Creating a Culture of Collaboration - Lakewood Construction

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 and we would love the opportunity learn more about your company’s goals!