July 7, 2021

Finding Your Tribe in Construction with Kate and Millicent

How do you find people in design and construction working to make our industry better than they found it? Often you find them in genuine conversations sharing honestly about how things are and what we are working on today. Kate Simons and Millicent Drabb...


How do you find people in design and construction working to make our industry better than they found it? Often you find them in genuine conversations sharing honestly about how things are and what we are working on today. Kate Simons and Millicent Drabble are two such individuals that are transforming the industry from within. Incremental steps taken regularly with the right people make a community, a tribe, that work together on meaningful changes. 

 

Kate’s passion is learning, coaching, and continuous improvement.  Through her role as Director of Scheduling and Controls at Shawmut Design and Construction, you can find her talking about flow, predictability, human connection, quality, creating value, and helping people translate plans and ideas into action.  She is incredibly lucky in that she gets an almost daily opportunity to help jobsite teams better leverage their individual strengths, solve problems and communicate more effectively. 

 

Kate specializes in Collaborative Planning, Scheduling, and Team Alignment/Communication.  She recently volunteered to re-kickstart the New England Lean COP and has spent the last year trying new and scary experiences [like being on a podcast].

Connect with Kate Simons via

LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/katherine-simons-psp-cm-lean-25872b14/ 

Learn more about Liberating Structures via 

Website https://www.liberatingstructures.com/ 

 

A proud poetic pragmatist, Millicent Drabble firmly believes in the power combination of being technically skilled, people savvy, and curious. With a career in the built environment that encompasses design, construction, operations, and maintenance across five countries, she knows that project management and risk management are unifying dialects across stakeholders, cultures, currency, and expectations. It’s collaborating with and learning from a diverse array of people that really gets Millicent excited, and in her role as Manager of Construction Operations for Shawmut Design and Construction’s West Region, she relishes the ability to do this, not only within the organization but with peers in the industry through the Urban Land Institute.

Having (almost) mastered the art of embracing uncertainty as a global nomad, Millicent leverages her leadership identity to inspire people and teams, by nurturing the confidence required to fail and evolve – we are in the business of problem-solving after all!

Connect with Millicent Drabble via

LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/millicent-drabble-02605661/ 

 

Today’s episode is sponsored by Bosch RefinemySite. It’s a cloud-based construction platform. Bosch uses Lean principles to enable your entire team, from owners to trade contractors – to plan, communicate, document, and execute in real-time. It’s the digital tool that supports the Last Planner System® process and puts it all together in one simple, collaborative ecosystem. Bosch RefinemySite empowers your team, builds trust, creates a culture of responsibility, and enhances communication. Learn more and Try for free at https://www.bosch-refinemysite.us/tryforfree 

 

Today’s episode is sponsored by Construction Accelerator. This online learning system for teams and individuals offers short, in-depth videos on numerous Lean topics for Builders and Designers to discuss and implement, just like on this podcast. This is tangible knowledge at your fingertips in the field, in the office, or at home. Support your Lean learning at your own pace. Learn more at http://trycanow.com/ 

 

Today's episode is also sponsored by the Lean Construction Institute (LCI). This non-profit organization operates as a catalyst to transform the industry through Lean project delivery using an operating system centered on a common language, fundamental principles, and basic practices. Learn more at https://www.leanconstruction.org 

 

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Transcript

Felipe Engineer  0:00  
We're live. Welcome to the show. Kate and Millicent, Millicent and Kate. Okay. Are we gonna talk about bathrooms again, too? Are you guys gonna make me turn bright red before? We know we're gonna talk about the loo. Okay.

Millicent  0:15  
Oh, that's perfect. Even better, then I'll understand what you're talking about.

Felipe Engineer  0:20  
Right? Because toilet is like Cologne, isn't it?

Millicent  0:23  
Especially when you say it like that. It sounds real fancy.

Felipe Engineer  0:26  
Yeah.

Millicent  0:28  
I really feel like I should probably subscribe and being on the show now means that I have some loyalty to you.

Felipe Engineer  0:35  
So many other people. Like so many people said, I watched your show. I was like, really? Where do you watch it? I see it on LinkedIn. I was like, that's not it. Those are clips you need to actually get into the platforms like LinkedIn is not a podcasting host. Okay, so we did just do that brand new web page. Have you seen a case?

Kate  0:55  
I've not I saw I saw a LinkedIn post about it, but I haven't gone to actually.

Felipe Engineer  1:02  
Welcome to the EBFC show, the easier better for construction podcast. I'm your host Felipe Engineer-Manriquez. This show is all about the business of construction. His episode is sponsored by...

Sponsors  1:18  
Bosh Refine My Site is a cloud based construction collaboration platform that applies Lean principles to enable your entire team to plan, communicate and execute in real time. It's the digital tool that works in tandem with your last planner system process and puts it all together in one simple, collaborative ecosystem. This easy to use platform is available in English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and French and can be used on desktops, tablet and mobile devices. According to Spencer Easton, scheduling manager at Oakland construction, Refine My Site, in my opinion, is the best cleanest tool on the market the last. Here's what our users have to say. We've looked at three other digital scheduling platforms and none compared to the straightforward approach Refined My Site takes from milestone planning all the way down to daily tasks. This program gives every general contractor and their trade partners meaningful collaboration, accountability and KPIs. Register today to try Refine My Site for free for 60 days. 

Felipe Engineer  2:31  
Today's episode is sponsored by Construction Accelerator...

