Keith Brubacher

Keith A. Brubacher

Americans love independence. So do I. We celebrate Independence Day. We brag when our children start to walk, begin to feed and dress themselves, learn to ride a bike, go to a new school, learn to drive and eventually earn a living on their own. We hear about stock tips that promise to make us independently wealthy, and senior care communities tout the virtues of independent living in our latter years. 

Successful construction projects are driven by participants who recognize the importance of interdependence. They give it more than a nod and lip service. Their conduct, communication and attitude reflect the value they place on working collaboratively with others. There are several examples of application within our industry: co-workers on a crew, different disciplines within an organization, multiple sub-contractors on a project and interactions among project stakeholders.

A key element of mutually successful relationships our firm has developed over 45 years is an understanding of how interdependent we are with others for a successful outcome. Even though experience, perspectives and education vary, when we recognize the value others bring to planning and executing a project, we lay a foundation for a great outcome. In the highly fragmented construction industry, it takes an intentional effort to break out of the 'combat construction' mold. 

There are four essential qualities that apply to both individuals and organizations if they are to gain the benefits of interdependence:

Curiosity  Asks: What don't I/we know that I/we need to know to make good decisions? What is important to others? Why – what is at stake? By when? How does our work interface? What can we each do to minimize conflicts?

Creativity Develops alternative approaches to address conflict to accomplish overall goals.

Communication Speaks up early about known issues, ideas and changes; says what others need to know, not just what they want to hear.

Humility   Recognizes I/we don't know everything, understands our own strengths and the gaps in them, and allows others to do what they do best.

Reflecting these qualities in our conduct and attitudes during daily construction life isn't always easy.

At Brubacher, we've learned that the best outcomes and relationships are based on doing what's right, not what's easy.