By Kyle Griffith Vice President, Project and Development Services at DTZ
I recently got married and a well-known axiom is floating around in my head these days: “Behind every great man is a great woman.” I think there is an analogous axiom in the real estate industry: “Behind every great project is a great team.” As a project management professional, one of my chief responsibilities is helping clients build and lead a great team.
Our project teams often number in the dozens and each member has their own unique role. They can involve client representatives, architects, engineers, builders, vendors, suppliers, manufacturers, technology specialists, inspectors, accountants, financiers, brokers, insurance parties, and a diverse set of end users. Some of them are creative or technical, reactive or proactive and myopic or visionary. Their personalities, backgrounds and talents differ widely. The key to success is leveraging these differences upon each other so that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
Building a high-performing team is one of my favorite parts of my job because it requires an element of strategy. Not every talented group is the right fit for every project. When done properly, team building is the art of finding just the right puzzle pieces and arranging them in the most conducive manner for success.
Bringing a real estate project to fruition is a long, complex, ever-changing process often done under a finite budget, an aggressive schedule and sometimes with competing interests. It can only be successful with a high-functioning team leading the way. We are blessed with many talented companies and professionals in DFW. Our job as team builders and team leaders is to set clear expectations and administer the team with fair, but firm accountability. As cliché as it sounds, a project team is only as strong as its weakest link. Oftentimes team leaders are called upon to supplement that weak link, fill in gaps as necessary and maintain forward momentum. Team leaders should be a blend of psychologist, motivational speaker, technician and taskmaster.
No project team succeeds without great communication. The challenge for team leaders is allowing all the unique project roles to operate simultaneously, but to also cultivate a web of communication whereby none of those roles become too isolated. Setting good team habits initially is much easier than changing bad habits later. The best team leaders I’ve witnessed in my career are those who accept responsibility, deflect credit and lead by example.
As project team members, we are fortunate in that all of this hard work and time yields a very tangible end result – a real estate project that is often pleasant to look at, highly visible and used daily by many people. They can save lives, change skylines or lead to new innovations. And an equally fulfilling byproduct of these teams is the construction of something else – new relationships. Many of my friends and acquaintances in DFW were developed “in the trenches” together on past projects. Project teams are not just an arranged marriage to tolerate; they are opportunities to deliver on something special and to have a gratifying time along the way.
And when project teams are thought of and lead in these terms, I’ve discovered they have a tendency to perform at a very high level and deliver on the promises they’ve made to their clients.
As a Vice President on the DTZ Project and Development Services Team, Kyle Griffith provides comprehensive development and project management services for owners and tenants. Kyle has over seven years of construction management and project management experience and has provided exceptional service for a variety of industries such as corporate office, retail, mission critical, healthcare and industrial.