February 6, 2017
Is there a correlation between emotional intelligence and performance?
I facilitated a program for a top 100 contractor based in the southern United States using emotional intelligence as a foundation for leadership development. After the managers were evaluated, I ranked their interpersonal scores (empathy, social responsibility, and interpersonal relationship skills) from the highest to the lowest. This company had their own ranking system in order to identify their star performers, the ones who contributed most to the success of the company. The astonishing fact was that the company’s overall ranking and the ranking of interpersonal skills correlated almost one-to-one. This told us that the managers who had the best interpersonal skills were also the company’s stars. They were the managers involved in the most profitable projects who contributed the most to the company’s bottom line.
Multi-Health Systems has a program called Star Performer where companies look at the EQ-i® profiles of their star performers for particular departments or positions and determine with statistical accuracy which emotional competencies are essential for high performance. Then it is just a matter of recruiting, hiring, and training for those competencies. The drawback to this approach is in the performance criteria, which must be objective. For sales, performance is objective and clear. For project managers, it is less clear. You may have a high performer that loses $100,000 on a project that would have lost $1 million. Or you may have a low performer that makes $500,000 on a project that was supposed to make $1 million.
But if you can decide on some fairly objective performance criteria, it soon becomes clear which emotional competencies are required for that level of performance. And think about where the industry is going. Project delivery methods are moving toward more collaborative environments: IPD, ILPD, LEAN, Design Build, Design Assist. With these more collaborative methods, it takes a different set up skills to be successful. According to a recent ENR article, the Construction Industry Institute recently did a study and found that “working relationships and team dynamics have emerged as the leading variables affecting the cost and schedule of industrial projects, according to a research report from the Construction Industry Institute. If you want a high level of performance on your projects, perhaps it is time to start paying attention to your project teams’ emotional intelligence.
June 7, 2016
“Building is the quintessential act of civilization.” Tracy Kidder
Think about it. If three people washed up on a deserted island, the first thing they would do is collaboratively build a shelter. Unless, of course, the three people were an architect, owner’s rep, and contractor. Then, they would have to wait for two lawyers to wash up on the beach so that they could proceed with the project.
There is a project that I read about recently where the parties involved hate each other. I don’t say that lightly. You can tell from their comments that they truly loathe and despise each other. Here is a link to the ENR article titled A Hospital Job Dispute Reaches Fever Pitch:
How did this project get to this point? Could the parties involved have seen this coming? How did they begin the project, and more importantly, what can you do on your projects to avoid such a fate?
We have created a program called connEx, which creates high performing teams who care about each other’s personal and professional success and well-being. Click here for more information.
June 18, 2015
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” ― Helen Keller
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.