Problem Solving and Crisis Management in Construction by PM Rob Rinaldo

Problem Solving and Crisis Management in Construction by Project Manager Rob Rinaldo at March Construction

Problem Solving and Crisis Management in Construction by Project Manager Rob Rinaldo at March Construction

The ability to manage a crisis is one of the main skills a person must possess in order to be successful in the construction industry.   

Crisis management applies to me as Project Manager, as well as our project superintendents, owners, architects, design engineers, subcontractors and their employees performing work out in the field.  Today’s projects are not easy and there are many moving parts to them. No matter how good you are at performing your job and no matter how great the plans may be, there is always a curve ball to look out for. There are often many things in project plans that just don’t work from a constructability point of view. Throw in the requirements of the local building department and you can potentially have a project-stopping issue that needs to be resolved—and fast—to keep the project on schedule.  The ability to manage these issues and solve these problems is tremendously important to the success of all parties involved. 

Crises that can affect construction companies occur either periodically or suddenly. Companies that can manage a crisis can estimate them and distinguish them by their types, take preventive measures, learn lessons, and recover as soon as possible.

I think it was in college when I first realized how much the lessons I learned growing up had helped me then and would continue to help me in the future with my career.  It was in a Calculus I class that I was taking for the second time. The professor pulled me aside and said she was impressed with my determination to overcome my previous failures and  “train” myself to do the work and get the grade that I needed to move onto the next required class.  My professor even offered to write me a letter of recommendation in the future, because being “trainable” was a valuable asset to have in college, in a career, and in life. 

I can admit it, nobody is perfect, but I believe I can be a great Project Manager in the face of a crisis situation.  I have a dedicated and diligent work ethic, patience, and the refusal to shut down in the face of adversity. I can think outside the box and have common sense to recognize and accept the help of others. Most importantly, I have the courage and fierce determination to come up with practical solutions to the occasional crisis, in addition to most problems that come up during the normal course of a project.  All of these traits have helped me to get through some of the toughest projects that I have ever worked on.

I don’t know what it is that pushes me to lock onto a problem and not stop until it is resolved. No matter how many phone calls, e-mails, meetings, sketches, brainstorms, and RFI conversations I have had to tackle--I won’t stop until it is resolved, period. Maybe it’s the challenge, the satisfaction of solving a problem, or averting a full-blown crisis. Maybe I feel compelled simply because it’s my job.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I am lucky that I love the work that I do and the company that I work for. March Construction appreciates our hard work and dedication to getting the job done, no matter what obstacles that need to be overcome.  

What do you do during problem-solving or crisis management in your career? 

Do you enlist the help of others, or take a step back to assess the situation and come up with a game plan?  Hopefully, you have figured it out or can help some of your co-workers, colleagues and business partners solve their problems and manage their crisis.  Leave a comment below--we would like to know!