Symbiotic Relationships- Pt 2
In my most recent newsletter, I discussed the need for mutually beneficial symbiotic relationships in the construction industry. In the past, lack of attention to proper training and improper planning has held both subcontractors and general contractors back from successful, profitable completion of projects. Proper management and cooperation with and by all parties is necessary for symbiosis on a project.
A construction site is a very large and complex symbiotic relationship, each subcontractor has a relationship with the general contractor and with each other, whereby their individual success and the project’s success depends on the combined strength of the entire project team. A couple of weak players (and/or overly domineering players) on the project team will definitely have a detrimental effect on all members of the team. We have all lived through and paid the price for a nightmare project whereby one or several team members did not fulfill their commitments to the project team. A mutually symbiotic project is a healthy, productive, and profitable project for all parties involved, even the owner and design team. That should be our goal on all projects, not a parasitic symbiotic relationship whereby one party wins and the others lose, or worse yet, where everyone involved loses.
As the market continues to heat up, all of us are going to be stretched thin on “seasoned” supervisory and management talent. Subs and generals alike must resist the urge to throw inexperienced, unproven staff into key supervisory positions on projects without proper training, mentorship or oversight. It is not “the project team’s” responsibility to train the new folks, it is each and every individual contractor’s responsibility to the project team to have already trained their supervisory staff, or at a minimum, have the new folks closely supervised by seasoned talent. Mistakes occur with inexperience; no sub or general should have to suffer because of another team member going through a “learning curve”.
So, to my fellow subcontractors, lets up our game as far as our professionalism is concerned. Let’s assign skilled, knowledgeable, cooperative supervisory teams to the project, arrive on site fully prepared to perform our individual scopes of work when we are scheduled to start, and staff the projects appropriately in order to maintain a jointly developed schedule.
To my general contracting customers, please spend some time evaluating your subs and reward the subs who are well prepared and perform professionally; issue contracts in a timely manner in order to allow the subs an opportunity to effectively plan, schedule and organize our scope of work and team members; and demand/allow all subcontractors’ input into the project schedule – “we can’t do it unless we know what it is”. And all of us, put the “right people” on the job. A mutually successful and profitable project is a fun project! All of us deserve fun projects!
Work safe, work hard, and have fun!