Sponsors  2:34  
The design and construction industries come up with and build great things. But we also build in waste in how we do those things, in our interactions in our contracts in our logistics. So what does this do for our bottom line, or our next project, the best firms maximize their value by removing that waste, and only doing what's essential to the work what makes them money. Construction accelerator will train you to see the waste and give your teams the lean tools and experience to remove it immediately. All online. Construction accelerator is made up of three to nine minute videos that can be watched again and again, in the field, at the office and at home. All broken down by topic. need to learn pull planning, we have videos on the process, how to set up a room and how to kick off a team need to set up a target value delivery project, we discuss all the aspects of TVD especially cost. Or maybe you just need to brush up on five as well. We have videos on that as well. You can download and print reference materials to use on site to immediately translate watching into doing subscribe today at tri ca now.com. Let's build an industry, not just a project. Today's show is also sponsored by the lean construction Institute. LCI is working to leave the building industry and transforming its practices and culture. Its vision is to create a healthy and thriving industry that delivers outstanding project outcomes every time for everyone. Check the show notes for more information. Now to the show. Welcome to the show Kate and Millicent. I'm so happy to have both of you on the show today. Thank you both for joining me. And thank you for threatening to almost subscribe to my YouTube channel millison. I appreciate that so much. It's an effective technique.

Felipe Engineer  4:23  
It's like, I watch it, but I'm not sure. Should I hit that bell? Yes, you should hit the bell and get all notifications. And I just want to say before we start Thank you everybody for watching the show, and helping grow this and spread the word. We'd love you. The whole team absolutely loves the feedback we're getting. keep bringing it let's go Kate Millicent who's gonna fight for this intro first.

Millicent  4:43  
Okay, first, can I everyone? My name is Millicent drabble. I'm working for a general contractor right now in an operations management role. Which is pretty cool. My career has stemmed on the design side working for design engineering firm and It's been really nice. And I really want to talk about as we get further in the conversation about seeing it from the design side, and then the construction side and how that all really ties together in a collaborative way. The accent is Australian, in case you're wondering.

Felipe Engineer  5:15  
I was, I was, I guess wrong. I think the first time didn't I think the first two or three times? It's okay. All right, hold it against me. What else is that? How does that go for an intro? That's pretty short. You could keep going, Okay, put the pressure on or tolerate keep talking about herself. You're great.

Kate  5:31  
Fabulous. I know you have tons of wisdom stored up to give us so like, let's hear some.

Millicent  5:36  
I don't want to hit it too hard, too fast. That's the thing.

Felipe Engineer  5:40  
Let me interrupt you. So...

Millicent  5:42  
Yeah, why would you do that? Okay, so I am an Australian person living in Los Angeles. And it's really interesting to me right now, because I've gone back to school, it seems to be my global recession approach to just like, I should do another degree. Well, things are a bit weird. So I'm doing my MBA and learning about leadership. And a lot of what we've been doing in the last couple of weeks is talking about your leadership style. And how did you get here? And what do you value, and it really makes you think about it. And Kate showed me this incredible spiral notebook activity so that we could really write down who we are and what we believe in, he can see it and then you have to actually do something about it. And so critical part of my journey is, I'm in Los Angeles. Now. I lived in New York City for about two years before that. I lived in Vancouver, British Columbia for about a year and a half before that. I was in Singapore for nearly two years before that. And then I did a stint in Abu Dhabi for three years before that, and then started everything in Brisbane, Australia, with my family, all of that that global tour through work, not just backpacking and meeting people. It's been such a, an accumulative knowledge growth journey that I can't say amazing, more amazing things about it to be who I am today.

Felipe Engineer  6:58  
That is an incredible background. I need to take a breath. There's a lot that I'm feeling like, I need to get on an airplane. Right. That's really incredible. It's inspiring. Oh, now I have to also humble. Right, Kate, she tried. She tried to. And I just love her. Kate called her out. So don't miss that. You're greater than that. Keep talking. Yeah. Well, I'll go. So we turn the cameras on Kate. And let's see what?

Kate  7:26  
Well, mine's not going to be nearly as flashy. I work for the same construction management firm. I've been there Coming up on eight years. I technically work in scheduling and controls. But I have an interest in all things. I know. I know. We'll get there.

Felipe Engineer  7:45  
It's not my heart!

Kate  7:47  
It's not that at all, right. I spent my time going out of my day to day role. So that's kind of what makes me tick. The accent is actually rural Maine, not Boston. So yeah, my my sphere is a little smaller than Millicent. You know, I grew up in Maine, I worked at a lumberyard. I went to school for construction management Boston, spent some time in corporate America and then landed where I am now. So my my journey to continuous improvement and and learning kind of grew out of my roles in scheduling. And just some of the things that I've seen consistently hurt teams over time. So millison sent a really high bar. I don't think mine was nearly as inspiring. Right I'm excited to be here and I'm excited to talk about all this stuff.

Felipe Engineer  8:37  
And Millicent and I are both excited Kate because you know each other way longer than I've known both of you but Nelson and I are both cheerleading you because you are awesome. Yeah. Thanks guys. And we can't you and I maybe you don't know because you don't check out my LinkedIn profile. But we both worked at the same general contractor back in the day. Oh, we did we won't name yeah, we won't name their names.

Kate  9:00  
I probably didn't click on your profile because I didn't want to appear too creepy. Like I was actually stalking you. So I'm gonna do that.

Felipe Engineer  9:10  
I mean, their color is somewhere in my room. Yeah, the color. Yeah, you got it. That's funny. Funny. No, I don't know what happened that I had. Maybe just I didn't drink the coffee at the right time. And realize that you weren't project controls that just makes this so much more juicy or for me, for all the things.

