Do leaders in the Construction sector have what it takes to build the future?

The rate of change in the Construction Sector has increased dramatically in recent years, along with the pressures on talent and leaders therein. To meet these new demands and capitalise on market disruptors, current and future business leaders at all levels need to develop a range of key capabilities that can be applied across the increasingly varied contexts in which they operate.

• The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) predicts construction sector growth to slow to 1.3% over the next four years.
• The lack of skilled labour and increased construction costs are driving ongoing modular construction growth, predicted at 6.9% per year and hit $157 billion by 20231.
• Current technological developments ranging from artificial intelligence and augmented reality through to robot bricklayers and construction site drones will change the fundamental nature of the Sector.

Blayze Consulting Group’s years of experience in the construction sector along with talent assessment data suggest that, historically, successful leaders in the sector were able to heavily rely on their technical skillset, driving results through others and making sound business decisions that produced a return on investment. All these capabilities are still critical for success in the current and future context, however, the demands on Construction sector leaders in other areas have increased to a point where the need for broader leadership capabilities has moved from being a bonus to an essential business need.

Despite the need for a broader set of leadership capabilities to meet the new marketplace disrupters, many businesses are over-reliant on individual experiences and outdated behavioural competency models to inform their talent strategies; leading to the hiring of new talent primarily based on technical skillsets and the ongoing implementation of small scale, reactive development interventions or generic managerial development programmes for existing talent, which typically provide only some or little value2.

These sorts of approaches limit the versatility of leaders, resulting in wholescale organisational inefficiencies in dealing with an exponentially increasing range of business demands and contributing to only 7% of companies believing they are excellent at building the next generation of leaders2. What leaders need to be successful in the disrupted business world, is a core set of capabilities that enable them to operate effectively across contexts.

By defining, communicating and embodying as an organisational capability framework that transcends functions and levels of seniority, an organisation can be clear around what successful leadership looks like and what is expected of their business leaders. This sets the scene for enabling higher quality recruitment and promotion decisions, targeted investment in talent development activities and more clearly defined business growth choices. Ultimately, organisations with a clearly defined and universally implemented leadership model can expect3:

• 37% more revenue per employee
• 9% more gross profit margin

• 5x more likely to excel at anticipating and responding effectively to change
• 2X more likely to excel at meeting or exceeding financial targets

• 100% of their leaders have stronger leadership capabilities
• 7X more likely to have leaders who are strong at inspiring people

Blayze Vantage has analysed the data from hundreds of assessments carried out with leaders in the construction sector to identify four key leadership capability areas that transcend functional and technical specialities, proficiency in which will enable leaders in the Sector to not only navigate but also capitalise on, new marketplace demands. Moreover, the capability areas are applicable at all levels, from Apprentice through to Executive the need to demonstrate proficiency in these areas remains consistent, what changes with increased levels of responsibility, is how sophisticated leaders need to be in deploying their capabilities across contexts. These four areas are:

• Business Leadership: making savvy business decisions and aligning people behind them
• People Leadership; the capability to inspire others to want to deliver for you, whilst driving their workplace performance
• Relational Leadership; building partnerships with a range of stakeholders and influencing them to support key business actions
• Enterprising Leadership; maintaining a clear business edge through developing talent and enabling change

The question of whether Construction Leaders have what it takes to build the future is dependant on the organisation in which they are working. Those businesses with a clearly defined, versatile leadership model will be able to build an organisation that gets the most out of their current and future leaders at all levels, even when operating in new areas or adapting to shifting marketplace demands, leading to a wide range of tangle business benefits.



17 trends that will shape commercial construction in 2019, Construction Dive 2019

2Human Capital Trends Report, Deloitte 2016

3High-Impact Leadership Research, Bersin by Deloitte, 2016