industryREdesignâ„˘ IndustryREdesign is a project of the Construction Institute at the University of Hartford.
industryREdesignâ„˘ IndustryREdesign is an exclusive series of workshops that uses a crossindustry, cross-generational approach to create solutions for our industryâ€™s greatest challenges. Workshop #1: January 26, 2017 CHALLENGE: Create an environment that encourages deeper collaboration between firms. Workshop #2: April 6, 2017 CHALLENGE: Building on Mars - Win a client by pitching the most collaborative way to complete a project. Workshop #3: January 25, 2018 CHALLENGE: How do we create contracts that favor collaboration, cooperation and creativity? The white papers that distill the results of these workshops have been compiled in this report. Included in the collection is fourth white paper from a workshop that led to the creation of the industryREdesign series Workshop: April 4, 2016 Why Should I work for You? A workshop to explore how the AEC industry will attract the workforce of the future.
IndustryREdesign sponsored by:
CHALLENGE: Create an environment that encourages deeper collaboration between firms The solutions effective at overcoming challenges in an industry as complicated as this one are sourced from a diverse group of individuals with different experiences, perspectives and world views. One of our industries biggest challenges is creating an environment that encourages deeper collaboration among firms within the industry. IndustryREdesign is an exclusive series of workshops that uses a cross-industry, cross-generational approach to creating solutions for our industries greatest challenges.
Workshop #1 Report In our first workshop we explored how to create an environment that encourages deeper collaboration between firms. Attendees were asked to explore their experiences of collaboration, when it worked, when it didn’t, and why it matters. This report is a summary of the key themes revealed during the workshop. Why does collaboration matter?
What are the ideal conditions for collaboration?
Becuase it results in better quality projects, built more quickly for less overall cost while being a more enjoyable experience for all involved. Specifically, collaboration invites more creative ideas, allows issues to be resolved proactively and draws out the best everyone involved has to offer. The projects, the communities they impact and the people involved are more successful as a result.
When members of the team are working toward a shared vision and for the good of the project and the community it impacts. These conditions can be established by:
When are the best times to collaborate? Right from the start, and when there is more than one party responsible for the success of a decision. Specifically, if effort is spent in the beginning, a team can be built that trusts one another, is clear and focused on a shared vision, and is looking out for each others success and the success of the project. The return on that effort in terms of quality, speed and costs will be exponential What’s stifling collaboration? When conditions are such that members of the team have a primary focus on protecting their self interest. These conditions include:
C reating a shared vision and defining clear goals with everyone involved (including the client) right from the start M aking sure that every member of the team has what they need to be successful and satisfied E stablishing roles, accountabilities and communication protocols among the team members E mpowering the team to share where they see opportunities and limits to success H aving the right perspectives in the right conversations at the right time Besides what’s above, as an individual how can I invite collaboration among my team members? H ave a mindset that collaboration is non-negotiable R ecruit 10% of your organization to evangelize a culture of collaboration - that’s enough to create a tipping point
Not enough to go around, so everyone is fighting for their piece
M ake it about asking the right questions, instead having the right answer
A vision for the project is either missing or un-
S tay open to new ways of seeing and doing
Assumptions are made vs. establishing clear
understanding about the project and the team
Being afraid to disappoint, share ideas, put aside ego or internal politics
No one assigned, or willing to take the lead on making sure collaboration happens
L isten to what others think E ngage with everyone around you What are some specific examples of things that can be leveraged or generated to provoke collaboration A critical project constraint that forces the team to work closely together A vision for the project that is meaningful enough to bring everyone together
industryREdesign™ - Shape your future ©2017 Brent Robertson & The Construction Institute, All Rights Reserved
WORKSHOP REPORT #2
industryREdesignâ„˘ CHALLENGE: Win a client by pitching the most collaborative way to complete a project. There have now been two very successful industryREdesign workshops focused on how to encourage deeper collaboration within the industry. This report includes the learning from the second workshop conducted on April 6th 2017. IndustryREdesign sponsored by:
IndustryREdesign is an exclusive series of workshops that uses a cross-industry, cross-generational approach to creating solutions for our industries greatest challenges.
