Capable Construction Contractors Collaborate
Updated: Oct 12, 2022
Soup or Salad
One evening, our extended family gathered at a local restaurant. The ordering process began with my uncle. After he had stated his choice for the meal, the young lady taking the order asked, “Soup or salad?” My uncle heard, “Super Salad?” and responded, “Yes.”
After a moment in which those nearest my uncle held back our giggles and the young lady explained her question, my uncle chose salad – and sure enough, it wasn’t all that super.
While soup or is different from super, it is easy to see why there was some confusion.
Cooperation or Collaboration
Now, if you are asked if you would rather cooperate or collaborate on your job site, you might think they are the same.
But they’re not equal.
While cooperation is one of the components of collaboration, collaboration is a step above.
It is easy to see why there is confusion because cooperation and collaboration have been used interchangeably for a while now.
Both words imply working together. But collaboration enhances cooperation because of one simple dynamic – shared vision.
When Cooperation turns to Collaboration
One example of moving from cooperation to collaboration can be found on your favorite freeway. You’re driving north along your freeway of choice, and everyone cooperates. You’ve all come from somewhere south, and you’re all heading north and cooperating to get there. Then you suddenly see a wash of red lights as everyone breaks to a crawl. Either because of an accident or road construction, four or more lanes of traffic are being funneled into one lane. Suddenly you and your fellow drivers are forced to collaborate to continue your northbound travel. Shifting lanes, allowing others to “get in,” and heightened awareness is all part of the process.
Okay, that isn’t the best example because there are always a few who prefer not to collaborate, no matter how much better it would be if they did, but you get the idea.
A Better Collaboration Example
How about this? Suppose you want the nutrients that are found in your favorite chicken soup. You can get them by eating each component of the soup individually – they cooperate to give you the nutrients you need. Although, getting the spices down might be a bit of an ordeal. Or you can cook them together in one large pot where the components blend and enhance one another, giving you both nutrition and delightful flavor – collaboration at its finest.
It boils down to this: Collaboration means shared ownership and interest in a specific outcome.
A Historical Example
William, a candle maker who emigrated from England, and James, a soap maker who had emigrated from Ireland, decided to collaborate in 1837. In their roles as candle and soap makers, they competed for the same raw materials – fat and oil.
Their collaboration is still doing well. In 2021, William Proctor’s and James Gambles’ small business had grown to become a $350 billion corporation. You likely have some Procter and Gamble products in your home. Febreze, Pampers, Gillette, Bounce, Crest, Tide, Charmin, Puffs, Cascade, Dawn, Swiffer, and Bounty are only a few household products sold by the corporation.
While Proctor and Gamble is a long-term example of collaboration that worked well, that doesn’t mean all collaborations must last for over a hundred years. Often collaborations are short-term and last for only the life of one project.
A Construction Contractor Example
One of the more well-known examples of a collaboration that began with only one project occurred between 1930 and 1936. Morrison-Knudsen Company, Utah Construction Company, J. F. Shea Company, Pacific Bridge Company, MacDonald and Kahn Limited, and a joint venture of W. A. Bechtel Company, Henry J. Kaiser, and Warren Brothers joined to build the Hoover Dam.
Because none of the construction companies involved could raise the $5 million needed to secure the performance bond, they collaborated to form one company called Six Companies Incorporated. Their single vision – get that dam built!
BTW, the dam was completed two years ahead of schedule.
More to Come
Now you have some food for thought concerning the benefits of collaborating. In the next post, the focus is on putting collaboration to work in your construction company.
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