Trust in the Supply Chain

In his Forbes article (the Most Valuable Business Commodity: Trust), David Williams proposed that trust within an organisation existed when 9 behaviours or actions were evident.

Six of these apply as much to a construction supply chain as to any member of that supply chain.

The behaviours are signs of an emotionally intelligent project team.

Behaviours to reinforce

  1. Be loyal. In contract terms this means keeping your word and understanding the journey to project success.
  2. Never judge. Seek first to understand. A procedure such as the NEC4 multi-party early warning procedure is a sure sign that issues will be discussed openly, resolving collaboratively and implemented without blame. [read more on failure to understand in 8 habits of defective contracts]
  3. Take issues directly to the source.  Contract administrators should be proactive as well as make it painless for the parties to raise and resolve issues as soon as they are known (not take a ‘wait-and-see’ approach).
  4. Help others. Creating them/us, master/servant or designer/client/provider silos is not a healthy approach for any project. Instead of believing everyone is out to get you, work out how you can get the best out of everyone.
  5. Recognize that problems are problems. Instead of relying on the blame game, our contracts can be tools by which we manage the relationship across and between the supply chain to encourage everyone to learn from, report and assess, mitigate and embrace failure.
  6. Serve. Start your thoughts not with “What’s in it for me?” but with “How can I serve you?” This is reinforced with collaborative contracts, alliancing or partnering; but is essential in any project, from the smallest extension to the largest windfarm.

David’s original list also included these items which are harder to contract for: laughing, saying thanks, and smiling. No contract in the world can reinforce that behaviour, although I have read ones which made me laugh cynically and others whose length and complexity furrowed my brow and made me frown.

What should you do?

Review your contract to see if it reinforces behaviours you want to encourage and removes behaviours you want to discourage.

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