Collaboration is no fad diet | JCP News

Collaboration is no fad diet

Was your new year’s resolution to work more collaboratively? At the third way point of the year, how are you doing? Like any resolution, good collaboration takes research, planning, hard work and determination. But the rewards can be extraordinary – a slimmed-down budget, a fitter project team, more energy and ideas, and a healthier attitude to work.

How to stick to a collaborative plan

Changing the way you do things is hard. It’s actually about 60% changing your mindset and the way you think, 20% changing the way you do something, and 20% about taking action. You have to re-train yourself and the people around you to take a different approach; to look at things from a fresh perspective; to put new thought processes in place and to understand how making those changes will benefit you, your team and your project in the long run.

1. Start at the beginning with a shared narrative

Whilst a collaborative approach can help you to iron out difficulties during a major project, it’s far better to build it in right at the beginning. When you have the chance to guide people in the same direction, with a shared set of understanding of the rules and the same goal in mind, collaboration becomes part of the norms and behaviours of the team, rather than a ‘new’ solution to existing complex problems.

2. Select for success

Attitude matters, look for positive intent. When you’re selecting your project partners and suppliers – and when those suppliers are selecting their own teams – you need to be 100% sure that they have the right attitude, have the behaviours to put those thoughts into practice and desire to take action Assessment centres help to establish this across all disciplines and the values and expectations you set for project members need to be maintained even if the personnel change.

3. Recognise that there is no perfect plan for change – Adaptability and agility are born out of people being aligned and collaborate to “win”

Major projects are subject to constant change. Anything from key team members to overall budgets and timescales can alter at the drop of a hat. How you continue to collaborate under pressure is a true test of whether you are prepared to make the real changes that collaboration can deliver.

4. Constantly evaluate, but ensure that’s in a psychologically safe environment

Just like weighing yourself every week to see if the diet plan is working, true collaboration needs to be evaluated and measured on a regular basis. Making sure you build a good assessment and evaluation programme into your project takes time initially, but you will reap exceptional rewards in terms of productivity, agile behaviours and overall project success.

5. Do things better

And with a noticeable rhythm – always look for ways to improve. Listen to the other people on your team; talk to the people on the ground; be open, accessible and flexible. Being in the right mindset to change the way you do things for the better is a great example of how collaborative working has a positive and long-lasting effect on health and wellbeing of people, teams and your project.

6. Review and share

Collaboration is all about sharing. Sharing responsibility; sharing ideas; sharing challenges – cross pollination can only happen if mature teams review both their successes and failures as they happen, not in some vacuum of denial or post rational hinterland. SO it’s vital that you review the project when it comes to an end, collecting and delivering positive feedback and clear lessons learned, so that the next project starts on an even better footing. Sharing reviews and results with your partners and suppliers strengthens your relationships and the team approach, putting you in a great position for next time.

7. Start at the beginning

Keep things simple– collaboration is for life; not just for one project. As soon as a project is formally completed, take your collaboration experience and results into the next one, and use it to demonstrate to your next set of partners that, when it is used proactively and becomes part of the project culture, collaboration saves time, saves money, reduces project roadblocks and is a catalyst for genuine success.

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Notes to Editor:

JCP Consultancy Ltd was born out of John Carlisle Partnerships in 2002 with original board members and shareholders being: David Curtis, David Maxwell, Diarmid de Burgh Milne, Malcolm Newman and Simon Vaughan. Over the coming years both David Curtis and Malcolm retired from the business and in 2014 Diarmid left JCP to pursue new opportunities. For more information on the JCP board members and the company associates, click here.

JCP specialises in helping major clients, contractors and their supply chains realise the benefits of reduced cost, speedier delivery, increased profit and improved relationships from working collaboratively with each other. They have a 91% success rate in helping clients win work. The company has worked with leading names including Network Rail, National Grid, Highways Agency, Welsh Water, London Underground and Thames Water and with Central Government including DfT, BIS, and HMT Infrastructure UK.

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