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Partnering for Success in Design & Construction
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Any organization facing a major contractual involvement with another has to keep a lot in mind, but most of all three things:

  • How to build communication and trust with your partnering organization.
  • How to ensure that the project comes in on time and under budget.
  • How to avoid litigation.

At Communication Excellence Institute, we have developed a team-oriented Partnering process that helps organizations achieve these goals and more throughout the life of the contract. CEI's skilled, impartial facilitators create partnerships that build trust, find common ground between the parties, and develop methods for solving problems and handling conflict in ways that reduce the probability of litigation.

Organizations sponsoring CEI's Partnering Program learn to:

  • Forge mutual goals and objectives that avoid the "us vs. them" mentality.
  • Create a climate of trust and open communication that accelerates contract completion and reduces the chances for nasty "surprises."
  • Anticipate problems well before they occur and design methods for addressing them successfully.
  • Move toward contract performance and away from excess paperwork and layers of administration.
  • Establish a working relationship as opposed to, but in harmony with, the legal relationship outlined in the contract.
  • Agree on a process for monitoring and calculating the progress of the partnering agreement.
  • Establish a process for handling feedback from other team members regarding communication styles, management practices, and behavioral characteristics.
  • Hold themselves and other partnering participants accountable for commitments to the partnering process.

CEI has the capability to guide co-contractors through the entire Partnering process, which typically follows this progression of activities:

  • Setting up the structure for Partnering.
    • Conducting preliminary negotiations between the contract parties.
    • Gaining the commitment of senior management teams representing the contractual partners.
    • Identifying all stakeholders to the contract.
  • Designing a Partnering Workshop.
    • Choosing participants.
    • Selecting a facilitator.
    • Arranging materials and site.
  • Conducting the initial Partnering Workshop.
    • Creating a Partnering Charter.
    • Establishing a method for decision-making and conflict resolution.
    • Formulating "rules of the road" for open communication.
  • Supporting the Partnering effort throughout the Project.
    • Conducting quarterly or semi-annual Partnering meetings.
    • Introducing 360° Feedback to the Partnering process.
    • Coaching partners for success.
  • Measuring the success of Partnering.
    • Assessing the results.
    • Measuring the commitment to Partnering vis-à-vis litigation or other outcomes.
    • Identifying future goals for Partnering projects

CEI has a staff of highly trained facilitators and organizational development specialists who have extensive background in contract management, facilities, and design and construction. Our specialists have been Partnering facilitators for projects from several hundred thousand dollars to several hundred million dollars. Because our Partnering facilitators are knowledgeable about construction projects but ultimately are specialists in communication, they will always take an objective impartial position in all Partnering negotiations and activities. They also have expertise in numerous communication instruments, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator™, the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument™, and 360° Feedback tools and procedures, helping them to provide major skill building in communication and interpersonal relations.

General contractors, architects, engineers, and other construction and facilities specialists who have committed themselves to successful Partnering comment that, along with swifter and smoother completion of the contract, the participants in CEI's Partnering programs improved their interpersonal relationships and productivity, reduced the intensity and frequency of conflict within their teams and with the contracted partner, and created a culture committed to achievement through teamwork.

If your organization is seriously considering Partnering, we would be delighted to talk with you about how CEI can facilitate this process. For more information, please call the Institute at (800) 410-4CEI (4234) or e-mail us at

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