For those of you who are not aware, I am leaving the CSC after 10 years to pursue a new and exciting opportunity that will still keep me connected with the construction industry.
As this is my last Dimensions column and it coincides with the CSC’s 10-year anniversary, it’s tempting to reflect back by rhyming off a list of our organization’s many accomplishments over the past decade.
But after some thought, I realize that what stands out above any one product, service or personal achievement is really the process by which they came about.
Today, the CSC stands as a model of success for the multi-stakeholder consensus approach to finding solutions.
Construction is one of the best testing grounds for this model because of the diversity of our industry. And I believe in many ways we have passed the test.
For the past decade, a very diverse group has come together and consistently worked to address our primary goal – the need for a skilled workforce.
We have engaged public and private interests, labour and business groups (large and small, union and non-union), owners, educators, training and apprenticeship authorities, and residential, commercial, engineering and institutional sectors – they have all joined forces and shared information for the betterment of our industry.
And what it comes down to is that, collectively, working together in a consensus model, we accomplished more and did it faster than any one organization could ever do alone.
Though it is always harder to build with a diverse group, the resulting products, services, ideas and solutions are better. One of the reasons for this is because you are gathering all the information needed to make informed decisions, rather than relying on the view of a few. A good example is our labour market information (LMI) work where we get information from the demand side and the supply side, so that it serves the whole industry. In fact, if you look at the myriad products we’ve developed over the past 10 years, including those related to LMI, training standards, e-learning and productivity issues, they benefit not just one or two groups, but potentially all of them.
Another reason the multi-stakeholder approach produces better results is that it creates ownership, buy-in and commitment to move forward.
It energizes people in a positive way, and even if you don’t agree with the person across the table, you at least hear them out and start to respect them and better appreciate their view. That understanding is at the root of relationship building, which is at the root of the flexibility necessary to progress.
Building a multi-stakeholder approach is not about any one person, but about many who want to go out on a limb. CSC Board members are innovators and risk takers. Many served continuously for several terms and those who did not have nevertheless continued to be involved by promoting CSC solutions.
Early on we identified four things that we needed to do as leaders in construction: demonstrate, collaborate, explore and communicate. Those were our visionary building blocks and we made them come alive.
At a time when government resources are limited, there is no better way to accomplish both public and private objectives than through the multi-stakeholder approach. Whatever happens in the future, the CSC will always stand for that. And that is surely something to celebrate.