Page 12 - Texas811 Magazine 2020 Issue 4
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I then asked the utility contractor to explain the difference between a “good” project and a “bad” project.
This question has been asked
by many
locators and excavators, in many places and with different levels of frustration in their voices.
“Why does this project have to be so aggravating?” The answer to the question always includes a reference to better communication. And we all agree that better communication is critical in the process.
However, the truth is we often don’t communicate well because of how we see one another in the field. Abraham Lincoln was quoted as saying, “I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.” On any given project, there is of necessity the locator and the excavator. Too many times, I’ve seen this relationship as adversarial as opposed to collaborative. Both recognize they are part of a team, but few recognize that out in the field, they are on the same team.
The truth is everybody is on more than one team. We have a “family” team, our “coworker” team, “the folks we hang around with” team and then there is the “stakeholder” team. There are other teams of course, but you get my drift. Obviously, we don’t have the exact
same things in common with each team
10 • Texas811
2020, Issue 4
but clearly each team has something
in common. One of the things we’ve learned is that we are not a team just because we work together at a place or on a project. We only become a team when we learn to trust each other. Respect and trust are the foundation of meaningful relationships and essential to the development of a successful team.
I once asked a long-time locator and
an experienced utility contractor both known for their teamwork values. I asked the locator, “what makes for
a successful project and/or a strong team?” He replied, “Two things come to mind almost immediately. Good communication on both sides and do what you say you’re going to do.” I asked him to explain just a bit and
he followed up, “Projects that start with preconstruction meetings, update meetings during the project and on-site meetings, especially if there is a change in plans, almost always put both the excavator and locator at the right place at the right time. The locator needs to understand and respect the excavator’s plans and needs for the day. The excavator needs to understand and respect time constraints placed on the locator. If there is a conflict in time or resources both should have the ability to make the necessary adjustments to avoid frustration and damage.”

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