Effective team collaboration in construction


Joint ventures (JV) collaboration for construction companies are becoming more common. Bringing two or more companies together – sometimes from different countries with differing cultures, processes and ways of working – offers many benefits. At the same time problems can arise. Both in terms of the set up of the alliance but also with relationships in the team

One of the biggest challenges for JV teams is the level of pressure that the team is under, due to the scale of projects they work on. This can drive a high focus on task which often means time spent on team development is difficult to justify. In addition, people working under pressure are much more likely to become defensive and less aware of themselves and others. Add to this the natural inclination for all of us to relate to our “home” team and there are some aspects of human behaviour that need addressing if JV teams are to truly collaborate.

Building a collaborative team

What makes truly collaborative teams often lies in two very simple but very rare traits. Firstly, the team will have no problem having robust and open conversations. This means that problems are dealt with quickly and effectively and better decisions are made. Secondly, everyone in the team takes accountability and calls out other team members when this isn’t happening.

Collaboration in teams works at three levels – attitude, feeling and behaviour.

The attitude of every team member lies at the root of a collaborative team. Where there is positive regard for each other, and a belief and confidence in the team, there will be higher levels of trust and “psychological safety”. Rather than feel the need to protect themselves from each other and tread carefully around others, team members will feel “safe” involving themselves in productive debates and conflicts in order to resolve issues.

At the feelings level, how people feel about the team and about being in the team will drive openness, collective energy and motivation. Where this is positive, team members will feel that their input is properly considered. They feel comfortable asking for help or admitting mistakes, and energy and commitment to the team will be high. Both the attitude and feeling within the team drives behaviour. At this level, team members work effectively together and also pay attention to the goals of the team rather than focusing on their individual goals or interests.

This is Emotional Intelligence. Get individuals and teams working in an emotionally intelligent way and, collaboration and the successful delivery of complex projects will follow.

Five key requirements for collaboration success

  1. A clear and shared understanding of how collaboration adds value and where it is most important in order to focus effort.
  2. Clear values and principles to support the collaboration process.
  3. Processes that enable collaboration and are adopted by all key stakeholders. This includes goal setting processes to ensure aligned goals.
  4. Open and effective relationships built on attitudes / mindsets that create an authentically collaborative team environment.
  5. Individuals with a ‘win-win’ mindset who understand their derailers and defences that can limit collaboration. Individuals with the skills and the knowledge needed to work collaboratively.

To find out more about effective individual and team collaboration go to


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BDC 314 : Mar 2024