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Bricks and the City – Mind the Gap

Bricks and the City – Mind the Gap

I’m currently writing this on the train back from London following a day of site visits. I do enjoy going to London and one of the best bits sometimes is talking to complete strangers on the train. I’ve even done this on the underground as well although I always get nervous when I see the British Transport Police!

I acknowledge that one of the reasons why I can get away with making conversation with strangers is that I am from the North East and they probably think that I don’t know the ‘rules’ but I do! I lived in London for 5 years and I remember my parents coming down to visit me one weekend. They’d parked up where I was living and got the tube into central London and I recall thinking I’d better call my Dad to tell him not to make eye contact or talk to strangers and my Dad happily told me it’s too late for that and they’d been having conversations with every man and his dog en route!

The synchronicities of train conversations are amazing and I often find people who are reading books on topics that I’ve either been reading about or would like to read about. Last year I met someone who introduced me to the concept of Mindfulness which is something that seems to be written about a lot at the moment and I have a video clip on my blog of Jon Kabat-Zinn talking about it. I have to admit, I downloaded a mindfulness app called Headspace, the concept of which is really good although I do struggle to find the time to clear my head to do it every morning, something I clearly need to work on.

One subject area I’m really interested in is Leadership. I’d never really thought about the differences between Leadership and Management before but a recent train journey conversation with a very nice Italian lady who heads up a University Department got me thinking. Her view and that of a colleague I work with is that:-

Leaders lead by their energy, inspiration and vision

Managers manage by a pre- determined system/process

The construction industry is such a massive one with over 280,000 businesses and 3 million workers, out of that massive ocean of people, who are the ones to follow? Who are the trail blazers?

Last year I wrote about Construction 2025 which was launched on the 2 July 2013 which is an industrial strategy in partnership with the Government. It’s aim is to give a clear and defined set of aspirations for UK construction and a clear vision of where it will be in 2025.

One of the headlines in the report is:-

LEADERSHIP – An industry with clear leadership from a Construction Leadership Council. This is really positive but having googled (other search engines are available!) Construction Leadership Council all I can really find are links to articles written when it was launched last year, as far as I can see there has been no further guidance as to how the strategy will be achieved and I can’t find a CLC website (if this exists, please e mail me the link).

It’s great to have a strategy and a vision but clear communication is needed on how we are going to ‘mind the gap’ between having the vision and achieving it. What does it mean?, what can we do?, what are we doing well and what do we need to do differently?

My mission now (which I have accepted) is to ask some questions and get some answers. I will report back and update you on my progress. Now, where is that piece of paper I had with Vince Cable’s e mail address again……………..?!