Partnering is a crucial piece of running a successful construction project with as little discord, dissension or disruption as humanly possible. The most successful construction projects have, at their core, a high performing team of people who are all “pulling” in the same direction.
It is likely you have been on one or two such teams in your career. By instituting Partnering as we use it, your next, or current, construction project would have a better chance of being on your short list of outstanding projects.
Partnering is a crucial piece of running a successful construction project with as little discord, distension or disruption as humanly possible. The most successful construction projects have, at their core, a high performing team of people who are all “pulling” in the same direction.
It is Voluntary
This Partnering approach does not change the contract terms, plans or specifications. It is merely agreeing to work as a high performing team to complete the project in the best possible way.
This is best done at a location away from the distractions of the office and/or job-site using the services of a professional facilitate to improve understanding and cooperation.
This team-building approach uses a focus on the project and its issues rather than non-specific team exercises. The model we use for Partnering is generic in that it is used in a variety of settings. (e.g. IT Industry, Construction Industry, strategic alliances, etc) and is specific in using the AGC of America partnering approach.
"Charles Markert is the most effective partnering facilitator I have seen through my 35-year career in both Federal and private sector construction."
-Hans Probst, PE, Chief, Reserve Branch, Construction Division, USACE, Louisville, KY
“Charles Markert stepped into support our partnership midstream and was immediately value added and we intend to continue his services in the future.”
-Jeremiah Manning, Project Delivery Team, KY Lock Addition, USACE
The benefits of partnering are primarily improved communications and collaboration. Federal Agencies that have used this have saved hundreds of millions of dollars in litigation costs by preventing disagreements in the first place. .
It is always a challenge to achieve success when each organization has its own set of special interests. It is often a revelation to discover how many of those interests are commonly held by all parties. Discovering this lays the foundation for true teamwork which otherwise seldom happens.
Spirit of Partnering?
It is our belief that Partnering embodies the spirit of teamwork and should be an integral part of project management. While all the elements of partnering are found in project management, they are not often put together adequately enough to really be effective.
We are willing to discuss our partnering services with you and/or your executive team to determine how we might assist your success.
Partnering, when done properly causes people in the participating organizations to look out for the organizations’ best interest and are happy to do it, while insisting on working together, happily creating better solutions to the inevitable problems. Management best practices actually work when they are launched in a culture where communications flow easily..
Partnering is the tool, technique, process, and philosophy, which enable cooperation and collaboration to occur. The extent to which it occurs is up to the leadership. How long it lasts is also up to the leadership.
The elements of Partnering are neither new nor unique. Partnering in the construction industry has been widely adopted for federal and state construction projects. It has begun to be accepted in the information technology industry and a few other industries. Partnering is touted as being practiced throughout the entire business sector, but is typically not a formalized approach as recommended herein.
A wide variety of definitions exist for Partnering. The basic definition of generic Partnering used here is from the Construction Industry Institute, In Search of Partnering Excellence, 1991, which states:
“Partnering is a long term commitment between two or more organizations for the purpose of achieving specific business objectives by maximizing the effectiveness of each participant."
Project partnering is used when all parties to a contract desire to use this process to better ensure the project success. It does not change the terms of the contract, only the behavior of all parties to the contract.
Enterprise Partnering is conducted between multiple internal entities (sections, branches, divisions, or departments) of an organization. It is also used in supply chains. This process uses the same generic process with a couple of minor twists to better tailor it to an environment that does not have a formal contract to define the mission.
Design the Partnering Charter Workshop Agenda with your input, facilitate the Initial charter workshop and any follow-on workshops requested, deliver a partnering report capturing the products of the workshops,and conduct a follow-up debrief as requested.
At the core of Partnering is alignment of purpose, team behavior and a focus on problem solution & prevention. The structure of the approach opens charter workshop and any follow-on workshops requested, deliver a partnering report capturing the products of the workshops,and conduct a follow-up debrief as requested.
Behaving in the Partnering Spirit goes beyond the contract, beyond the handshake and to a promise of behaving in a manner that helps the other party be successful. This is what prevents litigation and claims.
The Elements of the Initial Partnering Workshop include creating a Charter with the Vision/Mission, Guiding Principles and Mutual Goals. More importantly, the Team Members get to know one another better which engenders cooperation, collaboration and communication.
Regular Semi-annual facilitated workshops are needed to keep partnering alive and well. As a refresher for the original team, it is also helpful for new team members. as well as an opportunity to develop better problem-solving skill and results.
1. Align Everyone
2. Selflessly Contribute
3. Be Trustworthy
4. Communicate Every Which Way and Often
5. Empower People
6. Synergize To Maximize Brainpower and Energy
7. Celebrate Often and Well
1. Align Everyone - Alignment of everyone on the team, and supporting organizations, is crucial to a true results-oriented team effort.
When we know where we are going and where we’ve been, we have a better chance to achieve our aim. Mutual agreement on the endeavor’s vision, goals and guiding principles is paramount to successful Partnering. Mutual and clear expectations are the fuel of accomplishment. Expectations of teamwork behaviors and project outcomes need to be clearly stated and frequently revisited.
2. Selflessly Contribute - A person’s ego can help or hinder the efforts of the team.
The ego that drives one to contribute whatever it takes to ensure the endeavor succeeds, is useful and to be encouraged. However, the ego that requires credit for everything one does, prevents team building. That ego that engenders the feeling that I am better than you and you had better listen to me and do it my way is nothing short of destructive.
3. Be Trustworthy - Playing nice together engenders trust, sharing and a greater sense of belonging to the endeavor.
Trust is earned, not demanded. Being trustworthy is the prerequisite to earning trust. Sharing of ideas that can solve problems, save money and/or improve the outcome can help trust to be earned yet most often occurs only after trust is established.
Our basic human response is to seek pleasure and avoid pain. People would rather enjoy than dread an experience. People want to do good and have accomplishments of which they can be proud. We will do great things, given the opportunity.
It is better to prevent a dispute than be forced into an actual dispute. This obvious common sense philosophy is not so common after all. There are many hidden agendas that prevent prevention and destroy trust. It is essential to become aware of these hidden motives and deal with them.
4. Communicate Every Which Way And Often - Communication is necessary and helpful to the team and imperative to the production of quality results.
The meager attempts organizations make to communicate are but lip service compared to the communication that occurs in a successfully partnered endeavor. Unless and until abundant communications is integrated into the business process, it will not be adequate. Regular feedback and resulting action regarding project and Partnering performance is necessary to ‘keep Partnering alive’.
5. Empower People - People empowered to do the job will get more done than those who are not.
Those who are micromanaged and given little control over their world of work will have checked their brains at the door of the workplace and delight in watching the organization make stupid decisions. Those who are empowered will help the organization make better decisions. Human nature rules.
6. Synergize To Maximize Brainpower And Energy - The synergy available from a teamwork culture can be awesome.
Those who are encouraged to consult with other team members will make better decisions. Problems solved and issues resolved in team meetings will be adopted faster and last longer than those made by individuals in the vacuum of individual perceptions and personal paradigms.
Opportunity either happens by serendipity or you can make it happen. Partnering ‘legalizes’ the proactive approach by encouraging continual issue identification and problem solving by everyone. Having open and honest discussions aids in the search, discovery and prevention of potential problems and the resolution of actual problems.
7. Celebrate Often And Well - Recognition and reward is essential to personal motivation.
Recognition for what was accomplished often needs to be nothing more than a ‘thank you’ in private and/or public. Tangible rewards, where possible, are fine when properly shared. Rewarding the team as a whole is much better than only rewarding the team member who worked as an individual.