There’s a huge responsibility that comes with building the world's largest offshore wind turbines off the Belgian coast. The project goal for Northwester 2 is clear: to build a windfarm of 23 turbines of the highest quality in the Belgian North Sea, within time and budget, and with the most possible care for the people and the environment. The key to achieving this goal with success, in a project with so many different stakeholders, is getting everyone aligned. This is why, during the preparation phase of the project, Jan De Nul Group organized a Safety Day in Oostende. The whole team came together – client, subcontractors and Jan De Nul Group – for a fun day of activities. And by the end of the day, everyone was on the same page.
So, how exactly did we achieve this? Through our One team. One plan. approach, in which we focus on four key ingredients for successful teamwork. First and foremost: leadership. In order to be successful, you need a culture in which team members feel respected, recognized and trusted. Leaders create this culture. They are responsible for people to feel free and safe to stop, think, rethink and to speak their mind.
Communication is the second key ingredient in our approach, because you simply can’t over-emphasize how important good communication is. From planning a project to finalizing and delivering: you need an open communication atmosphere with room for open feedback. Add to this our third key ingredient: critical operations. Before taking any action, people need to think the whole process through and imagine anything that could possibly go wrong. Safety is of the utmost importance.
The fourth and last ingredient is all about ‘ownership and accountability’, but without pointing any fingers. It’s undeniably important to make team members feel responsible for what they do and to have an honest and objective way to asses a situation when things go wrong.
Sounds heavy and theoretical? It was the exact opposite! Through games that focused on teamwork, communication and trust, everybody got to know each other. Puzzles were made blindfolded, people walked around on self-assembled scaffolding balanced by other people, project management sessions were held, an external speaker came and gave a motivational speech… The whole day was an excellent example of ITA, Jan De Nul Group’s awareness program to guarantee sustainable, safe, creative and successful solutions. We truly created a culture in which people actively think about what they want to achieve (Imagine), about how they want to get there (Think), and to then actually do it (Act).
At the end of the day, the Northwester 2 project team shared their personal commitment to make the project a success. “Focus on people”, one participant wrote down. “Share knowledge”, another one committed to. “Honesty” was a third one’s priority, added with many more commitments.