Video Transcriptions

The pioneer award is for furthering or unpacking the construction industry. This is done in such a way that is noticeable and relevant throughout the construction world. LCI acknowledges is a pioneer that is paving the way and doing the behind scenes things to get people involved and help reshape how we think about how we build people and buildings.

 

Is there a symbiotic relationship between building people and buildings?

Absolutely, and I have made a point to say that in my “Thank You” address because these people build buildings. We spend so much time on the product which is obviously important, but it is the people that build buildings. If we don’t have that understanding of how to work together and have some type of symmetry then we have disasters, in-fighting and job sites that are unproductive and distrusting. Most traditional projects have lived through in-fighting and distrust. We can do it a different way if we just put our minds to it and then try.

 

SUMMARY

 

What is the LCI Pioneer Award?
  • The award is given to an individual who furthers the construction industry through their contribution and application of best practices.

A couple of things I think about what has driven me is, again I sat in the room with all those people who design and plan. They are missing the trade partner; they are missing me. I realized that one, I have to be a part of the conversation – recognize how relevant and important you are in the conversation. Sometimes we may feel intimidated. We don’t have college background nor talk in public, and we are more comfortable when we cut, and on a ladder or somewhere but we have to become engaged in those conversations. We need to understand that we can make a difference and they need to understand how we do our work. The first thing is really recognizing how relevant you are to the conversation and that they need you.  

 

The other thing is coming into a place where you are tired of doing the work the same way. I tell my teams we spend more of our lives at work that we do with our own families and at the end of the day we need to enjoy what we do. We need to love what we do. One of my philosophies is that, “Love what you do or like it a whole lot.” If that is going to be the case, we can actually have fun at work. Lean should be fun. Sometimes it is just not that way and so we have the power to change that.

 

SUMMARY

 

What can you do to be recognized as a leader?
  • You have to be a part of the conversation.
  • Communicate to general contractors how you do your work.
  • Have a midst of being tired of the status quo.
  • Enjoy what you do and have fun doing it.

First, know where you stand, what you do, and be passionate about it. If you find yourself in a place where things start to go awry, and you are unhappy, and you wake up in the morning wondering why you are going to do it, you have to look at what are those reasons behind that. Many times it is you don’t feel like you are heard, or you are not part of a greater team, or you feel like you don’t have a purpose in that team.

 

It is important to have an environment where you can go talk to a supervisor or a manager about that where you feel like you are heard. One of the things that Southland promotes is that “everyone matters.” It is not just in words but it is actionable, and so you have a voice. An example might be to write your issues on a whiteboard, and the team looks at that on a regular basis and they are knocking things off that list. The people who see that happening know that they are heard. They know that if it is something to do with lighting or some equipment that we need we are going to address it. The management’s job is to acknowledge that the concern exists.

 

A lot of times people don’t feel happy because they are not being heard as the saying goes, “People don’t quit companies, they quit managers.” It is when you stop believing in that person that is supposed to be your leader and they stop doing it and you feel like I need to go somewhere else. For others who have tried those things and it hasn’t changed then maybe it is time to move on. Maybe not out of the industry but maybe to another company. Unfortunately, sometimes a decision that has to be made hopefully doesn’t get there. But doing nothing and coming to work every day painfully is not the answer.

 

SUMMARY

 

What is the secret sauce to loving what you do?    
  • Be passionate.
  • Take responsibility to change what bugs you.
  • List your concerns for management to address.
  • Know that doing nothing is not the answer.

I always go back to training. I believe that when a company cares about its people they invest in them by providing training whether it is bringing people into the company, having online resources, and sending people to conferences. These things speak volumes to the value that you have for your people, and when they return they are able to impart what they’ve learned to others.  

 

There is this quote about training, two senior management were talking. One says, “What if we train them and they leave?” The other guy says, “What if we don’t train them and they stay?”

The whole concept is that you have a group of untrained people, you probably have a chaotic ran business. Yes, if you get someone trained they potentially could leave your company and use it somewhere else but again if you are doing the right things people find a way. I believe that training speaks volumes and it opens doors and keeps people excited. Training is what separates good companies from great companies.

