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Focus is... ‘The function of zooming in on your thinking and making sure all the items written in the Game Plan are now followed through to completion’.

So why is it critically important to focus on your thinking?

Without focus, your thinking will stagnate and the project will not move forward. Your focus needs to be like a laser beam, clear and sharp, targeted on all the things essential to the project. It’s the act of getting people moving towards giving you the answers, results, decisions, products and items that you need to move forward. If you don’t have focus or you only have partial focus, then you will only receive some of the results. Think about the word focus – it means to see clearly... in focus.

Without focus, your project vision will be blurry. A blurry focus will not lead to a successful project. There are two essential phases of focus in the lease, design and construction of an office and these are Business Strategy Focus and Control Process Focus.

 

Business Strategy Focus
This encapsulates all the things you have been thinking about that will benefit the business with the undertaking of this building project. Your business planning and strategies now start to align with the design thinking and key players are in agreement. Deadlines centre on lease negotiations, contract signing. Design meetings are on target and moving forward.

What can happen if you don’t have focus in this area?
Critical dates can be missed. A client I had was very busy planning the office and how it would look and was very excited about the complete design process. He was so excited that he forgot about the lease deadlines and subsequently did not have his documentation in place on time. Result was that the landlord, quite within his rights, offered the property to another company who jumped in and took the space. My client needed to start the whole process again. This lack of focus can be expensive in both time and money, clear focus will make sure you don’t get things out of order.

This lack of focus on a key element led to much expense. He had engaged an architect to draw up plans. Loads of personal time where he was involved in design meetings with the architect and staff were all a waste of time due to lack of focus on one critical element. Another more common example occurs during the design stage where many, many things are discussed in a design meeting and people are busy writing and drawing all the changes on the plans. There can be as many as 10 people sitting around a table all providing input in their particular area of the business. The new plans are drawn up based on the discussions then reviewed and approved for construction.

Often at this point there is a lapse in focus. Plans are reviewed and approved but the process is often rushed and not reviewed in detail, plans are signed off but are incorrect.

Control the process focus
This is the period from design to handover where the office space is turned into a building site and the walls are starting to be erected. The focus is specifically about construction and concentrates on all the things required to pull the project together. It’s usually a highly concentrated period of time where most of the money is spent - so staying on top of things is paramount.

Without a focus on controlling the process, things will just get left to the guys on-site to figure out. Which is okay, except you will get a different result to the one you want.

As the client, you have selected a builder whom you have trust and faith in to complete the works. Make sure this is your first selection criteria! You expect that the job will get done as discussed, to plan, on time and budget.

To ensure that this happens your focus must be on constant daily communication with your builder or as you see fit. You need to be sure that he has turned up on-site on the days he agreed, that works are progressing and sub-trades are also performing. Make sure any unforeseen problems that occur along the way are documented and resolved as fast as possible. If there are problems, focus on resolving them as fast as possible.

Look out for problems that will cause delays or variations in cost. You don’t want the trades to stop work and leave the site due to a problem, because they may start another job and won’t come back when you want them to because you are not their only client. A fast resolution is key, but this will require focus and concentration. Don’t get sidetracked by other demands and distractions.

The focus required in the closing week of any project is extremely high – you just have to be on your game. Not only are you focusing on completion of the building elements but you will be focusing on relocation of the business and all the sundry items as a part of the relocation – you’re going to be busy.