September 2010: Full Contact Project Management

Words: Dan KamysSeptember 2010 alt Full Contact Project Management
Masonry Magazine alt project management alt
????Be a Project Management ‘Titan’???? As you are reading this, football season is just getting underway. Millions of kids are now playing at all levels. Some kids grow up and even get to play football for a living. It gets serious here; lots of money at stake. Everybody wants to win, which is the way it ought to be. I saw a movie recently that brought this home to me. Sometimes, even ordinary people can do extraordinary things. The world of sports is filled with such stories. We often talk about them here. Hopefully, they encourage you to try harder and never give up. Today, I want you to remember that, and I want you to “Remember the Titans.” You need to know about the Titans, because they are about to give you a lesson you can put to use by tomorrow in your construction project management career. First, watch the movie, Remember the Titans. Picture a high school and its football team that has been put together by court decree. The year is 1971, and the school is in the South. Two cultures forced – blended – together to make something brand new: an integrated school with an integrated football team. And, the movie does a pretty good job telling the story of that process. When you think about it, lots of construction companies have a similar story: multiple cultures coming together in a company and on a jobsite to make a team that can build a structure. That’s the case with some of my clients. I’d be surprised if your company were much different.
Coach Gary says:??

“Some of the best lessons in project management come from movies.”

But there’s a part of the movie that really is relevant to our project manager skills. This is the lesson you need to take away from here. And, you need this right now. Here’s the scene: state championship game. The Titans are down three touchdowns at halftime. The coaches realize that, despite being down by so many points, the game is all about defense, and the defense really needs to step up, so the offense can help to catch up. The defense has been getting pushed around for the entire first half. Coach Yoast calls his defense together. He delivers one of the most memorable – and shortest – halftime speeches in sports movie history. He says:

“All right?Ķnow?ĶI don’t want them to gain another yard!


If they cross the line of scrimmage?ĶI’m gonna take every last one of you out!

You make sure?Ķthey remember?ĶFOREVER?Ķthe night they played the Titans!”

Here’s the lesson: Just because winning teams expect to always win, because they may be bigger, faster and deeper, that doesn’t mean they can’t be beaten! Let’s take this to the jobsite. Your company is working for a big general contractor or developer, one that is used to getting its way most of the time. They give the order and expect you to carry it out. It hardly matters if the work is really yours, “Just get it done.”
Coach Gary says:??

“Get coaching. Get a plan. Get started”

Clients don’t expect any talking back. Big name teams and companies expect to win all of the time, especially against competition, like you! Back a few thousand years ago, a big guy named Goliath felt insulted that some puny kid named David was going to take him on. Turns out, David was quite the marksman. If you don’t know the story, Google it. Occasionally, a Div. 1 college football team will lose a game to a non-scholarship college. The reason? The big team took the little team for granted and looked past them to next week’s opponent. The big team was not ready for a well-prepared, smaller foe, who also expects to win. When that big time, jobsite superintendent tries to lay the ole extra-work glove on you, be expecting it. Know where you’ll move to. Know what your counterattack strategy is. If he does hit you, pop right back up, hard as it may be, and let him know that you can’t do that work without written permission and a means to be paid. Be respectful and smile; he’ll be stunned! Said another way, make sure your clients remember the night they played your “titans.” You’ll earn their respect this way.
Coach Gary's Corner:

Coach Gary is offering you, without cost, The Plan that has never failed him. Something you can post on your wall, like a play out of a playbook. Exactly what to do for your project whenever disaster looms on the scoreboard. Plus, get your free, five-part report on getting paid for changes on your project. Go to, and click on the link below the arrows. The report is free; not knowing the info is expensive! You need a process. Masonry readers get The Plan and this report for free, along with free video tips from Coach Gary. Go there now.

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