The three wise monkeys

See no Evil, Hear no Evil, Speak no Evil!!

See no Evil, Hear no Evil, Speak no Evil!!

What we find

Having been involved in projects in construction and our work with a range of clients what we see is disturbing. Despite good intentions the observable behaviour is often like the three wise monkey’s…

…Lack of visualisation of project progress means the key stakeholders don’t see what’s going on at an early enough stage. Often ending up with snippets of information leading to focusing away from the real issues.

Leadership approaches don’t create the environment for a learning conversation so they don’t hear what’s really going on and what can be done.  Often they choose not to hear as they don’t have the bandwidth to solve it.

Organisational defences and fear of commercial issues makes the reality of discussing the real problems undiscussable.

All leading to a ripple effect of negative impact. Lack of Clarity; Poor communication; Slow issue resolution; Deferred responsibility; Lack of ownership; Frustration by all parties; Contractual tension; Transactional behaviour.

The Problem

Productivity is low in Construction.  Despite good intent, the right people don’t get the right information at the right time.  Authority gets undermined.  Communication is fragmented.  Frustrations creep in, performance drops.  Ownerships reduces.  No improvement. It becomes out of control.  Managers respond with tight oversight and control yet nothing improves long term.

The Reason

We try to control with measures that are not effective, and ones that not everyone sees. We assume the data we have is correct but fail to challenge it or align what we think with other parties. We see actions not being carried out as expected. Leading to defensive routines that blame other parties or shirk the responsibilities. Due to this defensiveness we assume parties are protecting themselves and not doing what’s right for the project. We see issues taken time to resolve or issues repeating.  So we tighten control, defer responsibility up the chain.  We see further disengagement, more blame, lack of issue resolution which supports our assumption. So we tighten control further, leading to a Self-fulfilling prophecy.

The Solution

Shared control. Connect all parties with the one truth that represents the shortest interval of progress. Create routines and actions that support the right interactions with the right people at the right time. Put in the supportive structure that transfers authority back to the closest person with the problem. A structure that seeks feedback to give the appropriate level of support. A set of practices that challenge thinking and holds people to account for performance. Interactions that pull people to a bigger reality.

A tried and tested practice proven across multiple industries.

Project teams are more engaged, take ownership, drive performance and apply learnings.

We call it Short Interval Control or SIC.  A fundamental “Lean Practice”!


We work with a range of main contractors and design consultancy’s within construction, helping them deliver certainty on their projects, programmes and frameworks. If you recognise the problem statement above and would like help implementing a better way of working enroll on one of our open programmes:

Or if you want hands on support rolling out Short Interval Control across multiple projects, our team of practioners would be happy to help. Just get in touch below:

Some quotes from a recent project team for a Tier 1 Contractor who delivered 10 days early on an ambitious recovery programme which had no float. A Great effort by the team which short interval control (SIC) helped.

SIC has enabled employees to consistently drive the programme and maintain focus.
I don’t believe that we would have achieved the design build within the timescales without SIC.
My team now have different behaviours and mindsets. We still face problems, but everyone works together.