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E/C/F and A/E/C Competition: Benchmarking

Posted on July 26, 2017 in General Industry - 0
ecf-benchmarking

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 our new blog series, we’ll be exploring the results of the study in greater depth. Each blog is focused on one of the eight identified themes from our interviews with 35 diverse corporations.

In our previous installment, we talked about how to benchmark, especially against external competitors. Today for our final installment, we’ll talk about another external source you should lean on: your architecture, engineering, and construction providers (A/E/C.)

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A Framework for Developing Agility

Posted on April 19, 2017 in General Industry - 0
impact

Looking at organizational agility is like looking at a spider web. The first level of observation is an entire, beautiful creation, a single unit. It’s just there; you don’t think much about how it was actually built. But look closer at the linkages and threads, and suddenly it seems impossible to create.

Micromanagement of your organization is both impractical and undesirable. You can’t build every corner of it yourself, but you can build the builders. We think our three strategies below – based on the results from our 2016 CURT Owner Trends Study – can help.

It’s important to note that this framework, like the agility it aims for, is not absolute. Your organization has its unique idiosyncrasies. But these should get you and your builders moving in the right direction.

Scanning and Planning

Successful interviewees for our study have one thing in common: vision. While day-to-day operations and lean processes are important, they keep their eyes on possibilities. Kim Flowers (former VP of New Generation Projects and Construction for Southern Company) highlighted Southern Company’s  scenario planning team, a group of people who envision and plan for hypothetical futures. If one of those futures comes true, Southern Company is ready to act.

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E/C/F and the Bottom Line: Measuring Your Impact

Posted on April 4, 2017 in General Industry - 0
staffing

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 our new 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 a previous installment, we discussed proving the value of your capital program, specifically as it refers to the bottom line. Today our focus narrows from the impact of your program as a whole to the impact of individuals. Because not only should you know their impact, they should, too!

The Devil Is In the Details

Our interviewees emphasized client inventory of your capabilities. Your internal clients may not even know what to ask of your department, so you may have to answer the question before they ask it. It’s your responsibility to let clients know what you can do.

More specifically, it’s important to go beyond the general. “We’re flexible” or “we can adapt” are mere generalities. If you have a guy on your team who can explain complex concepts in elementary terms, advertise him! If there’s a woman who can make stubborn contractors listen, let people know about her! Putting your capabilities in succinct, easily understood terms will sound much more useful.

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E/C/F and Competition: Benchmarking

Posted on March 21, 2017 in General Industry - 0
budgeting

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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More Than a Feeling: Trust and Employee Engagement

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

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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Continuum Advisory Group to Release 2017 Owner Study: Excellence in Total Project Performance

Posted on February 14, 2017 in General Industry, Owners - 0
excellencegraphic

Companies strive for excellence. Yet when asked to rate their organizations on excellence in total project performance, only 9% of respondents in our recent study rated their companies “high.”

This week, Continuum Advisory Group and the Construction Users Roundtable (CURT) will share the results of the 2017 owner trends study, focused on Excellence in Total Project Performance.

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Changing the Conversation: Work-Life Balance in the Building and Construction Industry

Posted on December 29, 2016 in General Industry - 0

Women make up 8.9 percent of the construction workforce.[1] Our industry has an inability to attract women and lack of flexibility may play a bigger part than we’re willing to admit. Changing the conversation around work-life balance will be critical in developing our workforce in the next decade.

Our President and COO, Gretchen Gagel, recently gave a TEDx talk, “The Power to Change the Conversation.” In it she relays the story of a client’s reaction after he learned she was pregnant with her first child. Gagel, who worked as a consultant for a large, predominanatly male firm at the time, stood by as her client asked her boss right in front of her, “Have you begun to look for Gretchen’s replacement?”

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Support the Working Mom in Your Family

Posted on May 11, 2016 in General Industry - 0
8-steps-to-being-a-working-mom

The stay-at-home mom is becoming increasingly rare. According to the US Department of Labor, over 60% of women with children under three hold down a job. This is compared to just over 30% in 1976!

As traditional gender roles disappear, mothers may find it difficult to balance the mom they want to be with the career they’ve earned.

Continuum Advisory Group President Gretchen Gagel recently wrote a book about that very struggle, 8 Steps to Being a Great Working Mom.

But what about men? How can we help the women in our life find their balance? If you’re a woman’s ally, here are some of the steps most applicable to you.

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Greener Greetings

Posted on November 9, 2015 in General Industry - 2

Holiday cards are a branding choice many businesses make each year. Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, or New Year’s greetings? Religious or neutral? Paper or electronic? Traditional or personalized? How do you make them stand out? Does anyone even read them? There are a whole host of articles and blog posts giving advice – 5 rules to follow, top 4 trends, 10 tips – for business holiday cards. What does your holiday card say about your business and your brand?

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