Building New Cohesive Teams- Internal to Single Organization
In the design and construction industry, people are assigned to project teams long before they even know they are being considered for a project. 
The champions for business development and staffing have the enormous responsibility of looking at a project opportunity and designing the perfect team for the project.
Starting with a shortlist of candidates with experience in the specific market sector, then comparing the project components to the candidate's relevant experience, then looking at the timeline needed for availability. All while considering how well aligned the different personalities will perform together. 
Things can move quickly from being named for a potential project, to having a responsibility to deliver work products for the proposal, to creating a compelling presentation to secure the opportunity. 
Essentially, a team is born as a result of a project opportunity. Some key members will participate in the development of the proposal, and some may not be aware until a pre-selection interview is scheduled. 
The day a project is awarded however, is quite a celebration.  In a relatively short period of time, the pursuit of a project converting to a win is an accomplishment everyone can be proud of.  Afterall, everyone loves to win. 
The win, however, is the moment when the work begins. As the high of the win wears off, and the reality of the long term commitment to the project marinades.
"Each person on the team goes inward.... wondering what their place will be on the project, worrying about all the unknowns about the team, feeling over utilized or under utilized, questioning how this project will influence their career path..."
And so many more thoughts. 
Instinctively, we are all wired to assess our environment to find a sense of safety. We do it in every environment. At work, at home, and everywhere in between.

This workshop has been designed with best practices from Peter Lencioni's: 5 Behaviors of a Cohesive Team, Bruce W. Tuckman: The Stages of Team Development, Lean Continuous Improvement Methodologies, and includes concepts from the study of Neuro Linguistic Programming. 
In the week leading up to the team building workshop, the following activities are required:
  • Defining Expected Outcomes:  Prior to the day of the team building workshop, Open 2 Suggestion will elicit specific information about the project and the project team members. This will include meetings with 2 or 3 key team members.
  • Workshop Prep: To effectively prepare the team for the workshop, the team will have the responsibility to complete certain assignments before the workshop. These assignments will be sent via e-mail to the team members. 
The workshop itself will essentially include educational elements, conversations, and exercises. It will be designed to follow the four stages of team development: 
  • Forming: This stage of team development is crucial and will influence the success of all other stages. In a variety of exercises, this part of the workshop will create lasting relationships with the team members. 
  • Storming: This is where boundaries live in context of roles and responsibilities. By the end of this section, the gaps and overlaps will be well defined, and an internal mentoring system integrated into the team. 
  • Norming & Performing: In this part of the workshop, the team will collaborate on defining performance goals for the team.
  • ​Transforming: Because the industry requires us to constantly evolving, this  part of the workshop will include educational opportunities to successfully transition teams. 
Building New Cohesive Teams- Across Multiple Organizations
"The profound impact of architectural influence transcends boundaries, shaping the very essence of how individuals navigate, interact, and immerse themselves in their surroundings—an influence beyond measure. "
As we briskly move from one place to another, it is often taken for granted the enormous effort it took create the spaces we move through every day. 
Our environment, whether it be outdoors or indoors, is often a product of professionals in the design and construction industry. From the ground you are standing on to every structure in your peripheral view was a result of these talented professionals. 
Every single element you see represents a distinct project, each with its unique tale of costs, timelines, and experiences. Behind the scenes, obscured from view, lies the extensive team effort that brought these structures and spaces to life. 
It is incredibly important to invest in building and aligning a cohesive project team that will collectively perform at its full potential for the longevity of the project. 
"A collective effort leads to a collective success"
Just as a solid foundation is the key to a robust construction project, our well-designed team building workshop serves as the cornerstone for building a strong and cohesive team. Both require meticulous planning, attention to detail, and a commitment to laying the groundwork for success.
This workshop was designed with the design and construction industry in mind, and includes the alignment of the core members of the project team, including representatives from the owner, the design firms, the construction management company, and potentially key subcontractors. 
This workshop has been designed with best practices from Peter Lencioni's: 5 Behaviors of a Cohesive Team, Bruce W. Tuckman: The Stages of Team Development, Lean Continuous Improvement Methodologies, and includes concepts from the study of Neuro Linguistic Programming. 
When you engage Open 2 Suggestion as your provider for building your project teams, the process will require the following preliminary steps:
  • Project Information: Every project is unique. This information is elicited before the workshop to gain a general understanding of the current status of the project, the common goal for the team, and the perceived organizational structure for the project. Essentially, the what, when, where, and with who.
  • Core Team Information: With a representative from each company participating in the workshop, a brief 30 minute discussion is conducted to gather various viewpoints or goals for the project, confirm commitment to fully participate, and agree on the workshop attendees.
  • Workshop Prep: To effectively prepare the team for the workshop, the team will have the responsibility to complete certain assignments before the workshop. These assignments will be sent via e-mail to the team members. 

