The Zen of Communication
The ability to communicate is one of the most obvious attributes of a successful person, but have you ever considered whether it also contributes to successful performance on the job? The answer, of course, is yes – especially during tough times or in problem situations.
Here’s another question to consider – if a problem is observed but not communicated, does it really exist? The answer again, for virtually every situation (especially at work or on a project site), is emphatically yes! Acknowledging this and being willing participants in the sharing of information, both positive and negative, is the essence of better management of risk.
There are several important steps necessary to manage risk including:
- Recognizing what the risks are and understanding that new issues may continue to impact their nature and extent.
- Being open and receptive to hearing difficult news.
- Asking for and seeking information, objectively analyzing it and determining a response.
As a service provider, subcontractors are often averse to discussing bad news. We want to sell that which has value. Communicating difficult news takes planning how you will deliver the news, and anticipating/being prepared for the response. On the job, this may include members of your own team, as well as partners on a job, such as subcontractors. All of the trades, including the general contractor, will benefit from a timely and efficiently run project, and must be kept aware of a project’s status (both the pros and the cons). From a risk management perspective, it’s especially critical, as the contract will contain notification requirements as to when the general contractor must be notified of any situation which may impact a project. Ordinarily, the notice must be provided within three to five days, or else any claims for impact are waived.
Being an effective communicator further develops the relationships of your project and enables you to identify, analyze and manage your risks. If all team members on site are aware of the schedule and adhere to it, it will result in the best possible outcome in terms of labor efficiency, productivity and profitability.
In today’s construction environment, nearly every person carries a smart phone, so you would assume that communication quickly and effectively occurs on a regular basis. Unfortunately, that is an incorrect assumption. There are often missed opportunities to have a conversation, or to send a text or email to effectively communicate and further the goals of the project and ultimately the end-user. At Faith Technologies, we strive for effective communication conveying thought, analysis and just as importantly, a process to move through and resolve any issues.