Nov 21, 2022 | News and insight
20 years ago, ResoLex focused on dispute resolution for teams involved in major projects and complex environments. Over the years, we have developed a deep understanding of how people work together in teams and within the stresses and strains of complex environments – a recipe for behavioural risk! Fast forward to today, and we use that knowledge to help teams strengthen their social competencies, manage behavioural risk and embed a collaborative environment to deliver better outcomes.
Our focus is always on the people: how individuals come together to form a team, the impact of the project environment on relationships and the function of processes and structures to enable people to deliver successfully. So, what do we mean by ‘create more than just a team’? We all strive to create a team that is more than just a workgroup. Our aim is for teams to be effective, but what does that look like?
In major project delivery or any complex environment, an effective team is one that can respond with agility and develop new solutions to the dynamic challenges that the environment brings. A team like this is often made up of people with diverse perspectives, who can safely challenge one another to get to the best outcome. An effective team must have a psychologically safe culture – enabling individuals to feel included and encouraged to contribute their diverse perspectives to the benefit of the project.
One of the early challenges for project leadership is to decide how to bring diverse groups together so they can work effectively, not just on their own element of the project, but critically in the way they support the outputs of other teams with which they must interact and here lies the importance of communication and aligning cultures. Edgar Schien argues* (and we agree!) that for humans to work effectively together, they need to engage based on ‘level two relationships’ – personal, cooperative and trusting relationships where we see others as human beings, acknowledging the whole person and with symmetry in the confidence and trust that each person in that relationship can have in the other (without symmetry, the relationship will remain transactional or will even end). In a ‘level two relationship’, we have a greater level of knowledge of the factors that shape the lives and behaviours of those we work with regularly. When we have a greater degree of understanding, we accept others for who they are as human beings rather than simply identifying them with the job they do. We are consequently more able to build the trust, respect and healthy interactions that are critical to creating psychological safety and laying the foundations for the high-performing team that we desire.
Without this work, project teams are at risk of defaulting to the kinds of behaviours that lead to a hostile working environment, blame culture and workplace bullying, which are not only unpleasant to experience but lead to underperforming, ineffective teams.
This blog was inspired by Anti-Bullying Week, and you might be wondering, what does that have to do with building an effective team?
The Anti-Bullying Alliance (ABA) are the official organiser of the Anti-Bullying Week campaign. Every year, the campaign aims to raise awareness of the bullying of children and young people in schools and elsewhere and to highlight the ways of preventing and responding to it. Whilst we are somewhat removed from the world of educating young people, we recognise that our working environments are the next step for them as they develop, and many will spend their careers working in the teams and according to the cultures that we are building.
We are by no means experts on bullying, but we know bullying doesn’t just stop at childhood – adult and workplace bullying takes place and can have an especially damaging impact not only on individuals but on whole teams and organisations. We wanted to highlight the campaign and share some thoughts on how building an effective team creates a working environment where people feel confident, supported and empowered (and, of course, not bullied!). Just as we recognise there are actions that can be taken to prevent reaching the dispute resolution stage, there are also actions that we can take as leaders to prevent the unhealthy cultures and environments that tolerate workplace bullying from developing in the first place.
Remember these key ingredients so that you can make sure you are doing more than just creating a team – you are building an effective one.
We hope this information has been useful, if your team needs support in strengthening those social competencies, please get in contact with us. If you are seeking support for workplace bullying, here is an online resource from CIPD, the Professional body for HR and people development.
* Humble Leadership: The Power of Relationships, Openness, and Trust, Edgar H. Schein, 2018
Jan 28, 2022 | News and insight
Event date: Wednesday 19th January 2022
The Major Projects Association hosted a thoughtful panel discussion on the skills needed to deliver major projects in the future. It is apparent that many factors are driving the need to consider this issue at present: the speed of technological development and environmental change, the increasingly complex and layered nature of major projects, changes in our social organisation and the way we approach and think about work, to name a few. Though the panel didn’t provide all the answers, a consensus did emerge around the need to have a more robust approach to developing behavioural skills in project leaders.
The panel discussed how our modern world more than ever before, the role of a person in an organisation is to engage with others to deliver impact, elevating the need for hyperconnectivity, empathy, agility, and effective people management. The “land of skills scarcity” in project delivery is expected to persist, and with multiple vacant roles available for every qualified project manager, the most successful projects will be those that are able to manage and apply resources and talent better than others. The panel also considered the deficit in technical skills, especially relating to net zero targets. Achieving our sustainability goals will require huge social changes, both domestically and in the infrastructure we deliver. Major projects of the future should be about delivering in response to what we need, going back to the beginning with a mindset to question the need for the project in the first place.