The workshop itself will essentially include educational elements, conversations, and exercises. It will be designed to follow the four stages of team development: 
  • Forming: This stage of team development is crucial and will influence the success of all other stages. In a variety of exercises, this part of the workshop will integrate the team through shared past experiences, create a mentorship program within the team, and allow the team to integrate their personalities to define the overall culture desired for the project. 
  • Storming: This is where boundaries live in context of roles and responsibilities and the organizational structure for the project. By the end of this part, roles and responsibilities are well defined, the internal resources are clearly understood, and the external resources needed are identified and agreed upon. 
  • Norming & Performing: Our Setting & Meeting Client Expectations workshop is incorporated into this part of the workshop as it is crucial for the team to be aligned on the goals for the project. 
  • ​Transforming:  Because project teams are extremely dynamic from the conception of the project to the go-live with occupancy and use of the space, it is important to set parameters for how the team will handle the transforming of the team over the course of the project. 
Integrating Existing Teams - Internal to Single Organization
Many teams have not had the opportunity to start a project off with a team building workshop. This workshop is designed to align an existing team through a series of exercises.
The structure of this workshop is modified to recognize the existing conditions of the team (the past), integrate those conditions into a collaborative and well defined goal for the team (The present), and set the course for team to work together to meet these goals. (The future).
In the week leading up to the team building workshop, the following activities are required:
  • Defining Expected Outcomes:  Prior to the day of the team building workshop, Open 2 Suggestion will elicit specific information about the project and the project team members. This will include meetings with 2 or 3 key team members.
  • Workshop Prep: To effectively prepare the team for the workshop, the team will have the responsibility to complete certain assignments before the workshop. These assignments will be sent via e-mail to the team members. 

The workshop itself will essentially include educational elements, conversations, and exercises. It will be designed to follow the four stages of team development: 
  • Transforming: Because the intent of this workshop is to align the team, we will start with exercises to identify best practices, opportunities of improvements, and unresourceful patterns. This will open the team up for transforming.
  • Re-Forming: This part of the workshop will focus on strengthening existing relationships to last, open team up for respecting other peoples model of the world, and create more meaningful and interesting conversations within the team. 
  • ​Storming: This is where boundaries live in context of roles and responsibilities. By the end of this section, the gaps and overlaps will be well defined, and an internal mentoring system integrated into the team, and any internal conflicts resolved through integration. 
  • Norming & Performing: In this part of the workshop, the team will collaborate on re-defining performance goals for the team and the project. These goals will include implementation of more resourceful strategies including an inclusive culture to role out for the remainder of the project. 
Integrating Existing Teams - Across Multiple Organizations
"Success isn't about catching the perfect moment in a project; it's the foresight to understand when the time is right to seek assistance and fortify your team's foundation"
Some will say the time to do a team building workshop for a project team is at the very beginning of project.  And yes, there is an enormous value to implementing this as part of the project kick off. But, the belief that the window for aligning a team closes after the the project starts is a limiting belief.  
What is important here is to recognize when a team is misaligned or experiencing internal conflict, The way this workshop is structured will inherently expose the cracks in the foundation giving us the opportunity to integrate and resolve the issues easily and effortlessly.  All exercises are designed to lead the team toward cohesiveness. 
This workshop has been designed with best practices from Peter Lencioni's: 5 Behaviors of a Cohesive Team, Bruce W. Tuckman: The Stages of Team Development, Lean Continuous Improvement Methodologies, and includes concepts from the study of Neuro Linguistic Programming. 
When you engage Open 2 Suggestion as your provider for aligning your existing project teams, the process will require the following preliminary steps:
  • Project Information: Every project is unique. This information is elicited before the workshop to gain a general understanding of the current status of the project, the common goal for the team, and the perceived organizational structure for the project. Essentially, the what, when, where, and with who.
  • Core Team Information: With a representative from each company participating in the workshop, a brief 30 minute discussion is conducted to gather various viewpoints or goals for the project, confirm commitment to fully participate, and agree on the workshop attendees.
  • Workshop Prep: To effectively prepare the team for the workshop, the team will have the responsibility to complete certain assignments before the workshop. These assignments will be sent via e-mail to the team members. 