 

SUMMARY

 

Are there any other initiatives that we can start with?
  • Train your people.
  • What if we train them and they leave?
  • What if we don’t train them and they stay?

It is where trade partners make time to review the project in advance of going to a GC. It is not just writing words on a sticky. It is being thoughtful about what that plan looks like and being able to share conceptually with others and figuring out how things will work. When you have a team like that you are going to have a successful project. It doesn’t mean they are not going to have obstacles and issues. It’s having that mindset of working together as a team to fix them, overcome challenges and be successful. 

 

My manager Marc Williams has a saying that, “One of us is not smarter than all of us.” When you collaborate and have that synergy there are so many things that are possible. It is just a matter of putting your egos down, talking about what you understand and what you don’t and seeing where someone else could help and then really building a better team.

 

SUMMARY

 

What would a negotiated agreement between trade partners look like?
  • Trade partners would make time to review the project in advance.
  • Trade partners would negotiate together and figure out how things would work.
  • Everyone would check their egos at the door.       

It was a term introduced to me a year ago. You think about someone in a meeting or someone on a jobsite that has some good ideas and they are afraid to say it to the team because someone might say, “It doesn’t matter” or “We don’t need to hear your thoughts”. It is because the established environment is not conducive for someone to freely go to their boss and say, “Hey, I have an idea…”, and so they keep those great ideas and die with them.

 

Psychological safety is a term given to a condition. It is the leader’s job to make it safe for all to become vulnerable. The word vulnerable in construction is like oil and water, but at the end of the day it is about people. You create that environment that allows people to feel like I can say something and if it doesn’t work you say, “Thank you great idea but we are going to do this.” Building great teams is about getting people to feel comfortable about expressing their concerns and ideas.

 

As Steve Jobs said, “Hire smart people so they can tell you what to do, NOT so you can tell them what to do.” I think it is important that leaders understand psychological safety will help increase productivity and innovation on any project.

 

How many years ago have you noticed these kinds of changes?

It was about 10-15 years ago where I started seeing a big change on how work was delivered.

 

SUMMARY

 

What is psychological safety?
  • Psychological safety is a special term given to a condition where a worker is comfortable with sharing their concerns and ideas.
  • Psychological safety will help increase productivity and innovation on any project.

I am Henry Nutt III, sheetmetal general superintendent for Southland industries. I have worked for Southland for 11 years. I have been in the sheetmetal trade for 31 years. I have taken part in 6 Lean projects, 2 of which went exceptionally and primarily non-Lean projects unfortunately.

 

How did you get started in the trade?

I got started in construction because my dad was a sheetmetal worker for about 20 years. My father encouraged me to become a sheetmetal worker which I had no intentions on doing because I was studying Engineering. I took the test and passed it, so I need to decide either to quit school or start the trade. I decided, “What could I lose. I will try it and if I don’t like it I can always go back to school.”

 

My first two years were very challenging and I wanted to quit because of the people. I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life fighting people, not physically but verbally and emotionally. I met a couple people along that time and they both were seasoned journeyman and they encouraged me, “Whatever happens, don’t quit”, so I never quit and the rest is history.

 

SUMMARY

 

Who is Henry Nutt III?
  • Henry has been in the sheet metal trade for 31 years.
  • He has taken part in 6 Lean projects; 2 of which went exceptionally well.
  • His father encouraged him to become a sheetmetal worker.
  • He had a challenging first 2 years, but he was encouraged not to quit.

I am a thought leader because I care. Over the years I have developed affinity for people and I believe most people want to come to work to give eight hours of work and those who don’t you have to discover what the issues are. Because of that it I research and learn more about people and emotions, and reasons why we make decisions and go beyond the norm of things and that is kind of like plays in all aspects of my life. Because I care, because I dig a little bit more and try to find out things, it gets me to some answers that I don’t think are as common. I believe what I share is not necessarily what everyone is going to say always. It is something that is a little bit more rich because I have taken the time to think about it.

 

What do you do to share your deep insight?

