On course for better collaborative working

  • Conducting interactive team activities whilst Sailing 40ft yacht is part of training
  • Focus on how human interaction affects our business
  • Course includes mentoring and coaching skills

A sailing challenge to navigate a 40ft yacht is a key part of a new training programme for Laing O’Rourke’s construction managers.

At the heart of the course, launched just over a year ago, is the goal of helping our construction managers develop their communications skills through a series of business related challenges and tasks and to better understand the impact of their interaction with those around them.

However, as programme leader Dave Meacock says: “It’s not just about on-site construction managers. The course focus is human interaction and how that affects how we win bids, then design and deliver what we do across all business units. We’ve had planners and manufacturers from Explore Industrial Park (EIP) on the programme, and people of all ages – the diversity they bring is immensely important in the learning process and for fostering company-wide understanding.”

Building relationships important to working collaboratively

He continues: “How we interact and build relationships, whether it be with sub-contractors or within the internal hierarchical structure, is immensely important to working collaboratively as one team.”

The programme includes psychometric testing to help identify strengths,  conflicts and potential areas of development, in people, process or analytics. There is also a guided tour of EIP to better understand the intricacies of our off site manufacturing capability “That’s quite a penny-drop moment for some of them and it helps create a better understanding of what the team does there, and how they can work together to deliver their projects” says Dave.

Back in the classroom, another module includes coaching and mentoring. Says Dave: “We have people with vast experience and passing that on, giving Laing O’Rourke strength in depth, is paramount.” Actual mentoring of a Laing O’Rourke colleague over a period of months completes the training, which is accredited by the Institute of Leadership & Management.

Yacht challenge is opportunity to put theory into practice

Dave believes the yacht challenge, which lasts a day and a half, is an opportunity to put theory into practice and for the delegates to question how they manage people, processes and most importantly themselves. “Of course there are qualified sailing people on board but once our people have had the relevant training and their confidence builds, the skipper and his mate will sit back within arms reach of everything and our people steer the yacht, control the sails and prepare food in the galley.”

All activities on board are linked to Laing O’Rourke’s values, fostering safety, quality, getting things done on time, planning and working as a team.

Massimiliano Crea, a project engineer who has now completed most of the training, says: “The programme really got us to think about our management style and how that affects our day-to-day management of a construction site.

“Construction mangers are the heartbeat of projects and have to liaise with so many different people. Being able to understand how a positive, inclusive and encouraging attitude can influence the performance of others part of the business is crucial to delivering on projects.”