The workshop itself will essentially include educational elements, conversations, and exercises. It will be designed to follow the four stages of team development. However, since the team has already been developed, we will focus on re-development by starting with the transforming stage: 
  • ​Transforming: Because the intent of this workshop is to align the team, we will start with exercises to identify best practices, opportunities of improvements, and unresourceful patterns. This will open the team up for transforming.
  • Re-Forming: This part of the workshop will focus on strengthening existing relationships to last, open team up for respecting other peoples model of the world, and create more meaningful and interesting conversations within the team. In a variety of exercises, this part of the workshop will integrate the team through shared past experiences, create a mentorship program within the team, and allow the team to integrate their personalities to define the overall culture desired for the remainder of project. 
  • ​Storming: This is where boundaries live in context of roles and responsibilities and the organizational structure for the project. By the end of this part, roles and responsibilities are well defined, the internal resources are clearly understood, and the external resources needed are identified and agreed upon. 
  • Norming & Performing: As part of this process, we will check in with teams progress on previously defined project goals. With elicitation of the clients' expectations, the team will collaborate to add more definition to the project goals. 
Setting & Meeting Client Expectations
The moment a project is conceived, it has a purpose, of which the Owner will uniquely qualify and engage a team of design and construction professionals to deliver their vision. As creativity flows, the conceived idea for the final product will evolve. 

"My favorite part of the design and construction industry is that no two projects are alike."

It is this picture of the final end product that drives the owner through the elaborate process of design and construction. 
It is important to elicit this picture. Because when someone has created a picture in their mind, and that day comes and the picture is different, then, in their mind, you did not meet their expectations. 

You can only manage the expectations you know about...

By eliciting the picture of the owner or the end user, there is an enormous value in aligning the entire team to have the same picture.  Or, in some cases, the opportunity to adjust and refine the picture. 

The same is true for the eliciting and defining the expectations around the overall experience the team will have from design and construction to the day go-live operations commence.  
In this workshop, the project team will be walked through a detailed process to collaboratively: 
  • Define Hierarchy of Values for the Project: Every project has its own set of priorities and objectives. Defining what is important to the client for the project will become the guiding principles for the team to align their proposals, and recommendations consistently during the project. 
  • Elicit and​ create well formed expected outcomes: This team exercise will elicit that compelling picture from all stakeholders on the core team, creating discussion and alignment around the reality and possibilities for different stages of the project, including interim milestones, substantial completion, and project completion.
  • ​Create a Check-In Process: With priorities and expectations defined, it will be important for the team to commit to a routine health check along the way. This exercise will create a tool used to measure progress, check for alignment, and consider opportunities for continuous improvement.
  • Define Evidence Procedure: Creating well defined expectations is great, but we often are so busy working on perfecting the goal that it is hard to recognize when we've met the goal. How do you know when a team has achieved the goal. What will that look like, feel like, and or sound like. 
Pull Planning for Master & Milestone Scheduling
When mastering the skill of scheduling in the design and construction industry, there is the essential need to be able to consistently move from big picture thinking to detailed thinking. The challenge is that this is a rare attribute to have, as most people tend to be either a big picture thinker or a detailed thinker. 
In fact, in the community of NLP Practitioners, the ability to chunk up and chunk down effortlessly is referred to as the "genius pattern." 
In the design and construction industry, the ever changing dynamics of design evolution, supply chain lead times, constructability issues, scope clarifications, workforce availability, quality control issues, weather, and pandemics are just some of the things that challenge a plan.  
Add to this long list, the number of people and organizations needed to execute a plan, and it starts to make sense just how challenging it is to develp a plan and keep it on track. 
When you consider all of the potential factors, it is understandable why having team buy-in, on the plan, is so critical. Getting the buy-in, on the other hand, requires a thoughtful approach.  
Pull planning creates an environment where every person on the project team has the opportunity to define their prerequisites while also making commitments to their peers. Ultimately leading to a well defined schedule that the team can buy in on the plan.

