Breaking Down Barriers? Forget that, Focus on Common Humanity.

Breaking Down Barriers? Forget that, Focus on Common Humanity.

One of, if not the the most commonly occurring ‘reasons to work on the Programme Team’ that I receive is….

“Right, we need to break down some barriers here…’

I’ll agree and nod my head sagely, as I ‘know’ that to question that narrative is a battle that is not worth fighting just now.

So we agree and go do some work.

It soon becomes apparent to ‘people in the room’  that  there are not many, if any real barriers once we have dug for understanding, listened and jettisoned some assumptions and biases. (Caveat. But there are quite a few imaginary barriers they’ve let influence their behaviour to date)

Some time worn classic barriers still making the rounds:

  • The consultant is going to skimp resource as they have deliberately under egged it their bid.
  • The client is going to want everything for nothing plus a little more.
  • The contractor is going to turn us over given the first opportunity.
  • Everyone is out for themselves basically.

Then we realise through listening, understanding and dialogue that none of these benefit anyone or everyone.

Once we stop seeing people as a profession, a job, a role or a label and see them as humans that we realise everyone mainly wants the same thing. The Commonalitys that bind us:

  1. To do the best job they can which, can differ from day to day, depending on how we are feeling or our circumstance. 
  2. To feel satisfied at the end of each working day.
  3. To feel part of something. To belong.
  4. To feel cared for and valued.
  5. To exist freely within a framework of ethics, integrity and humanity. (Unless they have made it to cabinet level – sorry couldn’t resist…)

Next time, when trying to forge a Team, start with majoring on commonalities and how people want to help each other – versus trip each other up. That’s just not us..

(Resource alert. I’m reading HumanKind which is a refreshing counter and a assertion that humans are inherently decent and willing to cooperate for each others sake.)


Paul Fox

Paul Fox has been active as a Construction Industry Performance Coach for the last 20 years and remains at the forefront of Collaborative Working and High Performance Team Behaviours. He disrupts the status quo of individuals, project and senior teams who want exponentially more output with much less struggle.

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