Cultivating great project leaders

Leading the world’s largest capital projects: Where science meets art

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As projects become larger and more complex, project leadership can be one of the most influential factors in a project’s success. Effective major project leaders are defined by their ability to master a combination of practical judgment, political ability, and wisdom—in addition to their thorough grasp of technicalities, core project management systems, and processes. For long-term major projects, it is also important there be continuity in strong leadership.

Changing culture: How to break infrastructure’s vicious circle

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The infrastructure industry is facing labor shortages, a skills gap, and aging workforce in many parts of the globe. The successful delivery of major projects is critical to keep pace with projected economic growth, so it is imperative that owners and contractors act now to build pipelines of talented, diverse project leaders. The size and long-term nature of major projects create a tremendous opportunity to build these pipelines and create socially inclusive hiring programs. Specific actions include:

  • Establish apprenticeships with specific diversity targets and demand the same from the supply chain
  • Create openings, such as data scientists and user-experience specialists, to attract people who would not have originally pursued a job in infrastructure and engineering
  • Ensure current project leaders act as role models and mentors
  • Invest in development and training that is rooted in the organization’s values and that integrates emotional intelligence with behavioral science
Great leadership comes from living the values.

Some of the project challenges that we face, due to the complexity and size of projects that we execute, need wisdom. It is not textbook material.