I probably speak some part of other organizations. I am on the steering committee for SMACNA, for AGC, and now going to be on the board in 2019 for LCI.

 

I have been put into a role which wasn’t my plan, but again that passion of seeing something that works. It kind of connected with me and I found myself in groups and sharing ideas and giving my story on a conversation. It has put me in that place where I become a champion wherein I am asked to be a part of when there are interviews and shop tours with clients because I have experienced working in the field, and now on the management side. 

 

SUMMARY

           

Why are you considered a thought leader?
  • A thought leader cares and finds answers to the deeper questions.
  • A thought leader share their answer outside of their own group.
  • A thought leader can talk from different perspectives, for example the field and management perspective.

I just turned 50 in September this year. My father was “old school” – tough and stern. But one thing that I appreciate from him is his work ethic. He went to work every day sometimes one or two jobs. He was a provider and took care of us and so I understand the value of work – not call in sick, not being late.

 

That is one thing when I got into the trade, I made my father proud because I shared his work ethic. I don’t think that I probably appreciated it until I got older when I saw different people – friends, family – that didn’t have that. It is not something that – you have it or you don’t. It is really hard to gain it if you have never had a good work ethic, so that really helped shape my career.

 

SUMMARY

 

Tell us a little bit about your upbringing.
  • My father was “old school” and had a great work ethic.
  • I made my father proud because I shared his work ethic.

It is based on different projects and people you meet. There’s some days where I am highly encouraged and you have people who not only do the right things and work well with others but they actually understand the real purposes of how to drive a project to success. The construction industry is just past the infant stage when it comes to Lean construction. Chronologically speaking, we are probably preteens, maybe I am a teenager in that area.

Why is it important for the construction industry to embrace Lean principles?

It is important because our livelihoods are at stake. We cannot continue to do the same things and expect them to work progressively or better. The construction industry, just like anything that evolves, should improve. It needs putting in work and effort and learning new things.

I am into improving and getting better that is why Lean has resonated with me and embraced it without having to read a lot of books. I want to improve. I want to get better. I don’t want to look back and say two years from now I am in the same place. I challenge my crews the same thing that the identity of a foreman is totally different from 20 years ago. We have to be progressive to stay relevant. If we choose to stay behind and not change and improve then we will find ourselves fighting for something that doesn’t exist anymore.           

SUMMARY

 

Why is it important for the construction industry to embrace Lean principles?
  • The construction industry, just like anything that evolves, should improve.
  • Lean is evolving and improving.
  • We have to be progressive to stay relevant.

First, I consider all the subcontractors as trade partners, that we are on the same page, we have to contribute and have a mindset that we are trade partners. We bring those ideas together using the Last Planner®® system. It is one of the things that I teach with Lean Construction Institute, at Southland and on other projects. The Last Planner®® system brings everyone to the table and make visible all of the issues and constraints so we can identify how to make everything work in sequence that can cause each trade partner to be successful.

 

It takes a lot of coordination and time. Ensure you have the right people on the job with the mindset of go slow to go fast. You have to be considerate of your trade partners and it is not about one person winning. It will come down to the whole and optimizing the whole as we hear all the time.

 

SUMMARY

 

How do you best align the priorities of trade partners on a construction site?
  • Consider all sub-contractors as trade partners.
  • Make visible all of the issues and constraints.
  • Sequence the work so that each trade partners can be successful.
  • Ensure you have the right people on the job with mindset of go slow to go fast.

Owners of trade contractors should listen to their team. It is asking questions and going to the place where work is performed to learn and understand. Once you understand and observe and then it stirs in your mind so many different things how you could make things better but you are asking questions, and you are getting information from your team, “What would you do to improve this?” It is not sitting in the corner office believing you have all the answers. Someone has to be a leader but you have to go out, check your team, and ask the people who you trust and are willing to share that information as well as the hard questions with you. It is really being willing to learn and become a student of your own business to help it grow.

 

SUMMARY

 

What advice do you have for trade partners?
  • Owners of trade contractors should listen to their team.
  • Go to the place where the work is performed to learn and understand.
  • Before providing answers ask, “What would you do to improve this?”
  • Become a student of your business to help it grow.

