How Do We Develop the Collaborative Habit?

“What would happen if we never collaborated again?

I guess my initial thoughts involve broken and fragmented relationships between all parties. This would create impacts on our projects such as waste and extra expense.

So why does it seem that it’s not part of our general DNA in our industry to collaborate, without even needing to think about it?

We are all far too familiar with the problems lack of collaboration brings – we’ve lived with the effects for too long. The Latham Report from 1994 and the Egan Report from 1998 highlighted lack of collaboration as a major reason that the UK fails to get value from publicly funded construction.

Here’s how lack of collaboration looks:
● Adversarial procurement and contracting wastes time on apportioning blame and arguing over the small print, rather than creating quality outcomes and value.
● Contractors fail to share information on increasingly complex projects and put their own needs (and profits) first.
● Project partners work with incomplete information, fail to schedule works intelligently and create avoidable practical problems for each other.
● Innovation is stifled because expertise isn’t pooled and everyone pursues narrow project objectives.
The net result is poorer quality, wasted resources, delays, cost overruns and a failure to adequately consider whole life costs. Alongside this there are also increased safety risks and projects that don’t meet end user needs.

The Collaborative Instinct
Collaborative working is no longer new and is becoming more common. But it isn’t yet instinctive or habitual –  we must remember to do it. Along with early engagement, it really does reap long term benefits for all involved.

Collaboration creates happy end users and greater value. Feedback helps create more positive relationships with all stakeholders as well as the end users. Collaboration creates better working practices.

Taking a collaborative approach provides a platform for both supply chain partners and customers to deliver the highest standards and continually improve working practices.  That way, we are all working together to achieve the best possible results. It isn’t a ‘zero sum’ game. We all gain more than we give up!

Collaboration is the future. It is vital to is all – not just in infrastructure. The best working relationships are the ones where our supply chain partners take time to listen to customers’ needs and frustrations – and vice versa. This approach will help partnerships to innovate and deliver all projects successfully, sustainably and efficiently.”

Mike Todd is the Lead Business Development Manager for Infrastructure at Osborne.