Kate  9:32  
We're gonna talk we're gonna bring up some dirty laundry some some scheduling controls, dirty laundry, oh my god.

Millicent  9:41  
It was something I read or one of your guests prior. It's does your role really define who you are and your identity and so Kate and I are really unpacking that right now. So sure, by title, this is who we are, but it is a lot more fun to do all the other bits and pieces that may not appear in a job. scription but still have a lot of impact. We're going through that right now. And you get to experience it with us. That existential Who am I question? And who do I want to be when I grow up? Kate's already gotten there. She's told us that in the intro, she is not that I am. Very different. Okay.

Felipe Engineer  10:24  
If you're gonna be on a podcast, do we can we classify that as adulting? Yeah, we don't see kids on podcast right now. Yeah.

Millicent  10:30  
Don't even say that out loud. I think something should be sacred to, to the grown ups based on how I feel about podcasts. This should be one of those things.

Felipe Engineer  10:39  
I'm sure like, right now, someone's gonna message us and say there is a kid's podcast, and it's way more popular than yours.

Millicent  10:47  
I will get everyone I know to subscribe to your YouTube channel. Immediately. If that's the case. I'll do that. Anyway.

Felipe Engineer  10:54  
People go find that and see if that's the case. Now I'm curious. I want to listen to this kids podcast.

Kate  10:59  
My kids watch a lot of YouTube. It's not technically podcasting. But they watch a lot of YouTube, which is it's very strange, similar type of thing.

Felipe Engineer  11:05  
That's true. I do speak at a lot of schools about construction careers. And a lot of the kids especially in high school, like the number one thing they want to do is become a famous YouTuber. And none of them know that I have a YouTube channel. So that's how I know that I'm not that person. Structure straight. Yeah, they're just straight. Like, I just want to be I want to, I want to play video games and just get paid to game all day and have people watch me play video games. Wow, such an inspiration.

Kate  11:34  
We'll see. So I actually so it was funny. My son last night, we were getting ready for bed. And he's like, Mom, how long does it take to build a building? And I was like, Oh, I think it's finally interesting. I like I did I like shed a little tear. And I like I explained it to him. And I was like, wow, I was like I finally feel like acknowledged.

Felipe Engineer  11:55  
How old is your son? He's 10. All right, it's good. Yeah, good job. Great mommies night. small wins again, we're gonna celebrate them when we get to celebrate the small wins, small wins. We just talked about this. So what is the spiral notebook? Are you guys both in school together? No. Golf School, I started golf. That's, that counts.

Kate  12:19  
So So spiral journal is it's a liberating structures thing. Have you ever done any of the Liberty gun? Yeah.

Felipe Engineer  12:26  
I love liberating stuff. Yeah.

Kate  12:28  
So I did. I did a thing. And you know, Brian Winningham. So he's doing Yeah, everybody. Yeah, you everyone.

Felipe Engineer  12:36  
Shout out to Brian Winningham. Shout out to Brian also. And we got to say Kate, like this is the time where Felipe like, and Scrum has been said yes. Yep. liberating structures are definitely Scrum friendly people. Yeah. Keep going. Yeah. 

Kate  12:49  
So I um, Brian's actually, he's doing like a coaching cohort type of thing. And it's like a small group of people. And we had our first session last week that Brian LED. And he walked us through this spiral journal exercise where you have to draw like a spiral for two minutes, right? And it's about clearing your mind. And then he leads you through these series of four questions. And the first question is, draw your work using only pictures, and no words. And it was, it was really neat. For me, I had this like mild revelation that I was, I was like, Oh, my God, I'm a hub. I was like, I, for some reason, it like never dawned on me before. I'm like a hub in my company. And I get to talk to all these people that do all this great stuff. So I shared it with Millicent and I don't think it was probably quite as impactful as like when it was a guided thing, but I shared it with her anyway.

Millicent  13:39  
You still did. You inspired me enough to want to do it myself. And that's really all you could ask for with an activity like that.

Felipe Engineer  13:45  
Yeah, that's a nice plus one. Yeah. And so millison, you drew something. What was your epiphany? I'm still drawing at the moment. Are you still in the spiral?

Millicent  13:54  
Yeah, let's do clearing my mind. Don't underestimate the chaos that's in here.

Felipe Engineer  14:01  
That's where creativity comes from.

Millicent  14:03  
I run out of pain. Exactly, exactly. Because I had showed Kate something at the same time that made that light bulb go off. And that's one of the things when Kate and I talk, it's we talked about improv the other day to where it's this whole Yes, end concept. And so you hear someone say something to you. Yes. And what about this? And yes, and what if you do that. And so I had shown her a mind map that I had drawn, just from my early urban planning days was a technique we use, just draw stuff and draw arrows and circles and clouds. And so they're just like, oh, let me show you this. And that's how it came about. And so we build on each other's ideas and enthusiasm for all of the kinds of stuff that we do, either if it's just started at the organisation, or we have an idea that we want to just sneak through the pilot to see it's so crazy. It might just work. It's fun to stay buoyant, thinking about these things. It's really motivating.

Felipe Engineer  14:59  
Yeah. It is yes and millison you know what I love about the two of you is that you're so far apart geographically like we've got California and then wherever Boston is, who knows, we'll take that way over here the Golden State, which is, you know, the better state. Love you all California listeners and Texas. And I've got family there. So my hearts there. But the two of you stay connected even though there's this massive divide and a three hour timezone difference, which is so annoying. Thank you millison for getting up early. And this is already like the middle of Kate's day, her day is halfway over. 

