When embarking on a new project, I have to consider and fulfil each of the following: manpower, equipment and vehicles, products, suppliers and subcontractors, compliance with Health & Safety and quality and environmental policies, planning and logistics, and all the environmental aspects of the job, from weather to access points.
Planning and preparing exhaustively means that whatever situation we encounter, we can overcome or adapt to maximise productivity and avoid downtime — which affects not only the profit and progress of a project, but also team spirit.
Having said that, planning and delivery should be simple, but that’s rarely the case. Every project usually encounters some kind of issue, where circumstances and situations occur that mean the ideal plan starts to change almost immediately. Variables outside of our control, environmental factors, and people-centric issues cause delays, changes and introduce limitations to our schedule and intended activities.
Being able to think on our feet with expertise and experience allows us to stay on programme and deliver the highest service product no matter what’s thrown at us. A measure of how good our leadership and team fortitude is, can be demonstrated by how swiftly and effectively any obstacles can be absorbed and superseded.
Especially within a new team, the ‘people-factor’ often becomes our biggest issue, as we discover our strengths and weaknesses, and from whom, within the team, solutions can be formed and implemented — resourcefulness and innovation can often come from unexpected team-members, and understanding the abilities, talents and capabilities of team members leads to their individual development and thus a stronger team.
I don’t consider many things impossible, and have never come across a scenario in a project/work environment where a positive outcome is not achievable. I have found that in the majority of cases people generally underestimate their own, and the team’s, abilities to achieve an outcome, especially when the task involves new uncharted activities, or the method to achieve is contrary to the initial plan.
Over the years, I’ve developed an outlook that serves me well: to learn about ourselves and our team-mates as we go along; to never say or think ‘that can’t be done’; and to positively push all of my team, push boundaries, break new ground and challenge everything.