The Association for the Capital Projects Engineering & Construction Community.

Intentional Team Work Makes the Dream Work

June 27, 2013

By Laurie Giner, ECC Future Leader

“Teamwork makes the dream work” ~John Maxwell

Last week, I returned home from the most important team leadership experience of my life so far. I was able to tour an iconic building with a Project Manager that clearly has “intentionality” wrapped around his little finger. His intentionality affected those around him literally, in a visual and tangible sense. This was incredibly obvious as I spent time with him and his colleagues on this job site.

I talk to a lot of successful people who work daily in teams, and for years on end. The one thing I hear consistently when I ask about how they achieve good team work is, they show up intentionally. No one gets to the top of the summit and says, Oh, WOW- I am here, how about this! How did I get here? It is not like a lottery ticket. You are a good team member because you are intentional in the process. You want to be on the project. You want to work with others who want to be on the project.

As I’ve reflected on the teams that I have been working with lately, and after spending time with this ‘intentional’ project manager, observing him as he was surrounded by positively-aligned project professionals of all types, I’ve come to the following conclusions…

  • A good team is the result of careful planning and preparation. Planning and preparation will not guarantee a good team, but without it, a good team is unlikely to develop or last.
  • A good team has chemistry, people don’t just love the work they do, they love the people they’ve been called to do the work with. If people don’t enjoy one another the team will be dysfunctional.
  • A good team lightens the load for everyone in the room because problems do not belong to “me” but rather they belong to “we!”
  • A good team has an open environment where truth can be spoken with ease and people enjoy the team and one another too much to allow anyone to make a ridiculous decision.
  • A good team will embrace uncomfortable conversations and will not drift toward making everyone in the room happy but rather making the right decision.
  • A good team will refuse to allow personal preferences to dictate decisions.
  • A good team will bring in people from outside the norm when trying to make a decision that directly impacts a particular area, understanding that this does not slow down the process but actually speeds it up…people are way more likely to buy into a decision when they feel as if they’ve had input.
  • A good team will not fight to maintain status quo but rather to do everything possible to advance the cause.
  • A good team will make hard decisions, knowing that the day they do not make hard decisions, will force the team into cruise control, where the biggest desire will then become – to make sure everyone is as comfortable as possible.
  • A good team is way more obsessed with their dreams of what could be rather than their memories of what has been!

Intentionality defined: “the power of minds to be about, to represent, or to stand for, things, properties and states of affairs.” No team or team member becomes successful by accident, thus the teams and team members I realize that are most effective and most enjoyable, are those that bring intentionality.

If you take a look at what you want from yourself as a team member and within your team, and where you want to go, I encourage you to climb your mountains with an intentional bent!