Professional and Career Topics

  • 1.  Can You Find Change Makers?

    Posted 20 days ago

    Every organization needs creative energizers -- change makers -- who show the organization how to improve. ASCE's Source (at this link) reviews a book that tells how to identify such change makers from their personal characteristics and in interviews. The concept raises some questions:

    Does your organization actively recruit change makers as they are described in the book review? How?

    Does your organization provide an environment where change makers will flourish? How?



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    William McAnally Ph.D., P.E., D.CE, D.NE, F.ASCE
    ENGINEER
    Columbus MS
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  • 2.  RE: Can You Find Change Makers?

    Posted 15 days ago
    To the second question.  Recruiting is part of the solution, but learning from mistakes and providing for the environment where we only make a mistake once and allow for professional growth is for me a game changer for change makers.  Very hard to do in a profession where the standard, specially when it is life safety, is zero defects.  It takes leadership to find the mistake, find the source, teach and learn from it and fix it (if possible) and then never have your change maker never make similar mistake again.  In some cases, I have educated the game changer,  in the case they don't want to learn, I ask them to leave.

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    Patrick Balcazar P.E., M.ASCE
    Principal
    San Diego Project Management P
    Luquillo PR
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  • 3.  RE: Can You Find Change Makers?

    Posted 13 days ago

    I think this is a great idea conceptually but wonder about implication and what experiences folks have here?

    Based on my own experience the hiring of 'change makers' needs to be accompanied by a culture that supports the introduction of new ideas and is blind to the source. Essentially hiring people with the "creative spark" to have and drive new ideas and initiatives and who inspire others to be better is at risk of failure unless the organization in which they land sees them as forces for good and does not feel threatened.  My message based on experience is to look at the whole system when contemplating / hiring change makers to ensure that the system is set up for success.



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    Mitch Winkler P.E., M.ASCE
    Houston, TX
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  • 4.  RE: Can You Find Change Makers?

    Posted 13 days ago
    Its also worth asking "do you really need a change-maker for the role for which you are hiring?" There are many tasks out there which are downright dull, and the reason you are making a hire for them is because you or someone else doesn't want to perform that work in the first place. Even with a great interview process, I would not expect certain positions to ever be accepted by someone we are defining as a "change-maker". It is important to determine if your position offers opportunity to make great improvements to an existing product or process, and is not just a task with required steps to complete.

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    Christopher Seigel P.E., M.ASCE
    Civil Engineer
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  • 5.  RE: Can You Find Change Makers?

    Posted 8 days ago
    In addition to what has been said already, it should also be noted that often times changes may come with sacrifice, which may be frown upon by conservative engineers/managers. I believe that the opportunity of hiring "change-makers" should also come with the opportunity to review and revise processes, products, and people where change makers are sought.

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    Armando Esquivel P.E., M.ASCE
    Civil Engineer
    Saint Louis MO
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  • 6.  RE: Can You Find Change Makers?

    Posted 7 days ago
    Well said, Armando. Change costs time and money, so a competitive marketplace requires a receptive environment for change. The story of Malcolm McLean creator of the modern shipping container (told in the book, "The Box") is one of a change maker who repeatedly disrupted the transportation industry and made and lost multiple fortunes because he changed faster than market forces tolerated. Such stories abound. The spark of change makers is essential to improved practices and products but, as noted here by others, the environment, timing, and financial resources must be right for even the best changes to profit the makers of change.

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    William McAnally Ph.D., P.E., D.CE, D.NE, F.ASCE
    ENGINEER
    Columbus MS
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