Workshop #2 Report In our second workshop, we challenged attendees to win over a client with a project kickoff meeting approach that inspired the most collaboration. Attendees were broken into groups: Four “firms” and one “client”. The “firms” were given a fictitious project (build a habitat for a Mars expedition) and had to design and present their approach to the client. The “client” then weighed in and deliberated on the best elements of each approach. This report is a summary of the key themes revealed. What ideas came out of the workshop that attendees agreed inspired collaboration? Mock-ups and models - whether they be physical or computer generated, having models that all of the members of the team can see and interact with, will invite more collaborative and creative conversation and help identify problems early. Only create, never blame - what if contracts were designed to promote problem solving rather than finger pointing? No matter what happens along the way, it’s not about seeking blame, rather, creating for a path forward. Collaboration specialists - the degree to which collaboration is effective is the degree to which the relationships people are in are healthy. There are credentialed experts in relationship building and collaboration, why not have one on your team? Thoughtful planning - It’s not realistic to have a plan that assures all will go perfectly. Rather it’s having a plan that is thoughtfully developed around the notion that things will go wrong, and includes a way to flexibly deal with that reality. Strength of culture - you can let culture happen, or you can create an environment that the kind of culture you want can grow and flourish. This requires a clear vision and set of values to live by and strong leadership to fight for and defend those values. A strong culture will go a long way to have a team that can handle change and surprise much better than one without one. Dynamic interactions - the work at home movement is breaking down, as the convenience of working from home is now clearly outweighed by the value of spontaneous interactions only proximity allows for. Demonstrate how you will use space, technology or other methods to ensure interactions.
Feedback, early, often, always - one of the teams suggested they build two projects at the same time. One for playing with (perhaps at smaller scale, or with cheaper materials), one being the final product going to Mars. This would allow for real-time testing and feedback to be happening, and give the team time to response to feedback during construction, not after when it is too late, or too expensive. Go beyond what you know - borrowing ideas from other industries or fields of study that could benefit a project isn’t just a good idea, it is the basis for collaboration at a higher order. You don’t have to be the expert at everything, but you do need be an expert at inviting them into the conversation. Set yourself up for success - If you don’t have the tools to best demonstrate your thinking, create them! Whether it be through story, visuals, activities - set it up so your ideas are not only communicated, but have been presented in a way that others who need to sponsor them have what they need to carry them forward. The breakthrough On the surface, this workshop seemed outlandish. What client is going to pick a firm based only on their ability to inspire collaboration? And, who is really going to contract the construction of a habitat on Mars in this kind of setting? However, when you read the ideas above, do any of them seem that outlandish to you? The group came to the realization that a lot of these ideas aren’t new, and many of the firms represented at the workshop, practice them in some form. However, collaboration became the context that had these ideas make sense to the client. Because collaboration makes sense. It results in better quality projects, built more quickly, for less overall cost and waste, while being a more enjoyable experience for all.
industryREdesign™ - Shape your future ©2017 Brent Robertson & The Construction Institute, All Rights Reserved
WORKSHOP REPORT #3
industryREdesignâ„˘ CHALLENGE: How do we create contracts that favor collaboration, cooperation and creativity? There have now been three very successful industryREdesign workshops focused on how to encourage deeper collaboration within the industry. This report includes the learning from the third workshop conducted on January 25th 2018. IndustryREdesign is an exclusive series of workshops that uses a cross-industry, cross-generational approach to creating solutions for our industries greatest challenges.
Workshop #3 Report In our third industryREdesign workshop we challenged one of the biggest limiters to collaboration – contracts. We explored what about contracts is working, not working, and missing that if included would invite more collaboration. As always, this session was populated by attendees of different generations and from all key industry disciplines. Below are the insights and that came out of the workshop. What contracts should encourage if they were designed to enable collaboration: All in this together Parameters for how the teams work together, acknowledge and overcome mistakes, and the defined scope of the deliverable should be established with the involvement of all members of the team especially the owner and subcontractors who are often left out. And whatever is agreed to contained in one central place everyone has access to. Owners having a vital role The owner needs to include not only who is funding the project, but represent those who will occupy or make use of it. The owner(s) need to insist in the effective, ongoing communication of everyone involved. Knowing how the money flows There should be no mystery about how the project is funded, and how the money flows to all the players and when. There should be financial and other incentives to deliver beyond what’s been expected that benefits everyone. (Improve quality/shorten time/lower cost/eliminate waste) Relationships first/process second There should be opportunities for the teams to bond and socialize to create healthy relationships right from the start. And mandated face-to-face interactions at key junctures in the project. Spontaneous conversations interactions should be encouraged, as long as any decisions are documented and agreed to by those they effect. The power to change and adapt If through the course of executing the project, either unexpected constraints present themselves or welcomed discoveries are surfaced, the team can override any previous agreements if it is in the best interest of the project. (To be determined through all-team discussion)
Information generously shared There should be no boundaries that limit access to needed information. And expectations on the timeliness and thoroughness of the requests for information agreed to in advance. The breakthrough: The breakthrough came toward the end of the discussion when we had finally gotten past all the “reasons we can’t change anything” thinking that comes when things have been a certain way for some time. What if we had two distinct “Contracts”. One would be an agreement on “scope” (A defined scope for the deliverable). And the other would be an “operating agreement” that would lay out the principals and the ways-and-means for how the team will conduct themselves and hold each other accountable to deliver on the “scope”. The real twist being that the operating agreement would be created post “scope” approval as a real-time collaborative effort among all stakeholders involved. Provisions in that agreement would allow for the inevitable “didn’t see that coming” need to adapt, and as-needed revisions of the agreement as the real dynamics of the project play out over time. It would also mandating all stakeholders come together to check-in on how the team is operating and to ensure everyone being provided what they need to be successful. Incentives could also be awarded for “good sportsmanship”. In fact, the six key themes identified through this exercise could serve as the foundation to create such an operating agreement. If you see anything of merit in what you are reading in this document, it begs the question, will they stay ideas, or will they become action. If you have or are thinking about trying any of this, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and share your experiences your experiences.
