Sharpening Your Thinking Through Writing

Contractors can learn many lessons from the leadership principles of Hyman G. Rickover who is considered the “Father of the Nuclear Navy.”

D. Brown Management Profile Picture

These lessons include:

  1. Relentless focus on safety being engineered into the system at all levels.
  2. Unorthodox talent management practices including his selection process that achieved massive engineering and construction feats with brand new technologies.  
  3. Rigorous controls on designs and schedules through effective information flow.  

His focus on forcing his team to put nearly everything into writing developed a discipline of thought throughout a relatively new team.  

Quote: Nothing so sharpens the thought process as writing down one's arguments. Weaknesses overlooked in oral discussion become painfully obvious on the written page. Hyman G. Rickover.

He built a culture where arguments were openly challenged with candor that allowed the best ideas to win and plans to be tightened up. Jack Welch used similar tactics at General Electric.  

Toyota and the lean body of knowledge leverage this principle in the A3 Reporting process that forces both concise writing as well as team communication.    

Contractors can utilize these principles in:

  • Vision, Mission, Values (Behaviors)
  • Strategic and Tactical Business Plans
  • Organizational Structure & Integrated Job Role Missions
  • Workflows & Process Documentation
  • Project Plans & Feedback Systems

Be Specific About Problems
The business of construction is filled with constant problems. It’s not that great contractors don’t have problems, it's that great contractors have learned how to troubleshoot first, which allows them to learn from their problems faster.
Change Management Foundation
There are four foundational items that support great change management. Without these in place, you will never get the value out of streamlining the process.
Feeling Safe and Being Safe
These are not the same. Both must be managed. Know which of your actions contribute to each and to what degree. Know that your actions may be interpreted dramatically differently by different people.