I was active in basketball and track & field back when I was in school. There’s this moment where I looked in the mirror and think about, “I needed a change”, so I took strength training. I got a trainer who helped me be disciplined – eating right and working out regularly. Now, wherever I go I have my gym clothes and I just make sure that I get my workout in. My goal is to do it 6 days a week. It is about just being healthy, feeling strong and feeling good in my body in addition to everything else. I didn’t want to become an old man and look like an old man. I two young children, one is 13, and I want to be vibrant, be around and see them. More so about me being strong, not necessarily trying to look like the Hulk, but just feeling good about how I look.

We do that at Southland. Yes, coaching and training are important to improving your business.

I was in a class the other day about coaching and I got an opportunity to coach and then to be observed as a coach. As coaches, we are not giving them the answers but we guide them to the answers. I believe it is very empowering when you actually coach someone effectively because you give them that ability to fish on their own and you are not necessarily having to sit there and watch.

 

Yes, we benefit from coaching and definitely training. We spend a lot of time training. We bring in outside trainers, I do training, and other parts of our team. Training separates a good company from a great company. Training is an investment. It is not just for our professional life. Many times, what we learn we apply at home and so I think a lot of our teams grateful for the investment. 

 

SUMMARY

 

Do you think that we should be using coaches in business?
  • Yes, coaching and training are important to improving your business.
  • Coaching helps the learner by guiding them to the answers.
  • Training separates a good company from a great company.

The common theme around Lean construction is about doing things better. Lean construction is also about comparing what you do today to the best way. One of the best ways to understand where you need to be is to understand first where you are. You need to realize that you need to change, that there is something better, then it gives you that drive to improve. Lean is one of the tools that can help us to do that. There is also a mindset associated with Lean in – what we do, ourselves as employees or employers. Lean is about how you eliminate waste and steps to things like that, so it is kind of multifaceted.

 

SUMMARY

 

What is Lean construction?
  • The common theme around Lean construction is about doing things better.
  • Lean construction is also about comparing what you do today to the best way.
  • There is also a mindset associated with Lean.

The common theme around Lean construction is about doing things better. Lean construction is also about comparing what you do today to the best way. One of the best ways to understand where you need to be is to understand first where you are. You need to realize that you need to change, that there is something better, then it gives you that drive to improve. Lean is one of the tools that can help us to do that. There is also a mindset associated with Lean in – what we do, ourselves as employees or employers. Lean is about how you eliminate waste and steps to things like that, so it is kind of multifaceted.

 

Are you using the 5S system?

We have a lot of acronyms to memorize in this business and we tend to spend more time memorizing terminologies but still don’t understand how to apply it.

 

I know 5S is – Sort, Set, Shine, Standardize and Sustain, sometimes I forgot the terms in the middle but I know how to apply it. What I do is not focus on memorizing the terms but on understanding how to apply 5S. You can memorize all these words but if I see you not operating in a way that you understand it then and I don’t know if I really helped you.

 

We have post its around our company that I developed years ago. In our shop, we show 5S and give some samples. We have slideshows that we have trained people on what it looks like to use 5S in trucks, or boxes, and things like that. We apply those principles and use that tool. I try to emphasize with people that I am not so concerned about memorizing the words and terminologies, but understand what they mean and how to apply them in your daily work.

 

SUMMARY

 

What is Lean construction?
  • The common theme around Lean construction is about doing things better.
  • Lean construction is also about comparing what you do today to the best way.
  • There is also a mindset associated with Lean.

