June 2023 - Lakewood Construction

Creating a Stronger Community Together

Guest Post: Jodi Owczarski, Michigan West Coast Chamber of Commerce

Volunteering is an essential aspect of building stronger communities, and leaders have a significant role to play in this regard. Back in 1988, the Chamber launched the first cohort of its Leadership program. This program was designed to build an informed, committed, and diverse network of community trustees. Since that time, more than 900 of our community members have gone through the program and are prepared to serve in critical leadership roles. However, that’s not been enough. The challenge often comes in creating an ongoing awareness and connection between the needs that exist and the individuals that are willing to serve. In fact, it was this very challenge that was identified as a critical issue to be addressed by the Lakeshore Leadership Council in the fall of 2022.

As a result, the West Coast Chamber, in partnership with the Lakeshore Leadership Council, has launched a new program called West Coast Connect. This online platform is designed to remove barriers and provide visibility to both opportunities to serve and leaders who are willing to volunteer. The online directory will highlight opportunities to serve nonprofit organizations through roles on a board of directors or in high level/skilled committees. It will also include opportunities to serve in important roles at local municipalities, such as a school boards, township boards and committees, city council, county commission, as well as state
and federal legislative seats.

By participating in the program, all leaders in our community will be able to create a profile that highlights their areas of interest as well as the unique skillset that they would bring. Organizations would have the opportunity to review the leadership directory to help find individuals to fill their open needs.

The platform will also have an educational component to provide the resources needed to serve effectively. The impact of this program on the community is expected to be significant. By providing a platform for leaders to volunteer, the program will help to bridge the gap between the business community and the needs of the community at large.

West Coast Connect has the potential to create a ripple effect of positive change for years to come. When leaders volunteer and inspire others to do the same, it creates a culture of giving back and makes a lasting impact on the community. As more individuals and organizations get involved, the program can continue to grow and have an even greater impact on the area. Our community is stronger when we work together, and West Coast Connect is an excellent way to do just that!

Creating a Culture of Collaboration

By: Jim Smith

Collaboration is a buzzword that is frequently used in the construction industry, but unfortunately, it is not always a reality. In a commercial construction project, competing priorities, self-protective behaviors, and a lack of trust can lead to a lack of collaboration. The result is a stressful process that lacks trust, clarity, and safety, ultimately leading to a project that comes in late and over budget. It is essential to cultivate an environment where trust-based agreements, clear project goals, collaboration, innovation, and safety are prioritized to ensure a successful project.

At Lakewood Construction it our job to be an advocate for our clients and ensure that your project is embracing collaboration from start to finish. Here are five things we do to cultivate a culture of collaboration throughout your construction project:

  1. Seek value over low bid: When we are building a team for your construction project, it is crucial to think about what your top priorities are in each partner and ultimately your project team. Think about it similarly to hiring someone new – do you want a candidate who will accept the lowest pay, or are you looking for specific characteristics to ensure that person will be a successful fit for the role and your company? It can be easy to get caught up in solely looking for the low bid, but price can be the number one indicator of value. Some companies that charge slightly more, may be bidding that way because they genuinely do more and will go above and beyond for your project. We thoroughly investigate the reputation of potential partners and see if their values align with yours. Building a team of companies that have a proven track record of success and effective collaboration on projects is essential for a successful project.
  2. Invest in collaboration from the beginning: The start of your project sets the tone for the entire construction process. It is essential to fight the urge to silo the different components of the project and instead build one holistic project team. We bring all the players together to the table as one team when we have your project team assembled. We use this initial kickoff meeting with your project team to ensure collaboration within your project from the very beginning.
  3. Clearly define project goals from the start: One of the most important factors in setting the tone early on is ensuring that everyone is working towards the same goal. We begin with you; clearly communicateing to the project team what you are looking for from the project, and specifically what success looks like for you. By defining your goals, the tone is set for the entire project team to begin thinking like you, the owner, and to make decisions that support your project goals.
  4. Encourage open communication: Encouraging open communication is a vital aspect of cultivating a culture of collaboration. Open communication fosters trust and honesty among team members, which can lead to innovative solutions to problems. We work diligently to provide opportunities for team members to communicate their ideas and concerns openly, even when it is something that isn’t easy to hear. When project team members feel they can speak up if they have a question or concern about something, we can collaborate to overcome that challenge instead of finding out too late and over budget.
  5. Foster a culture of innovation: A culture of innovation is essential for a collaborative project. Innovative solutions to problems can lead to cost savings, improved project efficiency, and better overall results. Encouraging team members to think outside the box and try new things can lead to unexpected solutions and a more successful project.

Cultivating a culture of collaboration takes hard work and intentionality, but it is well worth it in the end. At Lakewood, by focusing on seeking value over low bid, investing in collaboration with key contributors at the beginning of the project, clearly defining project goals from the start, encouraging open communication, and fostering a culture of innovation are we have created a proven recipe of success for cultivating a culture of collaboration. These factors lead to building a dream team full of companies that have a proven track record of success and effective collaboration on projects, ultimately leading to a successful project that meets all your project goals.

The best part? You can leave all of this to us so that you can focus on running your business with the peace of mind that your project is going to be a collaborative success.

If you are thinking about a construction project, reach out to us at 616.392.6923 or hello@lakewoodinc.com and we would love the opportunity learn more about your company’s goals!