Finding solutions:

Pandemic’s effect on intra-team work.

We are all experiencing the intra-team work effects of the second (or third) wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

➤ Is teamwork possible in times of crisis?

➤ How do cope in this situation?

➤ Is the level of stress and change definable?

➤ And will the recovery strategy put in place be suitable for everyone?

I talk about this and some other derivative questions in this article.

Wojciech Domaszczynski

Consultant, designer
MEP BIM expert
Owner of Domaszczynski & TEAM

Working in a new reality.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we have all been confronted with a new reality and everyone is trying in their own way to make the best of it. Cancelled mass events, remote learning, closed restaurants and finally – working from home. It is a difficult time for employees, as many parameters change at once. Face-to-face contacts are reduced, the speed of reaction slows down, and for obvious reasons, you can’t see if someone is working hard or not too hard while being at their home office. In the current situation, it is quite easy to make theories about other people’s work. People often judge each other by their own yardstick. This should be avoided, although it seems to be stronger than common sense. People base stories on their own experiences, but they forget that experience itself is not only what you have experienced, but also what theoretical knowledge you have. Staking everything on one card, on one’s own experience, is not the best solution because it narrows horizons. 

Inability to go beyond your own rationale.

Let me give you an example from my private life. I once had a dispute with a friend of mine who, as a mother of two children, accused me of knowing absolutely nothing about children, bringing them up or parenting since I was not yet a father. I deflected by asking the rhetorical question: does an expert in car accidents have to survive a dozen of them? She continued to argue for a while, but only until I asked her about plane crashes and the people who professionally investigate their causes. The situation was so tense and my acquaintance was so flustered that, for lack of arguments to support her thesis, she simply said that I was stupid. This example perfectly illustrates that she had something very firmly anchored in her way of thinking, and that she remained deaf to my arguments. Her convictions were so rigid that they prevented her from going beyond this thought pattern. In a word: she was limiting herself. 

Broadening horizons.

A similar situation applies to engineers. They are highly educated and experienced – it’s a fact – but being in this rather hermetic environment for a long time has left its mark on their soft skills. It has weakened them, or perhaps not allowed them to develop properly. Engineers simply do not accept that they may not have knowledge about a subject. It is the same with the philosopher who compensates for his lack of knowledge in mathematics or physics by considering them of little use. I would like to point out that the horizon of engineers’ thinking needs to be broadened, to open them up to greater absorption of soft skills.

The analogy is with construction workers. They know their stuff, they are used to working in a team. However, there are also cases of them being locked into a rigid framework of their knowledge. Construction workers have a construction site in their head and are sometimes resistant to external knowledge. Therefore, it is necessary to open them up to it. Organising a meeting with the manager, specialists and the investor and discussing all the problems, clarifying any misunderstandings will certainly solve the situation. Such a meeting – which can be held remotely – will certainly help to improve communication and open up the site’s employees to other issues which they had overlooked so far.

During my MBA studies, I had the pleasure of attending lectures by Dr Mateusz Grzesiak – a renowned psychologist and coach. Using an ordinary knife as an example, he showed a mechanism: with a sharp knife you can cut yourself, but at the same time you can cut well with it, which makes it useful. With a dull knife, it is difficult to cut yourself, but you can’t do much with it either. This means that you cannot have a knife that is safe and useful at the same time. The same is true for the task-oriented and schema-minded engineer. If we have the right conversation with him, give him useful tools, and make him aware that there are many forms of communicating and conducting projects remotely, he will be able to work comfortably for himself, his environment, and with his team.

Communicating effectively.

Another situation can arise in which someone can communicate too much content. Therefore, how communication takes place is extremely important. The style of the message has to be established in advance, so that it can be understood by everyone. It is also important to adapt the content to the data being communicated. The meeting between the engineer and the team itself will help to determine the form and content so that it is clear to everyone. Observations made from the sidelines often provide a solution to a problem. During the meeting with the team, it is useful to recall the example given by Dr Mateusz Grzesiak about the knife, while addressing all the issues I have mentioned. 

If you are struggling with any of the issues mentioned in this article, we offer a holistic approach. Do not waste your time – call us.

Wojciech Domaszczyński, MBA. Expert in construction, solving problems at the design stage so that they don’t occur during construction. #BIM

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