By Jim Eisenhart

One of the biggest excuses people make about fixing problem projects is that “So and So won’t/can’t change. There is no point in even trying to change them, so we must remove them, cope with them, complain about them or, more typically, use them as an excuse for lack of success on our project.” Equally prevalent is the assumption that a particular company or organization will never collaborate with the team, therefore the project is doomed to fail

The above turns all too easily into “passive aggressive” behavior wherein team members do not engage face-to-face when together but rather complain individually to one another about the person or company in question behind their back. In well over half of these often-unspoken assessments, the opposing individual feels the same about him or her. The vast majority of these judgements are based upon different assumptions from experiences individuals may have had or heard about which all to easily turn into convenient stereotypes, such as “That contractor is just a change-order artist” or “The designer has a big ego and won’t admit to mistakes.”

As a Partnering facilitator, I am frequently asked, “What’s it like working with X contractor or XYZ owner? My response: “It invariably comes down to the individuals involved on the specific project. And, most importantly, that individual’s past performance is never a guarantee of their future performance.”

Although it can be difficult, set aside stereotypes and baggage. And, then truly engage with your fellow project stakeholders as individuals. This can be hard work and is uncomfortable for many. But do you like others to engage with you based on their stereotype of you, your profession, or your organization?

Give all team members choices going forward:

1) Do nothing

2) Argue about who’s right or wrong about why the project is failing

3) Let go of history and reset the project team

Based on our past experiences Partnering, many types of projects with various people and organizations, given a true choice between a collaborative process and a “Business as Usual” or “Combative” process, few individuals in any organization would consciously choose the latter two.

More information on how to perform a project reset and turn your challenged construction project into an extraordinary success, can be found in Jim Eisenhart’s Success Guide. Get the guide HERE.

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