Kate  15:36  
All right, it is so millison actually a couple times lately we've struggled to meet. And she's held meetings at 6am her time just so we can connect. So she is like committed to the time difference. 

Millicent  15:48  
She'll also show you my trust. I like trust Kate in that I feel like I can be vulnerable when I talk about certain things. So her seeing me about 15 minutes after I've just woken up, I think is a really strong visual connection that we have to. I don't think you're gonna recognize me the next time we actually meet in person.

Kate  16:12  
Sorry.

Felipe Engineer  16:17  
I've seen you with your glasses on. I was expecting glasses today. I mean, this is like this could have been a three glasses episode. Oh, yeah. I said it's just two out of three. Okay, mine aren't too shiny. I don't know, they're not shining. The lighting is really good.

Millicent  16:32  
I'm all about risk management. It's my favorite thing in the whole wide world. And I just did not want the purple reflecting thing to be distracting from what I was actually see.

Felipe Engineer  16:42  
I didn't see it the last time but that's okay. If it bugs you, you've got to overcome it. Well done. Yeah. Problem Solver, you mitigated that risk, congratulations. Because this show will live on forever. Even after I die. It still stays and people will find it and watch it. What a legacy. Kind of wild to think about though, it is wild. I told my son that my secret. The Secret reason why I do this show is that so that after I'm gone, you can still get told what to do by me. That is like hated that. He hated that. It's like, I'm not gonna watch it. I was like, I'm not gonna do the passwords, you'll never be able to take it off. Well played. So well played. I'm playing the long game. So I wanted to ask both of you. When we first started talking right away, you were over the top excited about talking about bathrooms and construction. And I thought, this is gonna be a really good conversation. So I couldn't help yourself. I just can't help it. I got it. I don't have to go now. I'll go later. But I want to go there now with you in this conversation. Okay, Kate, you're the catalyst for this story. So yeah, it's in your face is still bright red case.

Kate  17:54  
It always says it's like the curse of being very pale and blonde. I listened to your podcast, I think it was you and Jason Schroeder talking about bathrooms. And it was such a simple, dare I say elegant way. Fair with me to show people that you respect them. And Millicent and I talk a lot about that. And I shared it with her. And I was like, I wanted I text you I said this is what I want us to be someday. But and you know, like talking about bathrooms is funny. But just such a simple, visible, tangible way to show somebody that you respect them, right? Like You talk a lot about respect. And it's like this, this big, fuzzy topic, right? Like what does respect mean? And it's like, if you want something to happen, you make it tangible. And a way to make it tangible is like bathrooms. Right? And, you know, I'll be completely honest. So my husband works for a subcontractor. And I shared that with him and he thought it was great. And I shared it with some other people. And I got laughed at a little bit and and you know, it hurt my feelings. But that's not going to dawn my my eagerness to continue talking about bathrooms. Millicent fared a little bit better than I did talking about bathrooms.

Millicent  19:12  
The funny part is, Kate sent it to me on a Thursday or Friday, and I didn't have time to listen to the whole thing. And I wanted to go from start to finish. And so at the weekend, while I was doing my domestic chores, cleaning the bathroom, I thought Oh, perfect time to put this podcast on. Little did I know how relevant your conversation with Jason was gonna be. So when I brought it up, I've mentioned it in two different places. And, again, exquisite timing, where we were talking about insights, the success of projects, but then there are times where the bathrooms can get they can be a space for harassment or, you know, discrimination in the field and it's something that we want to tackle head on and talk about not perfect. And it doesn't exist. But you only really see it when you open the door. And so my conversation was, well, there are a lot of dudes in the field, what happens when you have more women and men more diversity in the field? How does that go? I grew up with two brothers and a sister. My brother is always taught, you know, there are ladies around at least clean up after yourself a bit, be a bit more respectful in that space. What I loved was it then it turned into this diversity conversation, which then turned into what can we do hasn't gone anywhere yet, if it's similar to Kate not giving up, still want to keep talking about lose. Because it is such a simple thing. I'm gonna keep laughing about it. I'm a fan of toilet humor.

Kate  20:43  
I can't say loo because I feel like silly saying it. So it's like, you guys are gonna have to take that one.

Felipe Engineer  20:48  
It's like I knew a guy in college, his name was Lou. So like, I always flash his face comes up in my mind every time someone says the poor bloke. It is something that, you know, a lot of project managers have decision points early in the job. And they're under pressure to make their numbers. And they're trying to control the budget, manage the budget. And bathrooms are something that a lot of people just copy and paste like this is all you're going to get general conditions. So they don't think about it. You know, some of the people like Jason and I who've been to horrible conditions and worked in horrible conditions as a man, I've gone to bathrooms that give me nightmares, I still sometimes have nightmares about what I saw in the bathroom and had to deal with right and I'm a I'm a dude, so so people don't get that opportunity to think about it. Because it's from a PMS perspective. Sometimes it's just the line on a on a spreadsheet of many 1000s of lines that they're responsible for. But from the workers perspective, Kate, like your husband, who has to work in this environment day in and day out, it's like a big deal. Like everybody goes to the bathroom roughly three to maybe eight times a day, depending on what kind of water intake you got going on. Right. So this affects all of us as human beings. And some of the things that Jason talked about and shared is that on some of his jobs, he would make it so that everybody uses the same bathrooms to just force it, he would force us all into the same thing to kind of level the playing field. And there's like, there's not the ivory tower bathrooms. And then there's the everybody else like no, we're all going to go to the same bathrooms. We're all just one team as something that we have in common. Like I remember, I was on the job, it was a hard bid job. And we were losing money. And it's kind of like even before we realized we were losing money, the job shifted to single ply toilet paper. And I was like, Oh my god, there's a canary in the gold mine. And like, we went to single ply, like transparent. 