As I have mentioned, we did the 5S activity with the game boxes. Our tools were a mess inside the game boxes so I reached to a couple of different superintendents. We used foam and shaped out the tools so that there was a place for everything, and everything was in in place. It was a pilot thing, it was cool, but the guys didn’t like it because it limited how many things they can put in. We used minimum and maximum lines for materials so they knew when to order more. We have some of our service vans that we showed before and after pictures of improvements made, and how 5S can help them be more efficient and safe. There are different practices that we tried, some of it works and some doesn’t. The whole idea is we are trying some new things and we get our teams to be the ones to drive it, and they tell which one works and doesn’t work. But before implementing a new standard we receive feedback from our people

 

SUMMARY

 

What does 5S look like in your organization?
  • We used foam and shaped out the tools so that there was a place for everything, and everything was its place.
  • We used min and max lines for materials so they knew when to order more.
  • We showed before and after pictures of improvements made.
  • But before implementing a new standard we received feedback from our various teams so we could make informed decisions.

Yes, I have done training on the 8 Wastes, probably more outside of Southland than inside. We about it in our shops in regards to over processing and things like that. I don’t have as much signage in the shop regarding the 8 Wastes but we talk about it and aspects when we start a project. Yes, we focus on areas that contribute to the biggest waste; such as material handling. We look at logistics of a project – how we are going to get material in and out of the building, is it going to be craned, trucked, is there a men lift, and how it is scheduled.

 

My direct manager, Mark Williams, helped us develop some carts that are stackable and it makes material handling easy. We look at that those aspects of 8 Wastes. We talked with our engineering team and we have created tools that forced conversations to happen in an effort to get everyone in sync. It is a tool that has dates and information that helps eliminate some of those wastes that can naturally happen. If you are not cognizant of the steps you need to take to make sure you are driving in a way that is the best route to take.

 

SUMMARY

 

Do you train people in your organization to understand the 8 wastes?
  • Yes, we focus on areas that contribute to the biggest waste; such as material handling.
  • We also created tools that forced conversation to happen in an effort to get everyone in sync.

I have worked with Southland for 11 years. Southland has been delivering mechanical construction services for over 60 years in Northern California, Southern California, Las Vegas and Arizona. We tend to go where there is a job that makes sense for us. We may not necessarily open an office, but we may do a job in a remote area. Southland has about 3,300 people worldwide. In Northern California there’s probably about 600 people in the field and 100 people in the office.

 

We are the 4th largest mechanical contractor in the country and we are about continuous improvement. I would say we are one of the great companies, not because I work here, but we are on our way to be a company that is revered because we have progressive leadership and we value people. We make sure we listen to our people – doing the behind the scenes work, upper and lower management – to help inspire and encourage a culture where people want to be here, and people feel like they are heard when something doesn’t work for them.

 

I have worked with some good companies, but Southland has allowed me the opportunity to grow and learn so much. I can’t think back there like 11 years and say what I know today there’s just no way I would have learned this. It wasn’t because I went to a class, but it was because of the experience – meeting different people, discovering things, and asking questions. I know that there are many companies where you’re very regimented, you have very restricted autonomy, and you can’t really do those things that really can be helpful. I am appreciative to the type of company that Southland is and being a part of it.

It is interesting, I go to project interviews, and there will be a profession of how we are going to run this job using Lean tools, but when the job starts it is nowhere like that. There are a lot of companies that are definitely aware of it and try to use it. But a small amount of job sites use the full Last Planner® system. Most contractors mistake pull scheduling as being the Last Planner® system, where in fact pull scheduling is just an aspect in the Last Planner®. It is not the only thing we should be doing but it tends to be what I see happening. I would say maybe 20% are using the full system. What we do is we try to help on the projects. We try to help people see why we need to ask them the other steps and do the PPCs. When people hire us we just try to be the team player. We are going to be the leader in this because this is what we what we do.

SUMMARY

 

What percentage of the construction sites use Last Planner® system?
  • A small amount of job sites use the full Last Planner® system.
  • Less than 20 percent fully implement the Last Planner® system.

A lot of the projects, up to 80% of our foremen and superintendents use the Last Planner® system. One of the things that we are working on now is using that system regardless of if anyone is using it in certain capacities for material orders among others. If a project is not using it, we definitely will have some components of using it but we limit it because it is only limited to us.

Have your responsibilities changed since the introduction of the Last Planner® system?

Here at Southland, we have always used the Last Planner® system. In my previous company, we never used the Last Planner®. We didn’t know it existed. Yes, it has had a dramatic change on me as a superintendent.