industryREdesign™ - Shape your future ©2018 Brent Robertson & The Construction Institute, All Rights Reserved
WHITE PAPER WHY SHOULD I WORK FOR YOU? A white paper that captures the outcomes of a workshop that explored how the A/E/C industry, in this region, will attract the workforce vital to its future. AUTHORED BY:
Brent Robertson DATE:
WHY SHOULD I WORK FOR YOU? The purpose of this white paper is to document what was revealed as a result of a February 25th 2016 Construction Institute workshop titled: “Why Should I Work for You?” At this workshop a diverse group of professionals that included those in the architecture, engineering, construction, planning and similar disciplines in the built environment industry tackled the challenge of how to attract and retain the talent vital to their firm’s and their industry’s future success. The Challenge: One of the biggest limiting factors to the long-term success of this industry, particularly in this region, is access to talent. With so many attractive career opportunities in places like NYC or Boston why would the best and the brightest candidates want to work for firms in this region? Not having a compelling answer to that question has put our region at a competitive disadvantage when compared to other locations. As a result, getting access to qualified professionals and trained experts has become difficult. Worse, the industry as a whole is suffering from a lack of incoming talent and enrollment in architecture and engineering and construction programs are dropping. It was abundantly clear that a new narrative for the industry needs to be created. However, this new narrative couldn’t be some hyperbolic and idealistic picture that could never be lived up to, but rather an expression that is inspiring, and also authentic to the reality of what being part of this industry in this region truly means. This led us to one conclusion: It needed to be created by the people who are part of the industry in this region including those with years of involvement and those new to it and from as many different industry disciplines as possible. Intention of the workshop: Create the components of a new narrative designed to attract the workforce of the future through the real-time interactions of a diverse group of industry members.
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WHY SHOULD I WORK FOR YOU? The workshop design and facilitation methodology: 1) Establishing diversity The first challenge was attracting as diverse a group of attendees as possible, but also to have a group size that wasnâ€™t too big to effectively facilitate and manage. As a result, the workshop was limited to fifty attendees. Attendees were invited from architecture, engineering, construction, planning and other disciplines in the built environment industry including property owners. The initial invitations were sent to leaders of different firms who were encouraged to attend the event with one of their younger team members. As a result, we had a very diverse group of attendees of men, women, young and old. The attendees were then split up among five tables so that no two people from the same company sat together. Then, each table of 10 was mixed up to create as much diversity in discipline, age and experience as possible. Each group was given time to get to know each other over coffee and breakfast. 2) Inviting contribution The centerpiece of the workshop was a series of three questions - each designed to invite as much honest and meaningful contribution as possible. 1) What is it about this industry in this region that makes it attractive to be part of? 2) What is it about this industry that makes it unattractive? 3) What is missing that if we had would make a big difference in our ability to attract the workforce of the future? Attendees were asked first to write down their thoughts on sticky notes, one idea per note and as many ideas as they had. After that, each table was given time to discuss their thoughts and one person, appointed as scribe, captured the key themes that were revealed trough the course of the conversation. Finally, each table was then asked to describe the major themes discussed for the rest of the room. The facilitators then captured the key themes on easel boards in the front of the room. This same process was repeated for the three questions. 3) Eliciting action All of the attendees were then asked to identify the themes revealed through each question that rose above the rest. Finally, each of those critical themes was used to identify actions that could be taken that would make the biggest difference in either enhancing the most attractive aspects of being part of the industry, addressing the most unattractive parts and creating the most needed elements.