Some of our key takeaways:
- We have to use a different set of eyes to think about what skills we will need to deliver major projects in the future. The context will re-define a lot of things, as we have all experienced over the last couple of years with the pandemic.
- We can use the need to change as an opportunity to diversify our teams and access greater talent. To do that we need to develop a diversity in ways of working that enables a wider range of people to deliver effectively and consistently.
- The ‘superhero leader’ mindset will not serve us well as we deal with increasing complexity. We must instead leverage the strengths of everyone through collaboration, making room for people to be themselves and do what they do best.
- The challenge around skills is often more about how effectively organisational leaders are able to manage change in society – responding to the complexity and unpredictability of our reality.
Chair: Nathan Baker Chief Executive Institute of Occupational Medicine
- Josie Cluer Partner EY
- Michelle Lambon-Wilks Development Director National College for Nuclear
- Rob Leslie-Carter Director Arup
- Sarah Mukherjee MBE Chief Executive IEMA
Jan 13, 2022 | News and insight
What is it?
Changing Behaviours in Construction is a practical document, written as a collaborative effort between ResoLex and some of our associates. We came together to reflect on the government’s Construction Playbook and developed some practical advice for project leaders to be able to successfully implement the directives in the Playbook, through building and maintaining strong, high-performing teams.
Who is it written for?
The document is primarily aimed at project leaders and those responsible and accountable for successful project delivery. The eight themes in the document should however resonate with professionals throughout the team and we hope to provide tools that can be easily implemented by people in a number of different roles.
What are the key takeaways?
There are actions that can be taken, both early in the setup of the project and later as the team develops, that will enable projects to achieve the shifts in performance required by the Construction Playbook. We have divided our thoughts and suggested actions into eight key themes and also provided a quick rundown of our top 10 suggestions for improving performance through collaborative behaviours.
Read or download ‘Changing Behaviours in Construction’ here!
Dec 14, 2021 | News and insight
We are delighted to welcome Elle to the ResoLex Team! Elle is our new Marketing and Communications Manager and the fact you’re reading this means she is already succeeding!
Elle is a self-starter with experience in all things marketing and communications, from social media management, content creation, brand management to event planning and is a great match to our values and team working ethos.
Within ResoLex the role is broader than in many organisations and Elle wears many hats (we all wear pretty fancy ones) – living by our collaborative values. Part of her role is to communicate our knowledge and experience, share some practical resources to help your teams and of course, market how great we are!
In the new year, you’ll see a host of the ever so popular and engaging Roundtable events and see our Professional Learning Network grow – get in touch with her On LinkedIn or via email ([email protected]) if you’d like some more information or to just say hi!
Meet the rest of the ResoLex team and our associates here.
Nov 2, 2021 | News and insight
After 16 years at 70 Fleet Street, the building is being redeveloped which has necessitated our move.
During our time in Fleet Street, we saw the ResoLex team and our industry impact grow.
The dining room provided a convivial environment for many Roundtable events and the meeting rooms held many important and exciting workshops that have helped shape national infrastructure projects.
We’ve been fortunate enough to move with our friends and colleagues at the IDRC and now have state of the art facilities at
1 Paternoster Lane, Paternoster Square, London EC4M 7BQ
We look forward to welcoming clients, colleagues, and friends to the new offices!
Jul 23, 2021 | News and insight
The release of the UK government’s Construction Playbook in December 2020 has the potential to be a ‘game-changer’ for the construction industry in the UK. It sets out a series of steps intended to accelerate the delivery of public sector projects, releasing greater value whilst improving the mechanisms for planning, procuring, and delivering construction projects. The Playbook provides a mix of old and new ideas, reminding us of some of the best practices from the past whilst recognising the potential that new technology can bring.
By adding the behavioural element to the best practice areas identified in the Construction Playbook, we can enable project teams to perform to a significantly higher level than current norms in the UK construction industry.
The ideas and practices set out in this paper are based on extensive research into team performance and our experiences in supporting teams engaged in the design and construction process. We know that people are messy; human behaviour changes according to the environment we work in and we usually revert to individualistic behaviours under severe pressure or conflict. However, when the culture is right, we can achieve amazing results.
You can download the report from our Community page, or follow the link: Changing Behaviours in Construction Report