The top five skillsets for eliminating error

13 Apr 21

Which skillsets are necessary for the effective pursuit of zero error, and what role do these play in creating a culture that supports ‘right first time’?

Research by the Get It Right Initiative not only highlights the importance of developing individual skills, but also of fostering and maintaining an industry culture that prioritises better understanding of the overall process, more effective communication, and respect for others and their roles.

Too often, a lack of understanding of the different roles involved in construction projects can lead to poor decisions – and avoidable errors – because of a failure to fully appreciate the implications. To foster a zero-error culture, a team-wide understanding of the overall process is essential to underpin specific skills and encourage respect between those involved in a project.

GIRI’s research proposes specific skills that are a good target for investment - planning, communication, and supervisory/management skills - and it also identifies the core competencies that are vital if the industry is to eliminate errors.

Foremost among these is critical thinking. To avoid poor decisions and the resulting errors, the ability to formulate and evaluate ideas against objective and subjective criteria is essential. Thinking the problem through to come up with best solutions is a skill that is required at all levels.

The ability to exercise sound judgement is equally important. Good decisions rely on people using their judgement to assess the situation, reach the correct conclusion, and take the appropriate action. A recent GIRI forum considered the decision-making process and how it can lead to, or prevent, error. 

Change can be unsettling, but being able to respond appropriately to changes in circumstances, materials, schedule, or personnel, for example, is a key skill. Fostering a culture that encourages people to pause, think, and re-evaluate the situation before moving forward is critical to success.

It is impossible to overestimate the role good communication plays in a zero-error culture, and in particular the ability to communicate effectively not just with colleagues in different roles, but also with the client and other project stakeholders. GIRI’s research has found that poor communication is one of the main root causes of error.

Communication is also vital for forming and maintaining positive relationships, another core competency, and one that springs from respect for others and the roles they play. Working well with others strengthens collaboration and forms the basis for error avoidance through effective working practices.

For more information about GIRI’s research into skills development, read our Strategy for Change.

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