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WHY SHOULD I WORK FOR YOU? Outcomes: The primary objective of the workshop was to generate the ideas and story elements vital to creating a narrative for the industry designed to attract the workforce of the future. Of all of the ideas generated, the most important ones, as indicated by the attendees, were used to create the draft of that narrative below (the full output of these ideas are at the end of this document):
Q: Why should I work in the A/E/C Industry in this region? A: Because you can dream, design and realize the world you get to live in. You will be part of something bigger than yourself and join with other artists, scientists, craftsmen, technicians, and practitioners who bring together the people and generate the ideas that inspire the creation of our communities and connect us to each other. We need your help to show us how to do things in new ways so our work can have a greater impact while requiring fewer resources. We need to learn how to come together as a community more interested in creating value for our clients and the world than protecting our own self interests. And we need to establish a business environment that doesn’t require us to sacrifice so much of ourselves to do the work we love. We need you to remind us and help celebrate the fact that our work deeply affects people’s lives. We need to capture and share what we’ve learned and encourage others to join us in our noble work. Most of all, you should work for us because how we exist together, in a world that is moving as quickly as ours is, has yet to be defined. If you join us, you get to have a say in how that will be. Another objective of the workshop was to illicit actions that anyone in this industry can take that will begin to make a difference. Those actions boiled down to three simple ideas:
1) Be Open - to new ways of seeing and doing 2) Be Curious - about what others think 3) Be Engaged - with everyone around you
4 ©2016 Brent Robertson & The Construction Institute, All Rights Reserved
WHY SHOULD I WORK FOR YOU? Conclusion: Based on feedback from the session, the most important thing attendees realized was they weren’t alone in how they felt about the industry. Everyone was able to share their ideas and together re-kindle their energy for what they do and why it matters. Attendees were not only able to constructively discuss the challenges the industry faces, but also determine and agree upon actions that will make the biggest difference. What came through as a result of the workshop was: 1) There is a compelling narrative for the industry that can and should be leveraged now 2) T here is significant work to be done to enhance the industry environment in this region to continue to attract and retain top talent 3) That working together to confront and generate solutions to our industry’s biggest challenges is not only possible, but essential 4) We are going to need a bold vision and strong leadership to navigate the future successfully By taking action on the ideas generated from the workshop, it is possible to create a more vibrant and prosperous environment for our industry. Complete output from the workshop: The attendees of the workshop generated a lot of compelling ideas that not only gave rise to the narrative and actions above but have the infinite capacity to inspire other insights actions. Think of the ideas below as source code in which to build any number of things. Question#1: What is it about this industry in this region that makes it attractive to be a part of? Top Themes: 1) We get to be part of something greater than ourselves 2) It’s easy to access leaders and members of the regional A/E/C firms 3) You get to dream and design and realize
5 ©2016 Brent Robertson & The Construction Institute, All Rights Reserved
WHY SHOULD I WORK FOR YOU? Other Themes: • Every day/hour is different • Access to talented and creative people • Ability to bring diverse people together and create • Pride in craftsmanship • Connections to buildings • The ability to share and transfer skills between professionals in region • You get to solve problems - solutions based industry • New England is fast-paced • Plurality of communities - the ones you work for, work with, design, build, and live in • Sensitive to how we change and influence communities • Become part of other communities even if for a short time • Mentorship (connection between students & Professors/young staff/senior staff) • Ability to impact the built environment • Physically connected to what we are building • There is a mix of old and new buildings/communities/aesthetic • A unique culture, the industry is its own family “All in this together, for better or worse” • Variety of opportunities to work with companies from all different places • Ability to have a strong impact on communities, society and the world • Buildings contribute directly to community • Strong connection between members of the industry What actions can we take to continue to amplify these ideas? • Create marketing materials that reflect this new narrative for the industry for both recruiting and promotion • Bring this conversation (the one had at this event) into each of your own firms • Change how we bond from cynicism for how it is, to enthusiasm for what it can be • Engagement at the individual level to strengthen your firm • Letting individuals own and lead their ideas and initiatives • Having greater focus on office culture and team building
