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Conflict Resolution with Architects & Engineers - Part One

Situation:

CEO of a Property and Construction company asked me about a conflict situation. The working relationships between his architects and engineers was difficult. Conflicts arose when architects and engineers worked together on large building projects. This was eroding not only relationships between disciplines but also with the client. Profitability on the project was at risk.


Approach:

A discussion between both Head of Design and Engineering revealed the following intervention. Firstly, I observed how each discipline worked and delivered projects. Secondly, I ran a series of individual interviews to establish the areas of conflict. Finally, I ran a day-long group session to help their conflict situation. We focused on the areas of specific conflict. Staff found a way to accept different perspectives and assumptions. The group reflections throughout the day, led to a new way of working. Better understanding of attitudes and behaviour occurred. As well as potential areas for development. A follow up Design meeting consolidated this learning. Both the architects and engineers improved their relationships. Improvement occurred through a combination of executive coaching with understanding team effectiveness. I outlined a roadmap for other disciplines to improve their conflict and relationship.


Impact:

The client's feedback was very positive. There was greater engagement from all disciplines. The work provided:

  • A structure and approach that allowed much greater openness around key conflict issues. It gave a new framework to deal with conflict in a new way that hadn't existed. It enabled an increase in the profitability on this building project.

  • A constructive shift to interdisciplinary instead of multidisciplinary working. Each discipline selected specific executives to the interdisciplinary leaders group within the business.

  • A basis for making key structural changes to improve shared discipline thinking. A new set of procedures and processes to resolve future potential conflict.

  • Improved communication between disciplines and other sections of the company.

  • A new way of working together for staff.


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