By Jim Eisenhart

What is Construction Project Success on a Challenged Project?

Construction project success is enabling your project team to be the best they can be as a team on the balance of their project as measured by criteria (goals) that the team creates and hold themselves accountable to.  They are no longer playing “not to lose” as individual stakeholders, but rather are committed to playing to win as a team.

The best, quickest and most sustainable process for shifting a challenged or problem project is changing how the team members function as a team. Jim Cowell, currently director of facilities at Cal Tech and formerly head of new construction on LAUSD’s $3.5 billion new school construction program, says, “A truly high-performance team will figure out how to fix a challenged project much better than any expert can tell them how to do it or by trying to mimic another project.”

Why All-Star Teams Fail

In the 2006 World Basketball championships, Team USA lost to Greece in the second round. What I found interesting was that USA had 16 NBA all-stars, and Greece had none.

Back in 1981, I found myself, incongruously, following legendary 14-time NBA all-star and Los Angeles Lakers’ GM Jerry West as a speaker at a management conference in Palm Springs. I couldn’t resist asking Mr. West this spontaneous question: “Mr West, who would you bet on, the NBA champions or the NBA all-stars?” His immediate response was, “Ill bet on a team of good players who play GREAT as a team versus a group of individual all-stars who only play GOOD as a team, every time.”

There is No One Best Way of Fixing Problem Construction Projects

There is no universal best way of fixing a problem project. If there were, we would all read the book, utilize a specific project delivery method, watch the video or copy the XYZ project. All the above offer no panacea. Rather, the best way to fix each project will emerge from creating a World Class team that executes collaborative processes extraordinarily well. These processes are identifiable, measurable and replicable.

Do not try to adjust people’s attitudes or impose goals or demand teamwork. Most professionals resent this. Do you welcome people trying to change your attitude? Instead, enable them to create a compelling project future that is translated into measurable team goals for success going forward that change their actions. Their attitudes will follow.

Just being able to talk about and fix problems is, at best, as we will see, a good defensive project game plan. Every problem project lacks a shared offensive game plan that they execute extraordinarily well as a team. And therein lies a great opportunity for creativity, teamwork and personal excellence.

Stay tuned for next month’s Challenged Project post in which we will provide a challenged project example and the solution for achieving success.

More information on turning the challenged construction project into an extraordinary success, can be found in Jim Eisenhart’s Success Guide. Get the guide HERE.