A Top Ten Manifesto for Construction Man – Survival of the Fittest Applies.

A Top Ten Manifesto for Construction Man – Survival of the Fittest Applies.

(This is a reworked piece from a few years back  – ahead of a CIOB session I’m jointly delivering next week with Talane Miedaner‘Breaking through The Glass Ceiling’.)

“As many more individuals of each species are born than can possibly survive; and as, consequently, there is a frequently recurring struggle for existence, it follows that any being, if it vary however slightly in any manner profitable to itself, under the complex and sometimes varying conditions of life, will have a better chance of surviving, and thus be naturally selected. From the strong principle of inheritance, any selected variety will tend to propagate its new and modified form.” Charles Darwin—On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, 1859

Why deep collaboration is ready to move beyond team building and game playing towards individual transformation…

This blog is in some ways a challenge to the patterns and assumptions that men have had programmed in to our psyche and its time to take a stand for progressive and counter behaviour in a world increasingly aware of and reliant on success through cooperation.

If Charles Darwin was to hypothesise what changes men had to make to survive and thrive in the industry this is my cut at what he’d say:

1. Learn or relearn the nature and value of friendship – not the semi competitive, jostling of colleagues, but rich conversation, shared interests, exploration of ideas and work relationships without the edge of anxious rivalry or power obsessions.
2. Step up beyond driven -ness. It’s an infantile tactic to hide behind the busyness of the professional man who can’t or won’t take responsibility for building and securing safe, healthy environments that nourish holistic development and honest conversation. There is a need right now to divert time to create and support a framework of basic trust and affirmation towards the people in your care.
3. Know when to let go and when to hang on for all your worth. Hanging on to the false notion of being able to control everything and everyone is exhausting for you and us.
4. The strongest advocate for women and diversity in the industry and what unique qualities they bring are men – as they can get away with being more forceful and outspoken. If Steig Larssen had been a women he’d have been vilified for being a man hater versus an ‘inside man’ challenging the male status quo.
5. End tribalism. The client this or the contractor that or the QS this or the engineers that. The Arab spring failed because that part of the world does not yet have it in them to tolerate or even care for people outside their group. I hear it all the time, the little insidious remarks that separate the professions rather than connect our industry tribes. There is no such thing as an insignificant comment when you are in a position of leadership.
6. Promote more women into leadership roles– deliberately and with positive discrimination if necessary. (We’ve been saying this for 18 years – still a work in progress)
7. To plagiarise Roosevelt “Speak softly, drop the stick and carry a bigger message”.
8. Objectivity is male subjectivity. Blind allegiance to the rationale, considered way of thinking squashes and excludes emotional intelligence. To be unaware of, or, unwilling to examine feelings of ourselves and others means those feelings have free reign to influence behaviour in a covert, ironically uncontrolled manner. If you want a creatively stilted, immature and emotionally unbalanced team performance – just give deference to the suppressed emotions underneath the veneer of ‘professionalism’. Since when was it professional to be so one-dimensional?
9. Have a life not just a job.  Set an example in a world that needs flexible working to embrace a more diverse workforce.
10. Work out what your strengths are, what your hard-wired abilities are, what your values are and orientate your life around them; the new inspiring model – not the workaholic lone ranger.

Hugely inspired by New Statesman magazine.

Image courtesy of https://www.flickr.com/photos/112455020@N03/

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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