Carpe Diem Or Carpe Momentum For the Construction Business?
Any movie buff who saw Dead Poet’s Society, starring Robin Williams, knows the meaning of the Latin idiom: Carpe Diem. The film brought to life again a dead language phrase popular with self-help gurus. Once again, the words begin to crop as a part of the grassroots Republican lexicon. Carpe Diem nominally translates to “seize the day,” or if you like, “seize opportunity.”
The idiom “Carpe Momentum” is one of those wonderful expressions that is fraught with all kinds of interpretations, which is one of the reasons why I call your attention to it.
Full disclosure here: In one of my other lives I was a building contractor, and I put up a website, contractorside.com, where those in the construction trades could express their difficulties on an open forum about the conduct of their small businesses or trades. As a marketing tool, I offered a survey (Contractors, Trades Persons Survey) via Google that asked how things were for the people involved. The results were hard and bad news.
In addition to the Survey, I did a number of press releases that were very well received, but what was surprising was the number of minority-owned news publications and sources that not only picked up the releases, but displayed them fairly prominently. Two tandem announcements showed an increase of notice, and herein lies the interesting point.
Minority-owned businesses suffer decline more intensely but more quietly than majority-owned businesses, and they are not optimistic.
Here’s where the Carpe Momentum idea arises. The word Momentum is pregnant with meaning. It can mean an imminent time, an opportune frame of presence, and/or a movement with authority. Words have power. Words can execute and enable change. In this case, the words Carpe Momentum can make a national difference.
What I am suggesting, based on what I’m seeing in minority-owned businesses, is a shift in way small businesses form alliances, albeit the narrow construction enterprise. The majority businesses should take steps to bring in the very natural ally of minority businesses–which have heretofore remained invisible–on a political level.
Minority and majority construction businesses have a common antagonist seated at the government power base. An endeavor that occupied as much as 27 percent of the GDP in 2008 dwindled, or was maimed, to a paltry three percent in 2011. The much-touted “recovery” saw a gain of five points to eight percent in 2012, less than a third of normal numbers throughout the ’90s and early first decade of the millennium.
Minority unemployment is the most damaging part of the new economy. Numbers like 47 percent minority teen unemployment are not a bad dream, they are a living, breathing disaster in the making. Adult minority unemployment is twice or three times greater than majority unemployment, but both statistics are compounded by delayed timeframe reporting, if reported at all.
My survey tells me that over 90 percent of experienced skilled labor either has left the industry or considers the idea seriously. The identical number has been forced to take other unskilled work just to keep ends within spitting distance. Fully 23 percent of the construction workforce and its leaders are producing well below capacity at less than eight percent. It’s a catastrophe like dropping into a sinkhole that nobody notices.
What am I suggesting?
It should be readily apparent that an industry that was once 24 percent of the economy translates into political power. But for this energy to become kinetic and active, people in the industry must span business divides and form alliances by reaching out to some time competitors and laying the foundation for a bloc of voters and opinion writers who will forsake old oppositions.
Should other ancillary small businesses choose to join, they should be embraced in common cause. Let’s face it, small businesses like those in the building industry have no friends in the current administration. If small construction businesses join in simultaneous effort, they outstrip union numbers by strong multiples.
Seize the day (Carpe Diem)? No.
Seize the moment (Carpe Momentum). And the power (Momentum).
It’s right there before us.