How Sheep Can Chase Off Wolves

By Christopher E. Carter, P.E.

There is a well known essay in military and law enforcement circles written by LTC (RET) Dave Grossman, USA, entitled, “On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs.” In the piece, an analogy is made that all people in our society can be classified into one of those three groups. The same can be said of the home building industry. However, I would add two more groups to the mix: shepherds and goats.

Let’s look at how this might break down. Within the home building flock, there are sheep and goats. The sheep are developers, home builders, remodelers, suppliers, subcontractors, and all others who produce the product. Of these, some are rams, some are ewes, and some are lambs.

Goats do the same jobs as sheep, but tend to hang out on the fringe of the herd. They’re independent by nature, and think they’re smarter than sheep.

Protecting the flock are sheepdogs. These are accountants, architects, bankers, defense attorneys, engineers, insurers, lobbyists, warranty companies, and all other service providers which assist the flock and watch for wolves.

The shepherds are the legislators and enforcers. They are lawmakers, planning departments, building departments, and others who try to control the herd and keep out wolves by erecting pens and fences for the protection of all.

The wolves of course, are the “baad” plaintiff attorneys and their advocating experts which prey on the flock. (Some would also put insurers in this group.)

So given this sub-circle of life, how can sheep better protect themselves from the wolves? Here are four suggestions from a loyal sheepdog:

  1. Let the goats stick around. Encourage them to join the fold. If they won’t, that’s okay too – they’ll attract attention away from the herd and soon become sacrificial lambs. (Try to help those who unintentionally hurt our industry.)
  2. Get the rams to run off sheepdogs that don’t do their jobs – they’re only good for barking, and won’t confront the wolf. (Don’t use consultants who get you into trouble, or are really wolves in sheep clothing.)
  3. Learn to fight and not flee. The wolves like it when the killing’s easy. Rams and sheepdogs should team up to repel attacks. Ewes and lambs need to stay together and provide support. (Keep the HBAs strong. Form pro-active committees and marketing strategies to fight outside abuse.)
  4. Hunt the hunter. Coordinate with the shepherd and sheepdog to lure, snare, and scatter the wolves – keep them on the run and out of their packs. (Pursue unethical attorneys and experts. Develop fair laws and codes which discourage frivolous claims.)

A little offense for defense, may take some of the huff and puff out of the big, bad wolf.