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Building successful teams – finding the magic formula

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In our industry, high performing teams are considered to be everything. They’re more likely to win new work, deliver successful and consistent outcomes, find innovation and efficiencies in projects, and keep clients happy. It should be a simple formula.

In fact, this is the Holy Grail for businesses – of all types.

Specifically, in our industry, it’s crucial that we not only put the right people together in a team – every time – but that they are in the best possible position to hit the ground running.

Mace recently published a report, looking at what factors will produce the highest performance from construction project teams and spoke to a wide range of experts – from construction leaders to a former Special Military Unit officer, through to an academic futurologist.

Our research found that making project teams more efficient will increasingly be a differentiator in a global marketplace facing ever-increasing competitive and geopolitical pressures. With that in mind, productivity gains defined the top lessons from our research, which included using technology more wisely – identifying which technologies add most value, adaptable leadership, focusing on outcomes rather than outputs, and focusing team members on their value-add, so everyone knows their role on a given project.

We also found that with the characteristics of millennials including strong ethical values and a hunger for instantaneous, regular feedback as a means of measuring their performance, as an industry we need to look at how we respond to this to ensure that construction meets this need and attracts the best talent.

At Mace we’re meeting these challenges head on – to the benefit of all our people, not just millennials. Last year we brought in new training for all our people who have line management responsibilities to help them be the best managers they can and help retain talent, and we’re already seeing positive results from this work. We also run executive training programmes with Imperial College for our future leaders as well as a development programme specifically aimed at our top female talent. Our clients tell us that our people are our strongest asset and we know that investment in our people is what will bring us all the biggest rewards. 

And in terms of bringing people into the business, in recent years we’ve expanded our graduate recruitment to non-cognitive graduates and last year introduced an apprenticeship and trainee programme in order to ensure that we are open to the best people, regardless of their discipline. Indeed at our report launch, a speaker from the executive search firm, Odgers Berndtson talked about the increase in the number of senior personnel moving across industries; the message being that the skills we require of our leaders are transferable across disciplines.

Projects and programmes are becoming ever more complex. As an industry – indeed all industries – we need to think differently to attract the right talent, harness the best innovations, and we need to ensure that we have the right teams with the right skills set in place to respond to these challenges and help clients meet their ambitions. High performing teams that work together, as one unit with a common purpose, is the key to true collaboration and success.

At a time when margins are being squeezed even further, it’s more imperative than ever for construction companies to look at the way they work and evolve the way we organise our teams and our processes in order to remain leading-edge.


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  1. Ethan Meekins
    Ethan Meekins 08 May 2017, 08:33 AM

    Creating a successful team is crucial for any kind of business. People always had to cooperate in order to perform more complicated tasks, so it is natural for us to work in groups. At least for some of us :) Nevertheless, thank you for an interesting article, Jason. Sincerely, Ethan