"The best part of a pull plan session is that it satisfies both personality types. They can see the big picture and the details."
More importantly, they can see how the details inform the big picture, and how the big picture informs the details. Essentially giving their contribution a purpose that serves a greater whole, and ultimately results in team alignment on a plan for a common goal.  
There are many opinions on what defines a successful pull planning session. To summarize, here are the 6 core elements Open 2 Suggestion focuses on. 
  • Expected Outcome: Just like the concept of pull planning where you start with the end in mind, it is important to define exactly what information, work product, the project team would like as a result of the pull planning session.
  • Plan for the Plan: Too often a pull plan is scheduled, put on a calendar, and no clear instructions are given to the attendees. Defining the pre-pull plan assignments is essential for an efficient pull plan session. 
  • Logistics: In addition to the where and when, it is important to choose the how. There are several software programs available to create and/or memorialize the results of a pull plan which will allow for updating long after the original pull planning session.  Once a module is chosen, allowing time for educating the team players is another consideration. This will inform the supplies needed for the session. 
  • Well Defined Roles: In addition to having well defined scopes for the subcontractors, it is also important to give team members a defined role. 
  • Asking the Right Questions: Because schedules involve many factors, many attendees steer clear of making promises on durations.  When you learn what questions to ask and how to ask the questions, the information received is incredibly valuable. This is where the magic of pull plans lives... in the conversations that occur. 
  • ​Plan for Next Steps: People love closure. If the team chooses to put something in the "parking lot," get the activity to re-visit ON the pull plan itself. Assign a champion to bring this to closure.
The facilitation of this workshop includes:
  • Project Information Elicitation: This brief interview will gather project specific information associated with the expected outcome. 
  • ​Prior Experience: The intent here is to understand where a team exists in their experience with pull planning sessions. If they have experience, it will be important to understand what they learned in their past. This will inform the extent of coaching or training that would benefit the successful completion of the pull plan. 
  • Pre-Workshop Coaching: This is a 1:1 Coaching session with the project lead who will be responsible for the overall management of the pull planning session. The coaching will assist them with preparing for each of the 6 Elements of Success defined above.
  • Pre-Workshop Training: This class focuses on training the organization responsible for leading the pull planning session on what questions to ask, how to ask them, what to listen for, and how to get the commitment. This will include training on instant rapport, and relevant communication strategies
  • Workshop: With group dynamics at play, Open 2 Suggestion will present the operational agreement framework for the participation and successful completion of the pull plan session. During the workshop, Open 2 Suggestion will work with each team member in a supportive role, respecting and enforcing them to successfully lead their group through the process. 
  • Post Workshop Reflection & Planning: This is a facilitated discussion on the lessons learned from the pull planning session, as well as check in on the plan for next steps.
​Gathering Lessons Learned
It is a natural instinct to reflect on experiences in life and to learn from each of those moments. It may be a positive experience we want to bring from our past into our present day, or it may be a negative experience we want to improve on in our future. 
The contemplation of these two dichotomies is essential for continuously improving ourselves as individuals in our careers and our personal lives. 
When it comes to teams working together on a common goal, there is an incredible value added when the core team participates and contributes their learnings with a common interests to continuously improve. 
In the design and construction industry, every project has a unique set of conditions and opportunities to learn. And because each team member has different roles and responsibility on the project, their learnings provide a more robust perspective. 
Making time to gather the lessons learned from the collective team is fundamental to assessing:
  • What is working: The existing elements representing best practices to keep. 
  • ​What is not working: The existing elements representing those that do not add value, and should be stopped, removed, or replaced. 
  • ​Where there are opportunities to improve: The existing elements which are promising and offer potential for improvement. 
  • ​What other ideas should be explored: Allow the team to think outside the box on elements to add. 
In an industry where repeat clients and customers is a testament to their level of trust with the design and construction team....
"Just imagine how inspired your clients will be to know you took the time to gather lessons learned, identify opportunities to improve, so that their next project will be even better!"
In preparation for this workshop, Open 2 Suggestion will:
  • Project Information Interview:  This information is elicited before the workshop to gain a general understanding of the current status of the project, list of attendees and their roles, logistics for the workshop, and any other relevant information about the team. 
  • Workshop Prep: Based on the information collected during the project information interview, Open 2 Suggestion will issue pre-workshop assignments to the team. 
In this workshop, attendees can expect to have an engaging experience with their team as every member will have an opportunity to contribute. 
  • Operating Agreement:  By pre-framing the expectations of this workshop, everyone is invited to contribute thoughts and opinions uncritically for discussion and consideration. 
