 million baby boomers in Germany will retire from working life. The average age on construction sites today is already over 50 years. As if the wings of Bayern Munich were still occupied by Robbery in three years. But the Bavarians can rejuvenate their team much more easily. Every year, 16,000 skilled construction workers retire, but only 11,000 move up. Makes for a gap of 5,000 jobs a year. The demographically induced shortage of skilled workers is being fuelled by the continuing good demand situation. This year, the 830,000 skilled construction workers will have to cope with around 25 percent more orders. The companies have each developed a different strategy for recruiting employees. Investors, project developers and brokers entice their project managers away with higher salaries and company cars from architectural offices. This makes the latter younger, more feminine and more international. I believe that is good. Colleagues from other parts of the world also get their opportunities in German architectural offices, and in many cases already make up substantial parts of the teams, including as project managers and partners. Sixteen different nationalities work together at our office, half of them are female. A teacher conducts specialist German courses twice a week. A law on the immigration of skilled workers is not required for this purpose. But the public institutions, which until recently had cut their jobs, cannot fill them again. On the labour market, with their less flexible structures and facing increased wages and demands, they are hardly able to offer convincing opportunities. Who is complaining about the slow processing of building permits? Many employers are now looking at how to make themselves more attractive to their employees. More central locations, better office facilities, more holidays, more flexible working hours, comprehensive mobility offers and career opportunities are the topics of the day. This is good for the young architects, engineers and skilled workers who can choose their companies. But what then happens to the qualified new specialists in the companies? Aren't too many of the much-needed talents being wasted? Do they not dally away too much life energy with useless activities? The discussion about how to overcome the shortage of skilled workers usually conceals one of the biggest evils in the construction and real estate industry: daily waste and miserable organisation. Work expands to the exact extent that time is available for its completion. Endless and disorderly meetings, overburdened decision-makers, long waiting times for everything and everyone, excessive reporting, missing specifications or even more superfluous alternatives are just a few examples of useless work. But there's another way.

Mainz 05 is not a club for high flyers. A city with 215,000 inhabitants, who also regularly sing and laugh in the carnival, only fields a Bundesliga team in exceptional cases. As a rule, this gray mouse of the second league fought against relegation. Wolfgang Frank was the trainer who changed that and was one of the first in German football to operate applying zone coverage. He marked out the different zones on the training ground with flagpoles and practiced with the individual players how to shift around in sync and in a ball-oriented manner on the pitch. Suddenly everyone was connected with everyone, attackers defended, the defence became involved in building the game and all together they acted as fast and planned as possible. Thus, a team of mediocre single players became an agile team with coordinating, complex interacting individuals. Everybody watched the others, everybody played together. This went far beyond something as simple as man-to-man coverage. The success was overwhelming and sensational. The second-rate relegator stormed into the Europa League.

Can this also be transferred to professional life? How much Mainz 05 is there in the real estate industry? Or to put it another way: Can the construction industry also provide zone coverage? Learning from Mainz 05 means bringing the individual forces together in a more coordinated and intensive way. Then nobody will work on his project in man-to-man coverage but will solve the tasks coordinated with his colleagues within a cross-project network in zone coverage. Being part of a competent team, a colleague with less experience can be successful much faster. This is possible when further training, communication, monitoring, empowerment and mentoring are an essential part of everyone's daily work. This reduces useless work significantly. Value creation is improved and accelerated decisively both internally and externally. This is how lone fighters become teams and project managers become mentors helping one another. Implementing better and superior organisational models is a rocky but rewarding path. Despite the boom, the real estate industry of today has much in common with Mainz 05. Before the introduction of zone coverage.

However, the boys from the construction site are still far removed from forechecking, pressing and the chain of four.