Instead of thinking outside the box, explode the box! This will lead to creative, competitive solutions.
Mike, Superintendent for a general contractor in Canby, OR, told Session 3B of Turbo's Leadership Development Lab (LDL):
"We landed a project in Dundee, OR, to replace the existing 18" concrete sewer pipe with 24" PVC. The existing sewer pipe line included a section that was directly under an existing power line,the existing sewer line was about 12' to 14' deep. The combination of depth and power line obstruction was going to make it extremely difficult to complete the project on budget. I did some brainstorming with my crew and Google searches for possible solutions. I was able to get in contact with a pipe bursting company who has the experience and equipment to pull the new pipe through the existing pipe and then break the existing pipe out of the way. I went to the owners of our company and proposed this approach instead of the traditional way of open trenching this section, the way we had originally envisioned doing the work. They accepted our idea and then I sold the pipe bursting approach to the engineer and owner who accepted this out of the box way of executing the work. We hired the pipe bursting subcontractor to do that section and other than a couple of small hurdles, everything went as planned. A much easier, faster and safer way of getting new pipe installed around the power line than open trenching could possibly have been.
"The lesson I learned from this experience is that sometimes I have to take the risk of doing things in a new and different way and this requires that I think outside of the box.
"The action I call you to take is don't just stay stagnate in the "way we have always done it." There are always other options. Brainstorm with your crew, ask permission and sell your ideas.
"The benefit you will gain are projects with fewer problems, you will drive down your costs, improve your value and safety while you increase your profits."
I love this story because it is so simple to read and understand, but don't miss the courage required to try something new, to sell the unknown to several stakeholders. Start today to think in terms of results needed, results required, in other words, 'how can we beat the bid?' instead of why it can't be done. You may be amazed at how this simple shift helps you create breakthroughs in your performance.
Fall Leadership Development Labs are forming now in Eugene, Wilsonville, Salem and Vancouver.