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There is No “I” in TEAM

Published August 26, 2016

“To not work alone, but rather, together with others in order to achieve a goal”

You have heard the old adage “There’s no ‘I’ in TEAM” from coaches, teachers and parents for years. Maybe you even have a poster on your wall with these very wise words and an inspirational picture of a skydiving team in formation or a rowing crew winning the gold medal. Either way, we couldn’t agree more.

Most often this phrase is associated with sports, however one can apply it to any context where working together is the only way the goal will ever be achieved. As the construction manager, we are hired by an owner to achieve a goal. That goal is to build the building/road/bridge, etc. on time and within budget. To oversee the project from soup to nuts and everything in between ensuring the owner that at the end of the day, the schedule and the budget are on task. Sounds easy, right?

Wrong. So many times, the project can be on point as far as budget and schedule are concerned, but the job was difficult, messy and awkward due to the lack of a good relationship and a team effort. In order to avoid the awkwardness, construction managers need to begin the project by building a relationship foundation with the owner before the permits are applied for, before the drawings are at 90% and long before the dirt is scratched. The owner needs to feel that you understand their goals, objectives and purpose in order to make a real connection before the construction begins. What it is they do and why do they do it? Why do they want this building? What objective are they trying to fulfill by constructing this building? Being able to answer these questions will only be achieved by working as a team from day one.

Coordinating efforts from press releases to grand openings will go a long way to show the owner that you really do care about their success. Supporting each other on and off the field, and the overall practice of adopting the owner’s viewpoint will allow the focus to remain on the project goals and not just adding another building/road/bridge to your portfolio. Understanding the owner’s passion for what they do and why they do it and truly building a relationship can allow for a more positive and personal experience for both parties and could lead to future work without even trying…it may even lead to a friendship. There is no “I” in TEAM, but there is a “U” and “I” in BUILD.