Kate  22:45  
You can see the kind of hero's journey that we literally build bathrooms, right? Like we have zero excuse we build bathrooms.

Felipe Engineer  22:52  
That's like what we do. And I remember a lot of the not a lot. But some teams like when you build spaces out early, you can't use the bathrooms, like the bathrooms we just built as if we're not going to clean the building and turn it over. It's not like the client said in the contract. Thou shall not use these toilets before we take beneficial occupancy. Like people just put these assumptions on. And we don't think about how can we use this and still turn it over? Well, like it's not against the rules, like it's a bathroom, it's meant to be used.

Kate  23:23  
It's also unfortunate that you know it, I can't speak for California, but on the East Coast, like it took COVID for us to get running water to be able to wash your hands on a lot of job sites. And it was like, the stark Moment of Reflection. And it was like Why? Why didn't we always have that? Right? Like we we always should have been doing that it shouldn't have taken a literal pandemic, for us to realize that.

Felipe Engineer  23:45  
I've been to jobs across the country in real estate, you've been to jobs worldwide. I didn't see hand washing stations regularly until I started working in California over a decade ago. But before that, because I'm so old Kate. And I've been over two decades working in construction. I can't remember no hand washing stations. That was normal. Like in my early years, it was no hand washing stations. And you could probably ask your husband probably still jobs today where you I mean before COVID. So 2019 2018 Yeah, no hand washing station.

Millicent  24:19  
Yeah, the thing to take it from COVID. Now and if we're looking about the future, what will it stay? Or will we go back? What's going to happen is we had no qualms telling clients in the last 18 months, we need this for the safety of our employees, we need you to pay for this extra money for this fairly basic thing. It's the thing that I think about when you mentioned Philippe about the PMS having $1 value on a line, it's really important you can go to the client say this needs to stay here or this number is here because and I would guarantee a I worked on the client side for one of my roles prior if someone came to me and said, You got to find an extra small in the scale of relativity Delaval. For this thing, I wouldn't hesitate to say I can find that money from somewhere else. But given the choice, again, assumptions, I've got a poster of a quote that I say fairly often that an ex teammate cross stitched for me, it's that impactful if you assume you're not giving other people the ability to make a choice or influence the decision or feel like they're actually doing something for the greater good or for people, because that's really what it comes down to. And most of my indicates conversations is the people orientation or the people motivation. So what will happen? Will we will we continue to say we need this and fight for it, until it becomes normal, and then something else will happen? No doubt.

Felipe Engineer  25:40  
I'm gonna keep fighting for it. Yeah, relentless. I've been called stubborn and Bulldog ish. So I have no problem with those labels. And old apparently, Millicent, you're already forgiven? Don't worry about it. I was so worried. You didn't care. But I wanted to ask both of you as you're as you're pondering and taking that tasty beverage. What's it like from your perspective? Because it's construction on the average is about nine to one men in the United States. And some countries, it's even more more men than nine to one, which is incredibly, still very high. Is it challenging? Or unique? or different? What's changed recently? Is it is the industry the same as when you came in? are we are we evolving? No. So you want to take that one? 

Millicent  26:27  
First, I'll have a crack at it. I've only been in in on the pure construction side for the last couple of years, two years, I'd say I've then managed the projects that went through to design and carried it forward. So part of the industry a lot more female ratio. On the design side, it was quite interesting to go from that to then see the nine to one ratios in construction, like, oh, where where was the women go cool. from moving around so much, I've just had to adapt and make become mates with whoever is around me and learn from those people, whatever I can do I miss more important interaction with other women in this space? Absolutely. Again, it's in our organization, there are a whole bunch of us that tend to just gravitate towards each other. And we'll have conversations and be supportive, and you don't need to make a big deal out of it. But we really need a lot more people to get on board with improving the diversity. Now, I had the privilege of speaking women in construction week and got to speak with a few other really brilliant women on the client side and the design side. But the observation that I had made was, again, the ratio of women who showed up to that talk to men was then in the inverse. So it's women talking about what's really important to us and what our journey is, all the women showed up to support us. But it's really a lot more of the gentlemen that I'd prefer. were showing up to listen to what we have to say, or including us in it. And that that was something that I just that I observed and I hadn't really thought about it too much until then. Yeah, I I'd say that about sums it up.

Kate  28:07  
I am. What's funny is that early on in my career, it's not that I'm gonna say it wasn't a problem. It's almost like I didn't notice it was a problem I was similarly have been called stubborn and hardheaded. And, you know, I was just doing my job, right. And a lot of times I happen to be the only woman and it kind of just, it didn't dawn on me, I'm going to bring up the age thing again, right. It didn't dawn on me until I got a little older. And I realized kind of a similar thing. Like most of the thing is like you're you're missing creativity of thought and and different perspectives by not having women in the room. Right? So So now, I'm in a position where I have no qualms to be able to say I should not be the only woman in the room. Right, and we need to do something about that. And luckily, we work at an organization that has recognized that and is, is taking steps to address that a lot of really, really good work. But yeah, I think it's a it's a maturity thing. It's supporting other women. I don't know what the secret sauce was like during COVID. But, you know, Melissa and I have definitely strengthened our relationship with during COVID. And there are a couple other women at organization to that I just I don't even know why maybe I was just seeking some companionship that we've really developed a great relationship with the last year hopefully, you know, a sign of good things, better things to come. But again, it needs work.

