High Profile Projects Need a High Profile Team
A sports project is usually a high profile project within a community. Be it collegiate or professional, a sports project draws the attention of media, the public, and influencer and stakeholders within the client’s organization. A successful project requires a strong team. And a strong team is built on trust. I believe trust is a combination of communication, consensus-building, passion, and patience. A great example of a strong team leading to an award-winning design is the story of Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Neb.
Building a team starts before the contracts are even signed. The arena project began in 2007, but I'd been attending meetings for a few years prior, to inform DLR Group's knowledge of the issues, to get to know the players involved in the decision-making process, and to hone a vision. Developing credibility within a group is an iterative process, and you need to take the long view and go all-in from the start.
Once the paperwork was signed and the project under way, we held a team-bonding retreat involving the DLR Group design team, the client, and other primary stakeholders and team members. It proved to be a huge boost: connections were forged early in the process, making future communications easier and more open. Building projects are inherently stressful in a variety of ways, and when everyone understands others' pressure points at the start, you foster a stronger team.
But there are other stakeholders as well, who may not be at the meeting table, but who still care about the project's success, and whose support you cannot ignore. Pinnacle Bank Arena was the focal point and anchor of a $340 million development plan for the modernization and repositioning of a founding, and now marginalized Lincoln neighborhood – the Haymarket. It was a major investment by the city, and of the community’s trust in its leaders.
For the arena, one piece, but the largest and most high profile piece of a larger development zone, this meant the owners of the surrounding parcels, local businesses, and city residents all had a vested interest in the project. We held regular, advertised, public forums to present the arena project as it evolved, giving people the ability to weigh in. In short, transparency builds trust.
This is not to say that it's a smooth road from start to finish; for sure, there will be conflicts. But when you're a team leader, active engagement at every step and with every stakeholder will help you get past those bumps and stay on course for project success.