Officially launched by the Institution of Civil Engineers and the Infrastructure Client Group three years ago, Project 13 is fast growing in momentum.
Big clients have been increasingly vocal about the benefits of adopting the model, which centres on a more collaborative approach to building infrastructure, with all partners on a project incentivised to work together, sharing innovation, data and integrating in a more collaborative way as one enterprise.
To ready your organisation for a Project 13 project, you need to look closely at your senior people and decide whose leadership style will suit the model, who is better placed on other projects, and where you need to recruit.
Project 13 recently published a report on how to identify and recruit the infrastructure leaders of the future. So what does this tell us and what more can we add as an executive recruiter for the sector?
The report outlines a number of practical steps to maximise success when hiring to high-level positions, starting with the acknowledgement that people and leadership skills trump engineering knowledge and technical skills. “Look beyond your organisation, network and industry for high calibre leaders,” says the study.
We fully back this assertion and have written before about the best ways to secure the right person for your business from another sector.
The Project 13 recruitment report outlines the importance to “select their recruitment partner carefully”, “listen to their advice” and “avoid constraining them by demanding as essential skills and experience that are not required”.
Getting the right partner is key – one that fully understands what Project 13 is all about and how to secure the best leaders to fit that mould.
So how do we go about recruiting to senior positions at major project clients, contractors and consultants looking to thrive in the new delivery model outlined by Project 13?
1. Identifying the requirements
Identify what attributes are required to carry out the role well. In this case it is more about leadership behaviours than technical skills and experience, and we are looking for people who can work collaboratively, to build positive and supportive relationships across companies and smoothly effect cultural change. It is then a case of looking at where these skills might be drawn from – which industries excel at them and what are exemplar projects for collaboration and successful alliancing behaviours.
2. The right people asking the right questions
When it comes to interviewing, it is important to make sure everyone involved in that process is fully briefed and on-board with the outcomes you are trying to achieve, particular when it is a new initiative.
Your interview panel will need to include people who have worked in collaborative alliances and partnerships, and all interviewers need to be bought into the Project 13 approach. If you have someone in the room looking for a traditional project leader, all your best intentions could be derailed.
3. Testing effectively
You’ll then need to work out what techniques to use to successfully identify the required behaviours and attributes in potential candidates.
There are many tools that can be used here, from certain competency-based interview questions to various tests and assessments. We are increasingly seeing project clients use collaborative workshops when selecting contractors and delivery partners, and similar techniques can be used for recruitment purposes.
Having a rigorous process that assesses candidates in different ways reduces the risk of a costly mis-hire. Personality profiling is a very useful tool to assess collaborative behaviours, likeliness of someone challenging the status quo and whether someone enjoys innovating.
We’ve looked at psychometric testing in detail before with our resident leadership assessment expert John McFarland. Advanced trait-based psychometric testing can give tailored insights into the personality, leadership style and situational responses of candidates.
Experienced assessors can then interpret these for you to give you the very best chance of finding someone whose leadership behaviours will suit a Project 13 scheme.
4. Real life practice
There are also business simulations that can be run to give you an extra level of reassurance that the people you choose for your leadership roles have been put through their paces in a similar situation to those they will find themselves in after appointment. We include this as part of our Executive Search Premium service.
These measures help us to ensure we identify the right behaviours and systemic thinking to steer your project and wider organisation successfully. The Project 13 Model is a major change to how infrastructure schemes have traditionally been run and requires a wealth of fresh thinking that will serve you well for years to come.