Turbo Leadership Systems

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Issue 75 To our clients and friends January 17, 2006
Structure YourApproach to Help the Team Succeed
Larry W. Dennis, Sr.
Turbo Leadership

Avoid the drama, fix the problem

Max, project manager for a major general contractor in the greater Seattle area, told Session 10A of the Leadership Development Lab (LDL): "ln August I was on a project that was a tough remodel, removing walls to create space within an existing mall in Everett, Washington. The mall owner had elected to remove eight tenants and remodel the area to allow for a 20,000 plus square foot store to be inserted into the existing mall in the space that had been occupied by the eight previous stores.

Structural steel redesign, fabrication and erection are extremely difficult since the new steel must meet and attach to the existing structural steel building frame. Many of the building's existing structural steel locations were unknown during the steel redesign phase. The old prints we could put our hands on were sketchy at best and were not, as it turns out, always accurate in specifying where the existing steel structures were. lt seemed the specifications were the idealizedesign of the structure, not "as builts", where the beams really ended up in the final actual construction.

The steel erection subcontractor on the project had plans and made assumptions that everything would be exactly where the prints we could find had indicated they would be. Well, everything was far from perfect. Beams were out of place, elevations were wrong, and some of the existing structural steel was a

different dimension than expected. "The steel erection contractor is a small firm and every time somethingoes wrong or things are not perfect, he blows up, and as you can tell from my description, they aren't perfect much of the time, so he has plenty of opportunities to blow up. He threatens to quit every time anything goes wrong. Of course I couldn't let this happen. I began to apply every one of the 15 Leadership Principles I could make fit with a special emphasis on listening and continuing to let it be his idea as we would develop go forward problem solving action plans.

The lesson I learned from this experience is by exercising clear, calm thinking and not allowing myself to be pulled into emotionally charged arguments, I find I can see his point (understand his position) and find better solutions that are acceptable to both of us.

The action I call you to take is don't allow yourself to be pulled into an argument. Try to understand and see things from the other person's perspective (Leadership Principle #5 - See Their Point of View). Take a positive, constructive approach by brainstorming to find a mutually agreeable solution.

The benefit you will gain is successful projects completed on time and under budget, and along the way, better relationships, reduced stress and more agreeable people to work with.