What a great way to start a week, reflecting on our industry and our role(s) in it!
Since this is a brand new chapter 20 blog, one of the things I know we wanted to do was discuss our own experiences. This blog is an example of how things have changed for me (when I started blogging was a “new fangled idea” and now I’m doing it.) The explosion of GIS tools and analytics, owner (and client) expectations of real time data and the ability to deliver it, legal and procedural changes, etc. Each of those has changed. Some things that haven’t:
- Communication is still a huge key to personal and project success.
- Trust matters.
- Relationships matter.
- When engineering and right of way and construction and…name other functions…come together and work together smoothly, it’s a great sign of pending success. You can work through and (sometimes if not often) overcome obstacles from both a project and landowner standpoint if the various stakeholders engage to seek a solution.
- Cooperation and coordination (see #4) matter.
- When you make a commitment, follow through. If you don’t, #2 and #3 just evaporated and it’s (likely to be) a LOT harder to get them back than it was to establish them.
- Be curious, ask questions. Be realistic in how much you do this, but learning about things like construction and design will help you communicate both with the project team AND with property owners. Being able to explain issues to both the project team and the property owners, from both perspectives, will help all parties.
- Disagreements happen. Be prepared for that. Research the issue and surrounding rules and/or design reasons if that might be useful. You don’t need to be able to explain cold fusion, but having a basic explanation that a property owner and/or local permitting official can understand often (not always) helps work through the disagreement and reach a workable solution. See #5 and overcome the disagreement if possible.
- Be flexible. Use of technology, communication method and style, personalities, project knowledge, etc. all change from owner to owner and even project to project. Your ability to adapt might be a key success driver.
- The only constant is change.