Ladies & Gentlemen of the Jury…
Locked away in our silo-ed industry cocoons, our primary way of imagining what other people are like whom we have not yet experienced is by the regurgitation of history and hearsay. As a consequence, we naturally expect that all other tribes will lean towards being blaggards, self centered, blinkered or untrustworthy, and as a consequence reinforces our impulses to trust only those few individuals who have been vetted for us by pre-existing peer groups and networks.
On those different occasions offered by contracts alliance, partnerships or JV’s when our sanitised mon culture bubble is burst, pitching us in with people we don’t know, we tend to marvel that our fellow citizen show little interest in picking our pocket, selling us down the river and may even be honest brokers, like minded in aspiration, ready to help and tuned in to the law of interdependence.
Acquiring the good will of strangers is not a responsibility to be left soley to ‘the other’. It is our job to to start from a position of trust and credit them with worthiness to fulfill the role they have trained for and invested years of their lives gathering useful experienced.
The start point is to examine and reflect on our pre conceived beliefs and assumptions about the other. Lord knows we still hear the tedious judgements and banal sweeping generalisations about our fellow stakeholders – clients, contractors, architects, engineers and specialist suppliers.
These generalisations serve no purpose other than to maintain an inadequate status quo of limited possibilities.
A shift is required to start with the suspension of all that has gone before and wipe the slate clean of preconceived notions in order to kick start the collaborative team process.
It’s going to be hard work if our start point is:
- The contractors out to maximise return at all costs.
- The clients clueless.
- The designers in a cloud cuckoo land awash in hefty fees.
- The consultants just a post box.
- The supply chain are interested in no one but themselves and their price of the action.
- The clients QS is out to shaft us.
Powerful teams and individuals in significant relationships surface and validate assumptions at the outset and revisit assumptions that are generated as a function of time together. The effective Jury breaks out to talk and then breaks down the evidence to get past assumptions and arrive at an informed and tested truth. If only we were that rigorous in our own judgements!
The irony is also the better we know someone we know we expect them to read our mind and be cogent of our reality. This irony is at the centre of many relationship breakdowns where we communicate less, confident in our belief that the other will be up to speed with our thinking.
The effective collaborative unit knows an inherent part of its success is to regularly test assumptions and validate judgements for accuracy.
Stop. Interrogate, Start. The big three for those Teams wishing to reach beyond Storming and accomplish Forming.