  • Small Group Exercises:  Throughout the workshop, the team will have opportunities to break off into small groups to discuss the feedback received. 
  • New Initiative Champion Assignments: For items requiring next steps, the opportunity to volunteer to champion a new initiatives, and oversee the steps required to bring the initiative to fruition.
  • Plan of Action: Team agreement on how the information gathered will be shared with peers in the organization or the industry, including a well defined outcome for publishing the results. 
Just imagine how amazing each individual on the team will feel when they have been empowered to contribute vital learnings for the future benefit of their peers in the industry! 
​Conflict Resolution through Integration
Projects and their teams are consistently transforming leaving the team open to potential conflicts along the way. If left unresolved, such Internal conflict can significantly impact the performance of a team in various ways, including:
  • Reduced Collaboration: Internal conflicts often lead to a breakdown in communication and collaboration among team members. This can hinder the flow of ideas, information sharing, and joint problem-solving, ultimately affecting the team's ability to work together efficiently
  • Decreased Morale: Ongoing conflicts can create a negative work environment, leading to low morale among team members. When individuals are not motivated or engaged due to internal tensions, their overall performance and productivity may suffer.
  • Increased Stress: Conflict within a team can elevate stress levels among team members. The emotional toll of unresolved issues can result in anxiety and tension, making it challenging for individuals to focus on their tasks and contribute effectively to the team's goals.
  • ​Distrust and Disengagement: Internal conflicts can breed a sense of distrust among team members. When individuals feel they cannot rely on their colleagues or fear being undermined, they may disengage from team activities, leading to a lack of commitment and enthusiasm.
  • Impact on Decision-Making: Conflicted teams often struggle to make decisions collectively. Disagreements and tensions can hinder the decision-making process, causing delays or resulting in suboptimal choices that do not serve the team's best interests.
  • ​Increased Turnover: Prolonged internal conflicts can lead to job dissatisfaction and a desire to leave the team or organization. High turnover rates can disrupt team dynamics, requiring the recruitment and onboarding of new members, which further affects overall performance
  • Diminished Creativity and Innovation: Internal conflicts can stifle creativity and innovation within a team. When team members are preoccupied with conflicts, they may be less likely to contribute new ideas or explore unconventional solutions, limiting the team's ability to adapt and innovate.
  • Poor Communication: Conflicts can result in breakdowns in communication channels. Team members may avoid sharing information or providing feedback, leading to misunderstandings and a lack of clarity about roles, responsibilities, and project goals​
  • ​Compromised Goal Alignment: Internal conflicts can create divergent interests among team members, leading to a lack of alignment with the team's overall goals. This misalignment can hinder progress and impede the team's ability to achieve its objectives.
  • ​Negative Impact on Team Culture: Pervasive internal conflicts can erode the positive aspects of team culture. A toxic work environment can develop, making it challenging to attract and retain top talent and ultimately affecting the team's overall performance and success.
Resolving conflicts as efficiently as possible is important to maintain working relationships and keeping teams focused.  
In most cases, both parties have a common goal, they are just coming at it with a different perspective and approach.  
By applying concepts from the study of Neuro-linguistic programming, Stacey Rivera will facilitate a technique designed to integrate two opposing thoughts or opinions through an interactive exchange of information. 
As your facilitator and integration coach, the preparation for this in-person workshop will include the following activities:
  • Prerequisites: The criteria for this workshop includes a commitment from each party to have a person with authority to agree to terms of agreement present or reasonably available, and be committed to reach an agreement. 
  • ​Gather Information: The opportunity to gather relevant information from both parties will be conducted through independent interviews. 
  • ​Pre-Workshop Assignment: Both parties will receive an assignment to be completed before the in-person conflict resolution workshop is held.
The integration process quickly brings insight for both parties to learn from each other, and collectively agree on common strategies to overcome the conflicting issue. 
The two parties can enjoy a new positive and professional relationship with a deep respect for individuality and alignment.
The workshop itself will include the following elements:
  • Operational Agreement: This will include the commitment to respect each other's position during the workshop, as well as other rules of engagement. Additional pre-frames for the workshop will also be provided at this time. 
  • ​Current State:  It is important to take stock on the degree of agreement at the commencement of the workshop.
  • Evidence Procedure: This looks to each party to define what their evidence procedure is. It is how you will you know when you have successfully achieved agreement and integration.  
  • ​Presentation of Positions: Each party will have the opportunity to present their part.
  • ​Integration Process: The integration process is performed through a series of questions facilitated by Stacey Rivera and will involve both parties to participate at selective moments. When both parties are fully participating, this path to agreement can occur quite fast. 
  • ​Check In: To ensure full agreement is achieved, we will check in on the degree of agreement. If there is any residual disagreements present, the integration process will continue.
  • Lock it in: Formalize the agreement. 

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