It Takes a Team to Fit a Crane

June 8, 2017

As one who has always preferred to be part of an “ensemble cast,” I have a natural attraction to being on a team and I enjoy the benefits of such a dynamic.

As a high school athlete, my two main sport pursuits were football and wrestling.  Both gave me great exposure to both the team dynamic and to individual glory (insert blatantly inflated, narcissistic recounting of a dominant wrestling championship run in the DODDS school system in Rota, Spain).  All kidding aside, conversely my football team was 4 years of spirit-crushing defeat and ineptitude (their fault, not mine!), and the years of wrestling were comprised of relatively easy dominance and individual “glory”.

The “Ying and Yang” of a life led as both Roy Hobbs https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Natural 

and Morris Buttermaker https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bad_News_Bears.

In the two sports, I think I gained the most from the defeats and adversity faced along with my teammates.  It’s those times that exposed the rewards associated with relying upon others, and being relied upon to perform.

Now, I’m no Norman Dale (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoosiers – okay, I’ll stop now) but I’d like to think that I try to get the best out of everyone on my team, and offer up my best in return.

In our professional world, and especially in the extremely complex and multifaceted world of hospital construction project management, it is IMPERATIVE that you have a solid, dependable team approach.

I read an article from Sandler Training, about professional development, and in it, it espoused the Virtues of Teamwork:

  1. Fosters Creativity and Learning

  2. Blends Complementary Strengths

  3. Builds Trust

  4. Teaches Conflict Resolution Skills

  5. Promotes a Wider Sense of Ownership

Working on a team, you should develop the habit of “coming out of your shell” and reaching out to your co-workers for advice in many scenarios.  I am blessed to be in an office full of highly-trained and brilliant individuals with a myriad of backgrounds and experiences.

Our TSC team has individuals of many years of experience “in the trenches”, along with some “millennials” or “Gen-X’ers” (insert pop-sociology label of your choice) who are obviously talented and enthusiastic and SPRINTING into the tasks at hand. 

ALL have wonderful perspectives and ideas to offer, even the “kids”. Creativity and Learning just naturally happens when you pose questions and quandaries to any of them.  Only the naive would think that one can’t learn something every day, from anyone.  Keep your eyes open, because you just may be surprised who the great idea comes from.

In our complex world of regulation adherence vs “real world” application, at TSC we pride ourselves in having a firm grasp on the administrative and procedural aspects of a project (working with various agencies and regulatory entities, and “working to code”), as well as having the experience to evaluate the actual labor and physical tasks that must be performed to complete the project, i.e., will that crane fit on the site and have the room to function safely and effectively?  How do we effectively get that enormous sterile processing equipment into the basement of the new hospital?  When that million dollar MRI device is installed into a partially completed hospital, how do we ensure that the device is properly protected from damage and only authorized and trained individuals are in proximity to the device for the duration of the project?  In the truest sense of the word, you need a team. 

Teamwork, to be effective, Blends Complimentary Strengths.  The practical, the methodical, the organized, the conceptual, the problem solving/analytical, the creative.

Teamwork Builds Trust.  With the stakes being so high, and the level of quality needing to be of the utmost importance, it is very important that we all support each other and are dependable. 

Everyone must take a break at some time and take a vacation; everyone has a finite amount of work they can perform.  There will come a time when, even if you struggle with it and are apprehensive, you MUST ask for support from a member of the team and hand off some of your responsibilities.  We should be working to develop trust in one another and making ourselves dependable and accountable to each other. 

Frequently we don’t work on the same project but for a moment, weave in and out of each other’s tasks when needed.  Feeling a sense of safety and confidence in your team members is what ensures cohesion and effectiveness.  Simply, this makes for a much better working environment. Also, the customer notices when they are dealing with a true team, or a fragmented group of individuals.

If you put a group of people together, ANY group of people, for a length of time, conflict of some form will most likely occur.  Typically, when a “fire needs to be put out” or something goes wrong and needs a resolution, stress can lead to reduced patience and perhaps even outbursts or agitation.  This is natural, and though everyone should strive to act with the utmost of professionalism, it is practically unavoidable and “it is just a matter of time”. 

Being part of a team Teaches Conflict Resolution Skills;

though you may annoy me now, that doesn’t mean that we won’t be fine in what will mostly likely be just a few minutes. I will still want you “in that foxhole with me” because I have trust and confidence in you.

Since grade school, we have been encouraged to do projects as a team (I’m still mad at Eric Altamirano because it was him who messed up our 4th Grade “volcano” science experiment.

 I won’t go into details but, seriously, how hard is it to remember that its baking soda, NOT BAKING POWDER?! As we have meandered through this thing called life, we have all experienced that we tend to take more pride and exert more effort when we are part of a team with others relying on us. The team dynamic promotes a Wider Sense of Ownership.  A Wider Sense of Ownership translates to more pride and a heightening of quality and effort.

I once made a decent log bed for me and my wife, but a few months later I made an AMAZING log bed for my sister and brother-in-law. Why?

Well, I knew that I just couldn’t just “mail it in” because only I would see it, I had to step up my game because it was for others.

Same reaction when you are part of a team.  Our success depends on us and we all “own” part of the project.

“Team” is an integral part of the TSC philosophy.  Performing like a team “in-house” and integrating into the culture of our clients to be a part of their team –  this is one of our cornerstone concepts.

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