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WHY SHOULD I WORK FOR YOU? • Create forums to learn and teach • Embracing the desire to build internal relationships • Forum to discuss what’s working and what’s not Question #2: What is it about this industry that makes it unattractive? Top Themes: 1) Fee slashing - bias is toward cost instead of value/quality 2) Lack of trust between each other firms, firms and clients 3) Lack of transparency while putting on a facade that there is transparency 4) Gap between those who are able to use technology and those who are not 5) A disconnect between generations on the question of “sacrifice required for success in this industry” and why there should be a sacrifice at all? Other Themes: • The public procurement process is broken • Debt to income ratio is too high • Cost of living in this region is too high • Disconnect within firms and between firms • Getting access to a talented and skilled workforce • Lack of communication and exposure between various parts of the industry • Slow to adapt to change/trends/new ways of doing things • Fast paced industry doesn’t leave room for strategy or contemplation • Uncertainty on how to forecast and plan for the future • Product based relationships instead of partnerships • Difficulty being strategic as things are moving too fast to put your head up • Vision and strategy grasped differently by different generations • Lack of compensation vs. hours worked • People are finding better opportunities in other industries • Speed of work sacrifices quality • Focus on tech experience vs. field experience • Lots of political boundaries • Things aren’t built to last due to low bid culture • Lack of apprentice programs • Safety is often sacrificed due to impact of costs • Cynical attitude • Lack of work life balance • Conflict between advice of older generation and what’s expected of a young professional • Lack of diversity • Sexism • Unhealthy competition within and between companies • Bias to doing a lot of work vs. working smarter • Multi-national vs. Local firms
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WHY SHOULD I WORK FOR YOU? What actions could be taken to overcome these challenges? • Better articulate why quality matters so that we can shift the bias from cost • Openly discuss the idea of “Sacrifice” among different generations within your firm to gain an understanding of what it means to different people, why it matters and what are we to do with the idea • Get a better understanding of the needs of the world in front of us and explore how we as an industry or firm can better be essential to its success • Ask the question why? Why are we doing this, what difference will it make, does anyone care? • Be curious Question #3: What’s missing that if we had would make a big difference in our ability to attract the workforce of the future? Top Themes: 1) Expose people to the industry at a younger age 2) C reate more effective ways to communicate what our industry does and why to the general community 3) Capture knowledge learned by experienced professionals to share with the generations that follow 4) Celebrate more Other Themes: • Show career progression paths • Work smarter - not just harder • Emphasize quality vs. quantity • Include as much diversity as possible in conversations • Re-calibrate a career in this industry that allows for work life balance • Find ways for companies to better align with newer talent within them • More fully leverage the potential of people, technology, other resources • Get more women in the field and in leadership positions • Develop better mentorship programs that invite loyalty • Create more time for reflection • Elevate pay scale to be more competitive with other options • Create the economic growth to drive industry • Cities that are affordable and enjoyable to live in • A balance between technical knowledge and field exposure • More internship opportunities • Welcoming new employees day one • Become thought leaders, instead of victims • Replace cynicism with optimism • Have a shared commitment and vision for the industry What actions could we take to begin to generate these things? • Learn from different generations • Better integrate school and the industry. Use our work to illustrate math, science and art at work • Create desire at an early age • Create academic curriculum that includes preparing students for the reality of working for the industry
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WHY SHOULD I WORK FOR YOU?
About Brent Robertson, White Paper Author, Event Co-Creator and Co-Facilitator Brent Robertson works with leaders to design futures worth fighting for. A partner at Fathom, he champions an approach to strategy that prioritizes people and relationships. As a result, his clients don’t simply plan their futures, they bring them to life through the energy of organization-wide involvement in, and commitment to, generating valuable businesses that matter. Besides his client work, Brent is also an advisor to national organizations that support the A/E/C industry including serving on the Board of Construction Institute. Learn more at www.fathom.net
About Sarah Giardini, Event Co-Creator and Co-Facilitator Exposed to the industry through family ties, Sarah M. Giardini has focused her early career efforts on the marketing and business development aspects of the A/E/C community in Connecticut. Her love of business paired with her passion for maximizing both her personal and company’s potential have given her a voice representing her fellow millennial professionals. Winner of the 2016 Professional Women in Construction Rising Star Award and member of both the Professional Women in Construction and Construction Institute Boards, Sarah offers a valuable perspective of the upcoming leaders of the built environment.
About the Construction Institute The Construction Institute is an organization committed to providing resources and forums for cross-industry collaboration to those that serve the built environment industry. It’s members are a network of visionary leaders and skilled professionals who come together to take on the biggest challenges facing the industry. Learn more at www.construction.org
9 ©2016 Brent Robertson & The Construction Institute, All Rights Reserved
IndustryREdesign is a project of the Construction Institute at the University of Hartford. It is an exclusive series of workshops that emplo...