For instance, I am in Florida and my office is in California and I am out of the office for a whole week. As a superintendent, I travel a lot but I don’t have to worry about if things are falling apart when I’m not there. A part of that has to do with the training and the team that I have. I promote leadership in development and taking responsibility and so I don’t have to worry about some of those things. The biggest difference is that I am no longer a fire fighter, and a lot of superintendents tend to being fire fighters and save the day. I am not looking for that kind of glory because it limits what I can do. My real job is to learn and grow so I can help others do the same.

Obviously, things happen and we work around those things and learn from them. More importantly, it is being able to have a job where you can continue to grow and excel which comes down to your willingness to invest and sacrifice to develop your team. So you can be in a place where I could be here talking to you now and not worry about my boss worrying about what is happening because everything isn’t taken care of.

SUMMARY

 

Have your responsibilities changed since the introduction of the Last Planner® system?
  • Yes, it has had a dramatic change on me as a superintendent.
  • The biggest difference is that I am no longer a fire fighter.
  • My real job is to learn and grow so I can help others do the same.

The two main obstacles that I encountered are; people don’t want to do it, and it is not easy. People think Lean is like pushing an easy button. Lean doesn’t fix anything it just exposes some of the issues you have. Once you understand that, you may be scared of what you see and you don’t want to do it because it is a lot of work.

The other part is the mindset. A lot of the older generation, those in the business for 30 years, are very set in their ways and don’t want to change. It is true that the old ways got them there, however we need to continue to grow. The idea of never being satisfied with where you are at and the goal of continuous improvement applies to all of us.

That is the challenging factor when you have people who’s a stud. They smile on your face, they nod their heads in meetings but you know they have this stubbornness in them that says, “I am not moving.” Understand that some people don’t make it. I am a very patient person but you have to recognize those who create contention within your team and may not belong there anymore. That is the hard thing and then again it is the exposure to how difficult it is going to be to get to that place you want to be and put it in that type of work to do it because it doesn’t just fix itself.

SUMMARY

 

What are some of the obstacles in implementing the Last Planner® system?
  • The two main obstacles are; people don’t want to do it, and it is not easy.
  • You must remember that we must all improve.
  • You must know that not all of us make it.

This is more of a professional personal relationship story 8 years ago. There’s two people that work for us. I had a gentleman that was very smart and competent. However, his personality was very abrasive. It is either his way or the highway. One day he got into an argument with another foreman that I hired. He was very confrontational and it just blew up. All I did was hear the story. I wasn’t there to see it.

 

What I had to do is defuse the problem. I couldn’t have two employees fighting on a drill on the project site, and so I sent the foreman that created the situation home (with pay). My gut was like, he doesn’t belong here, but instead of doing that I waited, gave him a couple days to calm down, gave me a couple days to think about the best solution. I brought him back in the office and told him, it was a serious warning of your jeopardy of losing your job. However, I am willing to do some training with you and see how you can transform. If it is something you choose to do, you’ll do it. If you don’t, then you’ll know what the answer is. I wanted to be very clear with him that there’s one way or the other, and so this outburst is not acceptable. I expect more from you. I need you to communicate as a professional.

 

Fast forward, we went to training and these two guys who didn’t probably hated each other for a while actually worked together today, literally, and are friends and had the utmost respect for one another. I think the way that I approached that situation was I didn’t allow it to escape and I didn’t allow what he did to go unnoticed, so I corrected the situation without necessarily someone having to lose a job. I gave him a chance and explained that a repeat of this is the same as you firing yourself. I think he owned that and really begin to understand. It may not be what you would think like as a Lean thing but in my opinion it really is a part of what we do and how to treat someone with respect and why that is so important. At the end of the day it worked out really well where he still has a job and he is better and he is not afraid to talk about that scenario and how he has matured over the years.

 

SUMMARY

 

Please share a story related to Lean.
  • A very competent foreman caused an argument with another foreman.
  • I acknowledged the bad behavior and sent him home (with pay).
  • Giving someone a chance and explaining that a repeat of this behavior is the same as you firing yourself.
  • This is about treating someone with respect and that is Lean.

