Partners or just fellow travelers?

Is a shared hope that the wind blows the right way enough to go on....

Is a shared hope that the wind blows the right way enough to go on....

If we all set off at the same time in different vehicles, to go to the same place, are we Partners?

Projects require many people, in many teams, working in smaller sub-teams, to coordinate their activities and efforts across space and time to achieve a single outcome. 

Reading this sentence, one would be lead to believe that these people are "Partnering", in Partner Land, to achieve that single outcome. But back here in reality we know that's just not true. Politics inside teams, variations and disputes between teams, and the often total lack of over arching vision or guidance from appointed leaders all come together to create that awesome place we call Project Land.

So if we aren't Partners, can we successfully collaborate to deliver projects as non-partners? After all, you don't have to like a person to work with them. We have all worked on horrible jobs where everyone fought with everyone else. The project still got done, people still got paid (maybe not the companies involved but most people don't care about their company) and everyone went their separate ways. So what's the big deal? Why should we change what we've always done?

News flash: the Australian mining industry is burning down.

On many projects, Project Land is the norm and about as far from reality as Partner Land. If it's the norm, how is it far from reality? Simply put, many people must work together to achieve a single outcome. That is reality. Whether you choose to work as Partners or strangers or adversaries is up to you. The project usually still gets done. People still get paid. But in case you hadn't noticed, a lot less projects are getting funded these days. A lot less people in this country are getting paid to do the work we once did.

Australian Mining projects are ridiculously expensive.

Banks are sick of giving money to clients who then piss it up against the wall and have nothing to show for it. Clients are sick of contractors who will work hard at everything but doing the work they've been engaged for. Contractors are sick of people who sit around drinking tea all day and complaining about how hard they are working. People are sick of working with lazy, entitled slackers who wouldn't know the meaning of teamwork if it bit them on the bum.

Do something about it. yes, you.

If you are a client, make sure you create Partnerships with your contractors. You need them to deliver the work as efficiently as possible. You want them gone so you can use your shiny new operation to make money. The closer your Partnership with your contractors, the higher your chances that you've gotten what you wanted. You need a good outcome to make lots of money. You need to show the banks you can deploy capital efficiently so that you can get a good ROI so they'll back up again later. You need the contractor to do an awesome job so help him do that job.

If you are a contractor, make sure you create a Partnership with your client. They engaged you to deliver an outcome. There will be problems along the way. That's what projects are: a temporary contractual vehicle for solving problems. You need the client to have a good outcome so he pays you and so that he makes lots of money so he can engage you again later to do another project, with the support of the happy bank that is getting paid back.

If you lead a team, no matter where you sit, make sure you create Partnerships between your team and other teams. You will need those teams to get your work done. They will need you to get their work done. If you show an ounce of leadership you will go far because you will be rare. Don't feel bad if you aren't sure what a leader is, you may not have seen many in our industry. Google it or email us and we'll explain it to you.

If you work in a team, make sure you create Partnerships with the other people in the team. Small teams are the building block of every project. Small teams are where the real work gets done, day after day, that adds up to a project. If you're feeling really keen, form Partnerships with the people in other teams that you need to work with. Your team will be better off when you can walk into another team and have an honest discussion. Partners can communicate about the issues they jointly face because they are in it together. Facing problems as a team is better than facing them alone. Facing problems as a team of teams is even better.

Yes, every single one of you can and is contributing, right now, whether you like it or not.

Not doing your job is screwing the person next to you. Sitting there quietly while the project burns down is screwing the person next to you. Refusing to help someone who filled in a form wrong is screwing the person who filled it in and screwing the people who need the data or tools that the form is meant to release. Partners don't screw each other over. Contractors and clients do screw each other all the time, because they have chosen not to be Partners. But if you're sitting there reading this, and you aren't a CEO, then you aren't a contractor or a client. You're a person who has the power to choose whether you want to be Partners with the people you're traveling with. You are responsible for your own actions and the way you behave. Projects require many people, in many teams, working in smaller sub-teams, to coordinate their activities and efforts across space and time to achieve a single outcome. So Partner up and let's do this thing, because getting good outcomes is what we're all here for.