EZG Manufacturing
Federated Insurance
Fraco USA, Inc.
Hohmann and Barnard, Inc.
Husqvarna Construction Products N.A.
Hydro Mobile, Inc.
iQ Power Tools
Kennison Forest Products, Inc.
Mortar Net Solutions
Non-Stop Scaffolding
Southwest Scaffolding
Tradesmen's Software, Inc.
January 19, 2012 7:00 AM CST

Ya gotta have ‘Team’

Full contact project management


“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.”  – Michael Jordan

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” – Michael Jordan
Plenty of rah rah stuff going on these days. As this column goes together, early-December is upon us. Lots of college football fans are getting excited about bowl games, even in San Diego. Unfortunately, our pro team out here seems to have run out of energy – might have gotten itself dis-Charged. Those boys aren’t going anywhere in the playoffs, so we will content ourselves with watching your teams do what ours was supposed to do. Teams can be so disappointing.

But teamwork, itself? That’s another matter altogether. Where is your team going in the new ‘season’ of 2012? Who’s on your team? Are you even on a team? Well, take a lesson from the geese, and see if a team might be in your future.

Ever wonder why geese fly in those “V” formations? As geese flap their wings, they create uplift for the birds following. And, by flying together in that formation, the flock’s flying range is said to be 71 percent greater than what a single bird could achieve flying alone. We also know this as “synergy,” which basically means that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. When we join with others in a team, promoting our industry and agendas, we share a common direction. We become a part of something bigger than ourselves, and bigger than our own companies: synergy.

Your team

In terms of the makeup of your team, for now, look beyond your employees as the players, and yourself as the quarterback. Look passed your coaches and the team owner. I want you to focus on the league commissioner, and how important he is to the success of your team. Commissioner? In your case, the commissioner is our very own MCAA. So easy, you almost missed it!

We may find ourselves in the biggest economic mess any of us have ever experienced. It’s a horrible thought to contemplate what life would be like for a mason contractor without having our commissioner, the MCAA, to run interference for us. You think working with governments and bureaucracies is tough? Just try it without having trade organizations and associations.

As you begin to set goals for 2012, among them might be for you to become more involved in your local associations and chapters. Everyone has heard the saying, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” Well, in these times, you need to do more than just squeak. Maybe you need to yell. Possibly make some phone calls. Write some letters.

Construction companies are so, incredibly important to the fabric of this country, and to its economic survival. Let’s stop taking ourselves for granted; better, let’s stop taking our situations for granted. There are things you and your employees should be doing. Take your lead from the MCAA, and be a “local lobbyist” for your company, industry and country. Where warranted, insist that local politicians pull their heads out of …the sand, and be more efficient with their budgets. Insist that they stop throwing money at stupid projects and invest, instead, in worthwhile infrastructure – things that will actually build local economies.

I’d like to give you a success story from here in California, but, unfortunately, we have the poster child of all stupid public works projects: the Bullet Train, also known as a high speed rail. We actually voted (on purpose!) for this. Shame on us. But, after just a couple of years’ planning, we now expect project costs to triple (we are now pushing $100 billion) and construction time to double (20 years?). Oh, the best part: The train goes from the town of Nowhere and runs all the way to the village of Obscurity. And, ridership and revenue projections will never be met, meaning that the darn thing will have to be subsidized – forever. Kinda like Amtrak, but, I digress.

Seems to me that, in a state that has no money – and no immediate prospects of any – $100 billion might be better spent on deteriorating highways, hospitals and schools. Those kinds of projects could begin reasonably soon. And, hey, we can build those!

Maybe somebody should say something about this, or about your state’s version of its own Bullet Train, because every state has some kind of cockamamie thing like this going on. Bet you can name one right now, can’t you? Unfortunately for our country and our industry, we all can name more than one. I’m treading closely to things political, and I don’t mean to do that. But, love it or hate it, our industry often is tied to politics, and what those rascals are doing with our money.

Are you really planning on “flying” through 2012 all on your own? Doesn’t it make more sense to travel in a formation, be a part of a group that might give you a 71% longer range? Statistically, flying solo increases your chances of failure. I love what Coach Dean Smith said to Michael Jordan in his freshman year at UNC: “Michael, if you can't pass, you can't play.”

Face it: In 2012, just as it’s always been, teamwork still is critical. You need to be a team player, if you want to continue playing competitively in your industry. You can’t score all by yourself against all of your competition. Besides, your teammates give you additional “lift,” and who doesn’t need that these days? Synergy. Pass the ball, Michael!

About the Author

Gary Micheloni is a working project manager, speaker, author, consultant and coach. He has severals years of industry experience, including a background as a licensed general engineering contractor. For further information and insight on the Full Contact Project Management approach, write Coach Gary at


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