A few days ago you might have committed to the customary new year’s resolution involving fitness, nutrition or other personal life goals – we wish you every success with this!

Perhaps now your thoughts are turning to improving your professional practice or your project team?

Here is one small change in approach which has the potential of making a big difference to project outcomes: Learn to be more open.

How so? An interesting piece of industry research has highlighted the relevance of openness to engineering & construction project management– it found a strong correlation between project results and the project manager’s rating on openness (Merrow & Nandurdikar, 2018).

What is openness? It’s one of 5 important traits which account for differences in people’s personalities and behaviours.  Someone who rates high on openness is very receptive to new experiences, more tolerant of other perspectives, more curious and willing to see ‘shades of grey’ in situations and therefore less fixed on ideas of right and wrong.

But why would such a “soft” personality trait turn out better “hard” project results?

There are two main reasons why openness as a personality trait might make a big difference:

  • Firstly, it drives project leaders towards a focus on the “soft” qualities of communication, team relations and stakeholder management, and they spend less time on the management of the “harder” aspects of project tasks or engineering solutions
  • Secondly, greater openness simply makes us better learners.

And continuous learning always gives us the edge.   At least that’s what we believe in Kingsfield Academy.

Best Wishes for 2020 – let’s make it a year of openness and learning

Gabriele Burian – Partner Kingsfield Academy