Construction Management: It’s About the Relationships

June 23, 2015

We need each other to get the job done

Jim Goodwin, Vice President & Regional Manager, KBD Group USAGrowing up, my dad was the master of patience and respect even though my family tested him daily. He was a man who never mistreated others or fought back because he was mistreated. He lived by a simple code – no one deserved retribution or rough treatment.

He also treated everyone with the same kindness, respect and patience whether they were really difficult or a close friend. His character always stuck with me and became a part of my character.

I see the value of this skill in our industry today. Every client, subcontractor and co-worker deserves our patience and respect, even the most difficult ones. Construction is a people industry. Yes, we live in a technology-driven word, but it is the people who build projects, not just computers, equipment or technology. People matter. As vice president and regional manager at Kajima Building & Design Group, I advise my team to get to know their fellow teammate because they will need that person one day soon. After more than 20 years in the industry, I am convinced our industry and personal success are tied to everyone else in the world.

Now, I did not come to this realization overnight. About 10 years ago, KBD Group was working with a new joint venture partner in a different field than we were used to. We had our way of doing things, but our partner had a completely different style. When it came to dealing with subcontractors, our partner relied more on their long-standing relationships. A simple handshake here, a hearty laugh there and an understanding of how everyone worked together, created a level of comfort that could only be found when we looked beyond spreadsheets.

Taking things a little closer to home, on a recent project in the Southeast, there was an engineering discrepancy that would have cost our client dearly. Because of the trust built between KBD Group and our electric engineering subcontractor, we were able to work together to solve the problem while keeping the project on budget and on time.

Keep Calm and Respect OthersThese examples are reminders of both how business used to get done via relationships and how business is still very dependent upon relationships today. We need each other to get the job done. There is no way around it. That’s why respect and patience are crucial to our operations, even when it is not called for or expected.

Taking the time to get to know someone can pay off in the future. After a project is complete, KBD Group goes the extra mile to maintain relationships with our clients and subcontractors. Our efforts do not go unnoticed. We live in an environment where everyone is watching – not just our competitors, but our clients, subcontractors and the whole industry. They are watching to see if clients can trust us with their business. They want to see if we actually care about everyone. Simply put, it is the Golden Rule that says, “Do to others what you would have them do to you.” By being patient and respectful to others, we in turn are treated that way. This can lead to new business opportunities, new relationships or something else that can help KBD Group, our clients and the industry as a whole.

– Jim Goodwin, Vice President & Regional Manager, KBD Group USA