Dave Stitt running the Coach for Results Course at the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) Academy – and IHBC virtual 2021 Brighton School conference MarketPlace Stallholder on 18 June – asks if construction leaders create the right environment for quality.
… tendency to focus on systemic issues…
… six questions that construction business leaders should ask themselves:…
Dave Stitt writes:
A frightening question hit me as construction disasters mounted at the end of the last decade: Edinburgh schools, the catastrophe of Grenfell and the collapse of Carillion: they each stemmed, all or in part, from issues of poor quality.
The question was: has the industry in the round become so warped by the hard task of making money from building things that it is losing the ability to build things correctly? It’s a bleak question. Thankfully, I decided the answer was no. We can still build complex things well, and we do. But the disasters have shaken us and raised complex questions.
Now I’m concerned at how responses to these disasters are taking shape. There’s a tendency to focus on systemic issues, whether they be forms of contract, approaches to procurement and finance, project management protocols, regulations and quality assurance regimes.
“Show me someone who cares and I will show you quality work. Show me quality work and behind it I will show you someone who cares.”….
Six crucial questions
… here are six questions that construction business leaders should ask themselves:
- Do you have the right people with the right skills and experience in the right jobs to bring about a quality result?
- Are your newer, younger staff being guided effectively into maturity as professionals?
- Do your people know that quality is the top priority, along with everything else that must be top priority? Have you told them?
- Are your people empowered to spot quality issues, and the conditions that breed them, and speak up immediately?
- Are the relationships among your people strong and productive enough so that, working together, they can take action to head off quality issues when spotted?
- Are your people rewarded for taking this kind of collective initiative to ensure quality again and again?
Each of these questions is a leadership and culture issue that can be addressed within a company.
Manager or leader?
… Leadership is about creating an environment where people care about and can do their best quality work. If you’re not actively creating that environment – then you may be a manager in a leadership role.
- Command and control: construction’s outdated leadership style
- The human angle to value-based decision-making
- Construction needs to rally round and fix its failings
Consider the tiers of construction business leadership. Engineering is about designing and sorting out technical stuff; management is tending to the organisational mechanics set up to get stuff done; leadership provides direction and creates the culture needed for success.
What best describes you? Is quality at the top of your agenda, or is that left to the QA manager?
Dave Stitt FCIOB is a leadership team coach at DSA Building Performance, specialising in construction. He is currently running the Coach for Results course at CIOB Academy.