Full Contact Project Management
The Olympics of Construction Project Management
Last month, The Olympics might just be ending. How did your team do? Which team was that? I ask because, 30 years ago this month, there was only ONE team that anyone was talking about here in the U.S. And that team was the U.S. hockey team. Remember? Let me help.
Maybe you saw the game live on TV, or in person. (The movie “Miracle on Ice” came out in 2004, starring Kurt Russell as Coach Herb Brooks.) The 1980 Olympics were held in Lake Placid, N.Y. Maybe you weren’t even alive then, or have never heard about this one, so I’ll fill in the blanks. Because these blanks are HUGE, and apply directly to your construction project management potential.
Here is how it looked, back then. The U.S. team is made up of mostly college players. They are upstarts on the international scene. The Russians, on the other hand, come into the Games having won the last four Gold Medals. But U.S. coach Herb Brooks is convinced that he can use these young players and build a winning team, because he intends to use a new strategy and training regimen. There is a great moment when Coach Brooks shouts out to his exhausted team: “Who do you play for?” Finally, Mike Eruzione has the Full Contact Team line of the movie, when he says, “I play for the United States of America!” And the drill is over.
We can’t go into the entire movie here (you really do need to get it!) so I’ll just summarize by saying that this young team did come together, played their hearts out, clawed and scraped their way into the Medal Round, and then beat the Russians (who had beaten them badly in an exhibition game a few weeks prior). As that game clock wound down to the final few seconds, with the U.S. team hanging on to a 4-3 lead, the announcer, Al Michaels, says: “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!” The U.S. hangs on to win, and then beats the Finnish team for the Gold.
There aren’t many people in construction who have not had the stuffing kicked out of them by a demanding, aggressive, over-the-top, big, powerful general contractor, construction manager or superintendent. (Not yet? Just wait a few years.) Admittedly, if you are just doing landscape contracting for homeowners, you won’t find too many of those, but there are some. So, for the sake of this discussion, I’m assuming that you aren’t dreaming about how to get 1,000 homeowner jobs, each worth $1,000, to get you your first million. Rather, you want to help your company grow, maybe get five or ten $1 million jobs each year.
Here’s the take-away from this lesson:
- Know who your team is
- Commit yourself to playing your heart out and go for the win
- Learn your position and become a leader
- Realize that leaders are readers; study their craft; and never stop reading
- Get a coach who has the skill to help you win
There is a miracle out there for you and your company, if you are big enough and committed enough, and teachable enough to go after a goal that is big enough.