Felipe Engineer  29:29  
That's definitely something we need to keep, like the networking and connecting with other people and like, like real estate, like you said, like bringing the men along to it is better. It's more it's more fun to work in an environment. Yeah, yeah. different ideas and opinions. It gets stale when it's all just the same. Yep, it's it's better. I like it better. And when I came up with the industry, I didn't realize it. It was a thing Kate and Wilson until we went to one of the company events. So my first job where I was an intern, my supervisor was an engineer. And her name was Karen and Karen was awesome. She guided me taught me everything and she was as old as I am now. And when I was just, you know, punk kid in college, and I was a punk kid, when I was young, I thought I knew everything and believe that I was gonna live forever. It's so GM. And Karen was so patient with me and, and guided me. There are things that I do today that I still do, because of how she taught me and onboard me. And on our project, she was one of two women on our project. And she was, you know, my boss, she was awesome. She was always like, listening to me, and helping me with things and, you know, encouraging me to go explore and get more involved in the field and bug the junk out of the superintendent, which was fun. And like, that's been something that I've kept. Karen, thank you. That's one of the things that I still do today is plug superintendents. So thank you, Karen. You're listening. And, and that was really cool. But But then we went to a company a gathering, and I thought that my job would look like the rest, like the company would be similar. And there were there were like, no women at all. It was like zero, almost zero. And it was like else, it just hit me like, Whoa, this is really kind of interesting. Like this is I didn't, I had no idea. And I didn't become aware of this until much later in my career. My second or third project, it was all male teams. So that was for a while. And it wasn't until coming to California that I worked for a woman again. And the first time ever, my boss's boss was a woman who's the vice president. And she's still remained a treasure and a great friend of mine, to have that kind of dynamic and relationship. There's a I think, a higher level of vulnerability and connection sometimes that you can make with you know, other people in different genders and just different experiences like her experiences, Karen's experiences just totally different, unique perspective that you're not aware of, like, you just don't even understand what it's like, you know, the same for people of color, as well as this, those perspectives. And just understanding that it's not, it's not the same for everyone. Everyone's coming in with different experiences. They're priceless. The insights that you get are people and even having trade partner friends. I've got a friend who used to be a plumber, and we've become really good friends. He's now a dirty project manager. So I call him but we don't hold it against him for being a pm. Like it's okay. I used to be a pm. That's okay. I'm a recovering project manager. Still. It's interesting. Yeah. See, you're the same way. 

Kate  32:24  
That's perfect Felipe as you had mentioned when we talked the last time that you do a lot of work in high schools. And I think you said it too. And I feel like that's a really important part of trying to address that problem. Like I when I was in high school, I didn't even realize construction was a viable career path. Like I went to go for architecture, right? Because that was, you know, palatable for a woman. And I didn't realize that construction was something I could even do. Right. So you're you're actively taking steps to fix that.

Felipe Engineer  32:51  
Yeah, from the get go. Yeah. And that first time that I was on, Kate, we had, I remember we were in the trailer, and we're building this job. This is my first job and on the Masons crew, so people putting up like CMU, all in brick, and this is in Chicago, we do a lot of masonry. There was a woman who was a bricklayer, and everybody was just like, Oh, my God, like people came in, like when she showed up to work, people rushed into the trailer to like, tell us that there's a female bricklayer, and it was like such a thing. And this is not like 1949 people, I'm not that old. It's 2001. And, and grown men run into the trailer to tell the rest of us that there's a woman out there putting bricks on the building, and then we should come see it. And I'm thinking like, why like, is she like a brick artist that was like something different than the rest of the crew. And like, dummies, we went out there. And she was just like the other people, and equally as strong and stronger than some of the men on the crew. I mean, she was arguably way stronger than me. Like, if you're, if you're playing with bricks every day, you're going to be stronger than Felipe. This is my mouse hand that just this is it's really important to give that option to people, why is getting better important to both of you.

Kate  34:06  
Why is getting better important? So I'll start getting better is important, because it's about to me, bringing quality and humility and curiosity to everything and every interaction that I do, you know, I'm not gonna lie, like we looked at your agenda. And I was like, I don't have a, like a big fancy story of something that I improved. And I was I was panicking a little bit. I'm like, I'm gonna go on the show, and it's gonna be terrible. I thought it through and we talked it through and I realized that for me, it was about lots and lots and lots of little improvements. Right? And it's, it's how those little improvements impact the people that are involved. Right? And it's the the satisfaction that I get from being a part of that with other people and seeing them learn and grow. So it's just you know, it's, it's, I have, I'm going to call it curiosity, but really I just love to stick my nose into things that aren't technically my job. So for me, that's what it's really about.

Felipe Engineer  35:06  
I love that answer. inquisitive. So Kate asked me the other day inquisitive. people asking me like, Why Why don't you Why don't you put lien on the title of your show? And I said, because it's a it's an American invention, looking at companies in Japan and elsewhere in the world to it's like the ideas really much older. It's really part of being human. And you're getting it right there. Okay with the curiosity and the learning. I tell people like the magic is my other show guests. Katie Anderson talked about this at Toyota. I love Katy Perry. She's awesome. Yeah, I know. You can't hear. You can't hear my like. Katie, you hear that? You got more fans out here. Kate. She loves your work. Yeah, but Kate said the secret of Toyota or her mentor, Mr. Yoshino said it's their attitude towards learning and how it's just what they do. And Karen Martin shared a post on Twitter the other day where Akio Toyoda was talking to people on the toilet, like the Toyota news that they do. So they can try to connect all their people to the leadership. And he's talking about these stories, and his sharing really just his attitude towards learning when you look at his face and how he gets like, lights up about the learning that he's doing working in the company. And I mean, he's running a multi billion dollar company, and he's excited about learning every day and going to where the work happens. And it's just like, it's it just comes through, it comes through that learning part is so critical. So I'm glad you use curiosity. And I know it's an it's in middle of since LinkedIn profile, because I chat. Oh, so she's got it in her tag. Right?

