The big buzz phrase in the construction industry is Integrated Project Delivery or IPD. Disney has a concept called ILPD or Integrated Lean Project Delivery. This uses not only a collaborative approach to projects, but also uses the Last Planner System and Lean concepts to eliminate waste, focus on adding value, and continuously improving. Everyone on the project signs an integrated form of agreement that commits to shared risk and reward and cooperation throughout the project.
This is a very good concept that is getting a lot of attention. There are incredible success stories and stories of unmitigated disasters that have used the IPD model. So what is the secret sauce? What contributes to success as opposed to failure? My gut feeling is that the people dimension of this process is a critical factor to its success. Take a look at the typical emotional profile for a large group of folks (over 500) who manage the construction process:
As you can see, the relatively high scores are self-regard, independence, assertiveness, stress tolerance, and reality testing (black/white thinkers). The relatively low scores are impulse control, flexibility, emotional self-awareness, empathy, interpersonal relationships, and social responsibility (the ability to work in groups and teams). This is a bell curve distribution, so 100 is the mean. Let’s put it this way. This group of construction managers couldn’t get any of the interpersonal skills to the mean. That means that all of the interpersonal skills are BELOW AVERAGE!
This does not bode well for collaborative project delivery methods. We must address these emotional competencies first. Then, we must cultivate the relationships and create trust. Then, and only then, can we properly plan the project. We have a program called Beyond Partnering. We developed it because we found that our leadership programs created a lot of trust and close relationships that increased the effectiveness of project teams. So we do our normal program spread out over time, we just do it in the context of a project. The tag line for Beyond Partnering is “You have to build the people before you build the project.” If you would like more information on this approach, email me and I will send you our Beyond Partnering outline.