Turbo Leadership Systems

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June 24, 2014 Issue 488 To our clients and friends

Mary Poppins

Larry W. Dennis, Sr.
Turbo Leadership

Release Judgment to Be Creative

Jose, project manager for a major northwest general contractor, told the Leadership Development Lab (LDL):

Of the many challenges with the Louis Dreyfus Commodities O Dock Project, one of the most significant involved access for the seismic connections in the 'Old House Bins.' The Old House bins were originally constructed in the early 1900¡¦s and lacked adequate reinforcement connecting the bin walls to the lid.

In order to accomplish the seismic connections, we required 360º access to the interior high corners of the bins. The 'as-bid' plan involved removing sections of the bin walls at or near grade, assembling a platform in the bin bottom, and moving the platform vertically with a system of four swing stage motors. The vertical distance is roughly 100 feet. This is equivalent to many eight story buildings.

During our weekly meeting to review scope and innovative cost saving advantages, our project team came up with the concept we called 'Mary Poppins.' The initial idea was an inverted umbrella -style platform to be dropped in from the top of the bin. Over the next few weeks, the project team played with the idea to proof any issues and ¡¥Swiss Army Knife¡¦ it. The final evolution included tie-off points, a spider box mount that could be set up in roughly the same time the initial concept required to move the platform vertically up the bin. The project benefits include:

  • The platform is designed to take 2X maximum conceivable loads, is extremely stable, and provides a much safer work surface than a pulley cable suspended system.
  • We are currently tracking for a schedule reduction of roughly 25-30%.
  • Platform cost, including engineering, is roughly 30% of the original scaffold budget.
  • Labor efficiency is tracking at roughly 65% of budgeted hours.

Jose told the LDL this was a joint creative effort, brainstorming at a high level. After we all go conceivable possibility was

considered. The idea of the upside down umbrella coming down through the roof was introduced, and then tentatively explored. We are all engineers who are very disciplined analytical thinkers; at first we were all pretty critical of the feasibility of using this approach.

The lesson I learned from this experience is though it may seem counter intuitive at first, this kind of crazy out of the box thinking is the key to practical idea generation. Creativity starts with the belief that you have permission to step out of your predesigned scope and patterns of thinking. You must believe that you have permission to approach the work as you see fit. Know that how you get the work done is within your control. The finished specs of the job must be respected, how you achieve those results are in your control.

So we challenge you to break out of the box of limitation. You will experience renewal, a competitive advantage, and will leave your competition behind – way behind.

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