Special Culture Required for IPD

Posted on August 18, 2010

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If Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) is a little difficult to pull off for most teams, it is probably because a different service pardigm is required for proper execution. Although we cannot take credit for its invention, at Haskell we use the term “servant leadership”, and it is one of the core values we work by whether we are on a project or waiting for an elevator. Servant leadership basically means ‘how can I help you to succeed’? It is leadership by serving others.

IPD is best executed with a servant leadership mindset. Servant leadership empowers each individual to use a team member to her fullest capacity:  how can I help you accomplish your job tasks better? It is the mindset that others’ needs come first for the betterment of the team, and I come last. This is antithetical to most, especially Americans who are usually ‘me first’ thinkers.

The collaboration required for IPD cannot be overstated; it is simply not something a company just picks up one day. Not only that, but the task becomes exponentially more difficult as more companies get involved. If each company does not practice collaboration or service leadership in their office every day, how could they possibly rely on it during a project that involves the coordination of others outside their practice?

Culture is one of the few defining elements of a company, and it is impossible to copy because it is rooted in the employees—people who definitely cannot be duplicated. For a somewhat obvious example, how many airlines looked at Southwest and thought they were all about cheap fares? Some things can be copied, but no one can match Southwest’s unique way of service.

When banking on a great project experience, look long and hard at company culture. It just may be the best way to plan for success.

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