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The Era of the Everyman

In the world of the blog and Vblog, the Tweet, the Post and the status update, it sometimes can feel like we are being bombarded by the experiences and promotions of all. So in the world of lets get ourselves notices, where to start without adding to the melee unnecessarily. Difficult one, particularly when you are considering an inaugural post!

I suppose the best place to enter the melee and hopefully add some benefit is probably to tell of some of the experiences that I have had throughout my career, and more of late the personal life, particularly now that life has finally begun... (surpassed the 40 mark!)

Well unusually, this one time, the sun is shining and, as those who know me well would say, in a rare day off from the measuring and administering of them there contracts, I find myself stood on the sidelines watching my youngest taring up the rugby pitch... and yes before you ask it is the heartland of the rugby nation so it is a League game!

Unfortunately, and I hope none of his team are in fact reading this, the team has, how can I say it.... I know... Struggled this year and I have witnessed many a calamity when "...hoorah..." (well a Noooo on our side of the pitch) his teams spirits have been doused by an opposing try.

Watching these try's gt me thinking... and I am sure that professional coaches and sports professionals would be far more professional in their analysis... that there was a trend to the try scoring by other teams. So can it be fixed?

Now many of us that have been brought up and learned our trades in the Construction Industry, particularly those on complex multi-discipline projects, have an inate skill in how to assess problems, analyse and resolve them... be them commercial problems, such as cash flow, logistics, planning and programming to design ones or even the did he/ she said ones... s hell lets give this analysis a go!

So whats Construction got to do with a rugby game? Not much I guess... but as I watch the oppositions full back receive the ball on their own 10 yard line and run.... run fast, and score an inauspicious try... it is worthwhile mention that aren't they both teams.... after all complex projects need a team of people to raise it from the ground.

Well I do not profess to be a expert on rugby, nor actually efficient in disseminating the rules for that matter, but with a quick what happened?comment and a questioning scowl towards the aficionado to my right... the eldest child... I receive an education in the role of the full back's and how on this occasion they had apparently forgotten they were in fact full backs and not forwards.

There is a link between rugby and business/ projects here, honestly... As of late I have been approached by a number of businesses to analyse why some of their projects fail to secure or return the expected results. Watching the flailing arms of a team clearly not expecting that result from that play - we should have scored! I see a distinct similarity forming.... If we are all watching the ball, who's watching for the breakaway....or alternatively if we are all playing the forward it follows that there will be no one available when the time comes to stop an Armageddon event. Unless of course we are a team full of Usain Bolts.

So what happened? There are two primary reasons that come to mind - The management expectation and the individual desire!

Let me explain a little more about the thinking. This is similar in business, particularly complex prject delivery businesses. What is a growing trend in some sectors of the markets is that there is an expectation for the Everyman to be able to cover all of the bases, manage the labour, order materials, check for quality on site, manage the costs... report the costs, promote safety... make the coffee.... after buying the milk on the way to the office! Don't get me wrong I am not advocating that multi-skilling is not necessary to maintain a competitive edge, however in some instances this has been taken to the extreme, with an expectation that one individual role can be the jack of all trades... the Everyman.

What is also important to note is that this also has an opposite, an opposite where a businesses employee's believe, strive, struggle, push, pull and arguable manipulate there way into a position where they do the job of everyone? particularly those where praise comes in raptures!

I have personally witnessed both these examples on numerous occasions now - lets have an "xyz123" they be responsible, accountable... deliver all that lot! Trust - it does not work! We have seen time and time again businesses in the Construction Industry primarily adopt such a stance. What they forget is that some of the roles are very specialist any necessary to manage and protect your business from risks. Would you ask a accountant to erect a garden shed? No - why then ask a Site Manager, arguably a specialist in man management and logistics, to produce CVR, administer a contract (properly and fully).... etc.

Alternatively, and judging by the flailing arms of the coach (he certainly didn't ask the full back to play as a forward!), the desires and lack of business discipline allows, individuals to step across there bounds of expertise to act and make decisions in a area that arguably they should not.

Teams and taking the time to structure them is nothing new, however of late has our industry lost the focus? has the skill shortage taken a hold deeper than we all expected? ...going back to the rugby...playing any team sport is very similar to delivering a project., Construction or otherwise, If you turn up with a team full of Project Managers and forget the QS's, or only opt for architects instead of structural engineers or forget to invite anyone to the project at all, it is likely... how can we put this with a subtle professionalism... that the project may not have a successful play and a Try every time....