The last project would be the Venison Gary Hospital in San Francisco that costs $1.3 billion. Our scope of the project was $250 million. We had plumbing piping sheet metal on the entire project. We anticipated 600 people needed but used just over 300 people. It was because of the planning team –  owner to the general contractor. The whole project team just worked together.

 

The project was challenging and complex but there were many unique things that we were able to do. I was involved from the ground floor, and just at that stage of like we are walking away and signing it off, but no injuries, we had a great team, and there were innovative ideas that we did that we’ve never done before. Most of the people on the project had never done a project that big. It was a cool environment where people are happy and issues are dealt differently. It was great to be a part of that project. The vision was for all to say, “This is something I have never experienced before.” I think we did that and I think people felt proud about their work and gave recognition to their own trades, to the community as well as to the owners. It was great in so many ways. It was something that I will never forget. We did it – it was a feather in my cap.

 

SUMMARY

 

Please share some details of a recent Lean construction project
  • Our scope of the project was 250 Million dollars.
  • We anticipated 600 people needed but used just over 300 people.
  • There were many unique things we were able to do.
  • The vision was for all to say, “this is something we have not experienced before.”
  • We did it – it was a feather in my cap.

The main value can be summed up as, I am my brother’s keeper. We spent a lot of time discussing what we wanted to create. We talk about respect, standard of work, how to mitigate issues, commitment, safety and peace of mind. These words that you don’t normally hear on a construction site especially if you are building a foundation where you talk about money and schedule. We talked about issues that meant something to us as people. I believe that translated something more meaningful to each person that came in. Onboarding included a video of created by their own peers about what it meant to be on this project. It is more of like, “Hey, you are here. This is the message we want you to take as you go out on that job site and do work.”

 

SUMMARY

 

What values helps us guarantee success in construction?
  • The main value can be summed up as, I am my brother’s keeper.
  • We spent a lot of time discussing what we wanted to create.
  • We talked about issues that meant something to us as people.
  • Onboarding included a video of what it meant to be on this project.

A core team sustained throughout the project is important. We had a situation where one team member was removed and they brought in a new team and so it affected the continuity because the new team is playing catch-up. There are other things where they have highly talented people on the job but didn’t always fit well, so you need to better understand the point in which poison outweighs talent for team members. Sometimes you have to understand when you cut ties and when it is important to move on and make it better for everyone else. I think those two things of recognizing talent and recognizing the work that they bring. Also, having a core team sustained throughout the whole project that can build together essentially, virtually, conceptually all the way to the actual.

 

SUMMARY

 

What would you have done differently on the last project?
  • Ensure that a core team is sustained throughout the project.
  • Remove team members when they are more toxic compared to value they bring.

Start by understanding that you have a long way to go, and most of it is you don’t know what you don’t know.

 

There was this time when I went to our monthly LCI North California chapter dinner. One of my colleagues encouraged me to go and I sat in the room with architects, engineers, project managers talking about building the project. I am sitting there listening to their presentations and talk about things that in my opinion, “They didn’t fully understand”. With 20 years of experience my initial thought was, I want to throw tomatoes at them.

 

Later, I realized that they were trying and they just needed other people in the room to help and add to the story. I realized that they could not be successful without the trade partners providing the rest of the story. We can criticize them or we can get a part of the conversation and come to the table. That began my passion and I am doing what I do today because I need to be at the table and share my experiences and insights to them. It is seeing where you sit at the table of the whole spectrum and knowing the input, where you fit, what you contribute and having a voice. I tell my people every day, “I do this because I believe it.” I want to help people improve, be productive and the industry to grow. I want us to see how relevant we are in building the project. So, get in the conversation and see what you can do to make things better.

 

SUMMARY

 

What are some final recommendations for those starting their Lean journey?
  • Start by understanding that you have a long way to go.
  • With 20 years experience my initial thought was, I want to throw tomatoes at them.
  • I realized that they could not be successful without the trade partners providing the rest of the story.
  • So, get in the conversation and see what you can do to make things better.