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The Importance of Alignment

Posted on May 20, 2017 in Owners - 0
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One of the core beliefs of Continuum Advisory Group is alignment. Put simply, alignment is all stakeholders in an organization being on the same page. Sometimes its scope is smaller – a two-person partnership, a business unit, or a project team – but the ideas of uniformity and consistency remain the same.

In construction, such alignment is particularly important. Our projects require communication with dispersed internal departments and external vendors, many of whom don’t operate within the same processes.

Today we’re discussing a successful story of alignment, this one from the petrochemical sector. It comes courtesy of Petrochemical Update, and begins in Mexico.

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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
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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
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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
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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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We Need Breakthrough Thinking in the Construction Industry

Posted on January 18, 2017 in Homebuilding, Owners - 2
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Amazon is no stranger to stirring things up, and their newest invention is no exception.

Yesterday, I read an article about their first grocery store in Seattle – a pilot for now, but it’s really happening – with no cashiers and no lines. There’s not even a self-checkout: customers are tracked via technology that senses what they take from the shelves. When they’re done, they just walk out. Payment is processed automatically.

We don’t sell groceries, but we can learn from Amazon. Their efforts are an outstanding example of the type of breakthrough thinking we need in the construction industry. Supermarkets have lines, and beeping registers, and the candy next to the conveyor belt. That’s their paradigm. But what is the one thing we all hate most in the supermarket? Standing in that very line.

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Don’t Struggle with Your Conveyor Belt

Posted on January 10, 2017 in Owners - 0
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Do you remember the classic episode of I Love Lucy, where our favorite comedienne got a job at a chocolate factory? The bosses kept speeding up her conveyor belt, and no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t keep up. Lucy shoved chocolates in her mouth, her shirt, her hat. It’s a hilarious picture, but the feeling it captures is one of profound helplessness. Nobody would want to be in that position!

And yet, many owner organizations find themselves struggling with conveyor belts of their own. Capital spending is up, but staffing is at post-recession levels. I spent several hours today with the head of engineering for one of our owner clients that has, over the last 18 months, finally turned the tide in the war on the chocolate factory.

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

Posted on December 23, 2016 in Owners - 0
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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.”

cultureThe 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 discussed the intangible aspect of an accountable, innovative culture. Culture does the talking, but money makes people listen. So today we’re going to talk about the bottom line, specifically how your E/C/F department can leverage that to increase its standing.

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Moving the Monolith: Organizational Agility

Posted on December 15, 2016 in Owners - 0
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Modern-day companies tend towards size or complexity (the two are not mutually exclusive.) Both paths allow for highly specialized functions and a diverse array of abilities.

This comes at the cost, however, of agility. Capital construction asset owners in particular can integrate engineering, sales, contractor management, and other functions under a single umbrella.  Each function has its own culture and goals that can be difficult to shift on short notice. When this umbrella has to work with the many other limbs of the giant corporate monolith, that shift grows ever more difficult.

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Change Management in an Agile Capital Program

Posted on November 20, 2016 in Owners - 0
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The Dunning-Kruger effect is a psychological phenomenon that reveals a humorous, but worrying part of human nature. It dictates that people often perceive their ability inverse to their actual ability. Those with skill undervalue themselves, and those without overvalue themselves.

Any responsible manager constantly fights against this effect, using personal experience and hard data to gain greater self-awareness. But it can rear its head in one particular arena: change management.

Our 2016 CURT Owner Trends Study focused on change management as it relates to organizational agility, or the ability for a capital construction program to rapidly adapt to new needs. Responses revealed that while we think about change a lot, and talk about change a lot, we don’t always manage it well. And that’s something we need to figure out.

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Continuum Advisory Group Talks E/C/F Futures with Construction Industry Institute

Posted on November 14, 2016 in Owners - 0
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The demands upon internal Engineering, Construction and Facilities (E/C/F) groups are increasing. They are being asked to do more with less faster to accomplish strategic business objectives. Continuum Advisory Group found this and more to be true in a recent study called “Order Takers or Value Creators – Engineering, Construction, and Facilities Groups as Critical Drivers of Organizational Performance.“

The study was produced in partnership with the Construction Industry Institute (CII). Continuum Advisory Group’s Matt Marshall presented the study’s findings recently with the Associated General Contractors of Colorado Subcontractor Relations Committee. 

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