Three things matter most for most builders this morning.
Guess what. They’re all within the realm of “what we can control,” vs. externals you don’t.
One is sales. All eyes are on demand and order trends. Sales matter now, not just because they become a visibility dashboard for your business. They matter now because it’s your associates’ best moment to hear what people—any age, any segment, any disposition—want and need from a home. And it's their best instant to learn customer care.
It’s a no-lose moment. You sell or you learn.
Second, is converting orders to starts to completions to deliveries and settlements. Conversions matter now, not just because they become a template for operations excellence and margin management. They matter now because there’s no better time—given order-to-completion cost pressures from labor dislocation, to learn how your people—given your modeled cycle times, critical chain management workflows, and even-flow schedules—can learn how velocity maps better to economic profitability than per home net income.
It’s a no-lose moment. You work with greater velocity in your workflows, or you learn.
Third, is extending the lot horizon. Adding lots that pencil now are not just a critical window into your business model through 2017, 2018, and into 2019. The addition of lots to your pipeline in an economic environment where some land sellers are highly motivated to monetize and others are content to sit and wait it out for multiple bidders is a proficiency you’ll want to learn now, before everybody else does.
Buying land when it’s scarce, and everybody’s scouting the same types of parcels is not a winning game. Learning to counterpunch on lots is what the best and the most enduring strategists do, and now’s a good moment to excel at that.
It’s another no-lose moment. You snag the lots or you learn.
When there’s short-term uncertainty amidst what should be a strong five-year stretch ahead, the tack to take is to win or learn to win. That’s a no-lose.