Millicent  36:49  
It's, it's true. And I, for me, it's not about getting better, it's about being better. And that's you being better yourself to then connect to others because you're right, that kind of mindset radiates, it's an intangible thing, but all of a sudden, you've caught it and you want to ask more questions about the hell on the way and the the where we came, I've talked about this in, in the West region where I am we for about a year or a wee bit more now, we've been doing lessons learned on our projects. And it's a fairly, I need agendas in my meetings to at least to keep things a bit focused. But like you, I love to go off on tangents to say, Well tell me more about this based on what I hear. And the best part is not so much. Everyone's gonna hear my ulterior motive. Now, yes, you get to learn when you talk about your mistakes. And it's the continuous improvement for the organization. But there's something to be said for you as a human being becoming more comfortable talking about your mistakes, or you as a person feeling safe in this environment to say, I heard you say that thing I'd like to learn more let's and then that spurs into something else. And it's an evolutionary thing that I find so important for myself. It's been really, really heartwarming for me to see over the last year, just the confidence grow in those lessons learned meetings, I had a superintendent send me a text after one of them more recently saying thank you for setting these up so that I can talk about my mistakes and learn from others completely unprompted. Like that's, like Kate says, just such a small little win for someone to acknowledge that moment in that environment that it could carry forward. So it's about being better. I've taken a lot of risks. I, like I said, risk management, I really feel like you also get better. When you just dive headfirst into this risk, like you do something that might terrify you. I'm almost like a risk junkie, now with that kind of thing. Because there's a bit of a rush to it. It is an exhilarating feeling. And you go wow, I did that thing when I didn't think I could and it just makes you that little bit stronger, that little bit more self aware, which is such a valuable concept. And they're like, what else can I do now? It's it's almost like this feeling of invincibility on the inside that keeps me motivated. And it's the stories that people will tell when you're learning something from them. That's my favorite part. The technical stuff. Sure, I could read that in a book or watch a YouTube video. But when where they tell the story about how something profound nearly happened to them more of that they they felt this way in reaction to a particular situation. That's my favorite part because they've opened up they want to share and they're comfortable doing that. And then there's something in return between the two of us that moment. That's my favorite part.

Kate  39:54  
Well, that's when the magic happens too. Right? That's like when Yeah, real trust and that's like, you know, People talk about like executional improvements and getting better on the jobsite. And it's like you want that, like, start with trusting people giving them a safe space, a safe space to take risk, right? Like, you got, I think you probably can surmise this, but like this, for me is a huge risk, like, not having like not being in control of the agenda, like I was sweating before this meeting, right? It was terrible, right? And I like I have no problem public speaking, like, I'll get up in front of I get up in front groups all the time. But I'm in control of the agenda. So this kind of like, off script. It's terrifying for me, but then I was like, you know, I can't in good faith, ask other people to be vulnerable, and share, if I'm not willing to take risks on my own team, right. So this today, this is continuous improvement.

Felipe Engineer  40:45  
There was an Kate and millison people that don't know that we had one or do we had one or two calls before. I think just one, just one, just one. I felt like it was like to like we've known each other, we're just kindred spirits. And we were when we first were just talking like, this is why I do the show so that people can talk and it spurs conversation and insights that you don't necessarily have and we got to be vulnerable. To make that happen. kit. You nailed it. Like if you want you can't have trust without vulnerability, you just that you're never gonna get real trust without it. And we'd love that you came on. And I told you that the agenda that's that I gave you is just the bullshit agenda.

Kate  41:24  
It made me feel like a troll though. Like I was like, okay, there's an agenda. I'm gonna put some notes down, and I'm gonna feel good about it.

Felipe Engineer  41:31  
But really, Kate, you're in control. Because you can just choose not to answer whenever you don't want to answer you just tell Millicent to answer. 

Kate  41:37  
Yeah. My, my wing woman? Yeah, that's right. 

Felipe Engineer  41:44  
Now Millicent, you said you wanted to share a story that you wanted to go into later. It's now later.

Millicent  41:49  
Already, jeez. Time flies to many stories now which, okay, so one of the, in the theme of continuous improvement. And people this is probably a really nice segue. Also, for me to learn the pure construction side again, because coming from design, and international and now dealing in the field, I set up these things called the meat the Super Series. And I'm so proud of it. That's, I'm just using your YouTube your podcast to be able to talk about something that I'm so proud of. And, look, I'm not saying I'm the one that invented it. But the concept of it should be a lot more common than I really feel it is. So we're a construction management general contracting firm, we've got these great blokes and women out in the field. But I heard a lot when I had started where they say I feel like I'm on an island or because we are so dispersed geographically, with our projects. So I do what you do. Where I interview a superintendent, it's called meet the super, it's very informal, but structured behind the scenes. So it's videos on wherever they are. It's on a Friday. So usually we get aloha Hawaiian shirts for aloha Fridays.

Felipe Engineer  43:07  
Nice, very southern California thing. It's very, very prolific from San Diego, all the way to Santa Barbara, Hawaiian shirt Fridays, it's a thing.

