Archive

for March, 2017

E/C/F and Competition: Benchmarking

Posted on March 21, 2017 in General Industry - 0

The purpose of owner E/C/F (Engineering, Construction, and Facilities) teams may seem obvious: build stuff so that business happens. You wouldn’t be wrong, in the same way that a computer’s purpose is to “do math fast.” The strategic benefits of that team can be harder to identify. Continuum Advisory Group recently completed a study to uncover these benefits and interview people changing the relationship between E/C/F and the internal clients they serve. Above all, we want to show others how. In this blog series, we’ll be exploring the results of the study in greater depth. Each blog post is focused on one of the eight identified themes from our interviews with 35 diverse corporations.

In our previous installment, we looked inward. We talked about knowing what individuals can contribute, of taking inventory and articulating value. Today we’ll continue some of the navel-gazing, but we’ll also look outward at your competition. Let’s learn how to benchmark.

Know Yourself

Benchmarking does start internally. A large struggle of E/C/F teams is gaining a seat at the strategic table, a place in the boardroom with the numbers people and decision-makers. That does require an ability to articulate the strategic value of your department in solving business needs.

Our interviewees emphasized the importance of metrics. You should measure yourself against previous successes, both your own and those of other departments. But internal benchmarking is inherently limited, because those successes are won with existing rules and thought processes. If you want benchmarking to create breakthroughs, you need to look outward.

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Competitive Advantage or Necessary Investment?

Posted on March 14, 2017 in Homebuilding - 0

A few weeks ago, between a series of meetings with a homebuilder client, I was asked if I wanted try out their virtual reality prototype, which involved me donning a pair of heavy goggles and clumsily shuffling around within a 10’ x 10’ open space. The open space, of course, was reality.  But what I was seeing through the goggles was the living room of one of their best selling house plans. On the horizon was a beautiful, scenic mountain range, which could be easily enjoyed from the fashionable L-shaped couch that I was virtually standing beside.  From a stationary position, I could rotate in a 360-degree circle to see the kitchen, covered porch, downstairs bathroom, stairs, and the entrance to the 1st floor master bedroom. From the master bedroom, I could walk around the bed, check out the master bathroom, and even take another look at that mountain range. Perhaps the coolest part of this experience came from the upstairs hallway, where I could approach the banister of the stairs, bend at the waist, and see the downstairs foyer. While not available on this particular day, the ultimate end product will include the option to change everything from the color of the walls to the structural layout of the house.  You’ll be able to build your dream home and experience it, just at the small price of wearing a bulky set of goggles.

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Perspective: Owner and A/E/C Partner Needs – They’re More Alike That You’d Guess

Posted on March 8, 2017 in Owners - 0
Each year, Continuum Advisory Group partners with the Construction Users Roundtable (CURT) to conduct an owner trends study. This year’s study was focused upon Excellence in Total Project Performance, and as we delved into the research an interesting theme arose around owner and A/E/C partner relationships. Specifically, what more these groups needed from one another to achieve project excellence.

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More Than a Feeling: Trust and Employee Engagement

Posted on March 1, 2017 in General Industry, Owners - 0

Think of all your dearest interpersonal relationships: your spouse, your children, your best friends. You trust these people. You trust in their ability, their sincerity, and their good intentions. Without that trust, those relationships would be transactional in nature and empty of emotion.

But what about your professional relationships? How can you build trust at work? A recent article from the Harvard Business Review says it starts with the brain.

How Trust Works

The feeling of trust can be traced back to a single chemical: oxytocin. Oxytocin is naturally produced by humans and animals, and it serves the evolutionary purpose of inspiring us to work together. Our ancestors likely needed it more than anyone!

Trust coincides with feelings of appreciation and recognition. This is why many companies introduce perks – parties and the like – for employees. But the sporadic nature of these perks mean that the oxytocin they release is equally short-lived. The HBR article explains that employees are most engaged when they experience a culture of appreciation. The resulting trust has a big impact: employees are less stressed, more productive, and actually take less time off.

HBR discovered that leaders can get those neurons firing with eight model behaviors.

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