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Future Ready?

Future Ready?

Quality, Consequences and the Construction Industrial Complex (part 305).

Are you future ready?

The 9 organizational imperatives diagram from McKinsey is IMHO, on point and a great check list to benchmark your firm’s current situation.

Nine Organizational Imperatives Will Sperate Future-Ready Companies from the Pack


Firms in the property design and construction sector are notoriously slow to change. There are several reasons for this such as:

  • Path dependency
  • Low consequences for poor performance
  • Low levels of R&D & Knowledge management
  • Low profitability
  • Poor leadership

The future is coming in fast and change is in the air. The pandemic, demographics and the “great resignation” leading to skill shortages plus advances in technology mean that doing what you have always done will not necessarily lead to future success. Social proof i.e. “show me what you have done, not what you think you can do” will become a key differentiator as we move to an evidence based world.

Lets look at the 9 McKinsey organizational imperatives.

“Who are we?”

This is about a firms core values. Specifically, the ability of a firm to take a stance, have a response plus develop a company culture that rewards, passion, innovation and high performance. For me, this would look like:

  • Purpose: Leading change towards a low carbon, high performance built environment
  • Agenda: Solutions oriented, based on a “quantified + data driven + human capital” methodology
  • Culture: Collegiate, high performance team environment where high performers attract other high performers.

For individuals, it is important to identify and work with firms that share your personal core values.

“How we operate”

This is about tactics and leadership. For me, this is:

  • Structure: A flat structure with minimal layers of hierarchy
  • Talent: Hiring is one of the highest risk activities firms undertake. Identify and hire the best and do not tolerate bad behaviour.
  • Decision making: Push this down to the lowest possible levels to empower people. If you have to micro-manage people, you have hired the wrong people and/or, you are a bad manager.

“How we grow”

This is about strategy and leadership. For me, this is:

  • Ecosystem: Always take a systems perspective, it changes how you see the world. e.g. “a building, is a system of systems.”
  • Tech platforms: IP is an “unfair” advantage if executed correctly. Selling professional services alone is not enough. Develop proprietary technology and choose your third party technology carefully. It is too easy to add a “technology tax” to your firm via over subscription to software and technology, select for the minimum viable technology set.
  • Learning: Organizational knowledge management and lessons learned can provide a competitive advantage. The best firms handle knowledge management with excellence.

There has never been a better time for businesses to access technology and talent. However, there has never been a worse time to sit back on previous glories then stop innovating and leading. IMHO, mediocrity and poor leadership will be punished swiftly in an evidence based world.

Are you and your firm future ready?

Twitter: @BLDWhisperer



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