I recently was able to tag along with the building-to-be owners on a tour of a construction site.  The building is about a month from completion, so we had to wear hard hats, walk in through the one door that was accessible and use our imaginations as to what the finished product would look like.

I was struck by the number of people who were actively working on the site: painters, plumbers, gutter installers, and electricians.  There were people grading the entrance ways, pouring concrete, building walls, installing glass and doing about every task imaginable.  It was a beehive of activity, and everyone seemed to going about their work independently.  

I was impressed with the orchestration of this project — that the paint was there for the man to paint with; the nails were on hand to hang the drywall and the rock was sufficient to fill in the ramp area outside.  And then I realized that construction projects mostly follow two key principles that I have written about:

1) They Start with Why*
2) Specificity

The “why” of construction is very tangible.  People know that why are there, doing what they are doing is to build this building — and to have it ready for the hard grand opening on July 11.  

And the specificity of construction is tangible too.  Everyone there is following blueprints that specify, in nitty gritty detail, what is expected and required.  (For example, line 1 has a 14′ RJ45 Cable (2080-9047) and RJ-31X Jack supplied by EC.)  I observed seven professionals debating for 20 minutes about how to address a 2″ lip on a platform (carpet) and whether to leave space between the building and the sidewalk or to have the sidewalk butt up to the building (the option chosen to make snow removal easier).  Everything is specifically specified, and for what isn’t, there is a weekly project meeting to get it clarified.

If you are having trouble getting different components of your organization to be in sync, see if you can arrange to spend some time on an active construction site.  The coordination could be something your organization can build on.

— beth triplett

*Start with Why concept by Simon Sinek

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