In the adversarial world of construction, power is often on the side of a few big players. But four simple steps can tilt the balance in your favour during business dealings, says Dario Bucceri.
As we recover from a record-breaking heatwave, it’s worth thinking about how we can keep our cool in our business dealings.
Harsh words provoke conflict, which is often destructive. They rarely advance the interests of the parties involved in a mutually beneficial way.
In an industry such as construction, there are a few very big players. But there is a multitude of smaller, less powerful contributors. They can essentially end up at the mercy of those big players. And sometimes it seems that there is little hope of an equitable distribution of power among the participants.
This culture is often underwritten by severe words, threats, and coercion. Meetings without agendas, promises left unrecorded, deals and double deals making it almost impossible to keep track of who said what. All this and more, underwritten by destructive arguments that are unlikely to advance equitable solutions and more likely to reinforce the dominance of the larger over the smaller.
Construction is an environment that is at the same time both organised and chaotic. It involves pulling off major construction projects on the one hand and dealing with unforeseen challenges on the other.
The solution lies in the maxim that the person who makes sense of the reality of the situation is the person who has the control (the sense-maker).
Ignorance and inadequacy lead to a heavy-handed approach in which one party seeks to dominate another to achieve their desired outcome. The effective use of accurate, well organised knowledge by the sense-maker is the perfect counter to this. It’s a sure way of getting to an equitable result in a calm, affirming and constructive manner.
You can achieve this through the implementation of effective processes and systems to capture, collate, organise and apply that knowledge to achieve a balanced outcome.
Keys to becoming the sense-maker include:
- Document your processes to ensure consistency throughout a transaction
- Automate as much as you can to reduce the likelihood of human error
- Learn from mistakes and update your processes and systems to stop yourself from repeating the same or similar mistakes
- Be prepared: never go into a transaction without thorough preparation, a clear agenda, clear outcomes, and a calm, controlled approach.
Follow the steps and watch the power shift in your direction.
Dario Bucceri is the founder of Sensemaker
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