Millicent  43:17  
It's a unifying thing, though that, I, I love that, that you can pick your mind out of the crowd. I prep them first as well. get them ready. And usually we start with the How did you get into construction? And then my question to them is what do you want people to know about you? And it's such an interesting tension where someone says, I'm on an island, people don't know me, but you give them the chance to say, Well, what do you want them to know about you? And it's No. And so it's, it's been so much fun to really get to know these people in a deeper way. Because for me, it'll always come back to people I, I'm in the people business, by trade and by nature. And so just by interviewing these superintendents, they've got a bit of a script, they can anticipate the questions, but sometimes I'll sneak in a follow up that they're not expecting. The coolest part is the crowd, Ben, we we have people who dial in to watch these things. And then an assistant project manager said to one of the Supers. It was really great on this project where you actually got down on your hands and knees with us, and you helped us clean up the floor. We really appreciated that. And then someone else said, Oh, I remember when we were going through that change order with the client and you help check this. And then more people start to just talk about how much they appreciate the team member and value their contribution to the team and then value them as a person. Just the feedback that I get from the superintendent's who like Kate, Megan, and do when we get off the phone. We'll call each other go what a rush though, was amazing. We did it. I hate talking about myself. But that was pretty cool. Because, again, when you're in that environment where people are receptive They've and they want to know more about you, you then can't stop, you want to keep sharing that to build that deeper connection. So it's just been such a fun and interesting thing to try. Because it hadn't at least been done in, in this organization before. And now where yes ending to say, Well, what can we do next? How can we do more of this? How can we connect better with the field based on the industry that we're in, and then recognize the trade partners? What's next time. That's the fun part.

Felipe Engineer  45:31  
That is beautiful. It's so nice, Millicent.

Kate  45:33  
It's such a great host to that, like I call in every so often. And even like, I get excited, I found out that one of the Supers has a philosophy degree. He He grew up like 20 minutes from where I live now. And it was just like, again, it was a tiny little thing. But it was so amazing. I was like, Oh, my like, I never would have known that about this human being that I work with, right beyond his title.

Felipe Engineer  45:55  
It's a person from from romaine,

Kate  45:58  
No, no, from from Bath. He lives close here. But it's really great to see this kind of stuff percolating in the organization. I am unabashedly trying to Nick it and make it a thing in in Boston to we haven't gotten there yet. But we're trying.

Felipe Engineer  46:14  
Just do it all you need to do find, Kate, one person. Yeah, find one superintendent. Yeah. And just running off you go.

Millicent  46:21  
The reason I got my first superintendent, so last year, we were in reactive mode to say we've got to do certain things to keep people connected. And I happen to be doing a very small project for a great client, but it was all night shift, because the restaurant was open during the day. And so me and the superintendent, were doing the night shift together, I thought, I want to keep you company, it would be a great chance for me to get to know you. And I have no meetings between 1am and 8am. So I feel like I can get a lot of work done for it. And so we were just sitting talking just opposite each other safely distance in these booths. I thought I I really feel like more people should know you based on what we're talking about. At the witching hour. He's like, No, I don't like speaking. So look, I'll coach you through it. This is great training for you think, again, I sold him. Excellent sales woman when I need to be. And so he was the first one. And it, it wasn't a publicized thing. I sent an email to the group. And that's exactly it. It was the catalyst for just, well, it's so crazy, it might just work. It kind of worked. What happens if we do it again, that's the thing I like about continuous improvement is you can keep trying stuff and keep doing interesting things. But then you've you've got to find that pause to take a breath to say, Well, how did it all go? Or what were the cost corrections that we've made through this? How can we build on that and then you get the offshoots be you kind of just keep running in that direction to keep trying different things without that reflectiveness.

Felipe Engineer  48:00  
Millicent didn't even tell you the best part, which is the emails that she sends out to prep for the meetings. Oh, tell me.

Kate  48:06  
they are truly a thing of beauty. She I don't even know how she gets these pictures of people. But she'll like dig up a picture from their past. And like, I don't know if you've got like great Photoshop skills or how that even comes up. But she sends it to me every week, and they always make me laugh.

Felipe Engineer  48:21  
What are the pictures of the people being spoken about her?

Millicent  48:25  
Yes and no. So one of them. One of the more seasoned superintendents I he volunteered, I asked he gave it to me. So there was no coercion of an unsavory kind. But it was his high school graduation photo from the 70s. And again, when you can laugh at yourself, because Caitlyn, I have a new tagline called play in the gray, which we can unpack another time. But it's if you can't have fun, and take a load off and laugh at yourself or see a picture of your mate and go, Oh my gosh, that's hilarious. Then what's the point I would struggle in that more style environment without the humor and so again, being in pure construction, that's the lens that people see me in now. But I spent 15 years before that working for urban planning firms. I'm very good at Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. That's my secret superpower now.

Felipe Engineer  49:25  
And so we all know secret's out.

Millicent  49:29  
I want people to know, though, why would you not want to add more of who you are to what you do now, to then inform and influence the environment, the work environment that you're in. And so sometimes I do Photoshop and I'll Photoshop faces on to other figures or into the environments of projects that we've done this for. We've got a gentleman tomorrow, today that I'm actually really excited about and I recreated Google search, I wrote his name. And then I came up with it looks exactly like Google, but it's actually all about him. And then there's 17 year old in the service photograph of him. And it just, it's so my favorite part is when people write to me and say, that was a really good one or hilarious.

Kate  50:21  
It is truly amazing. like not even giving yourself enough credit, it was like, it was so funny. And it was so well done.

Felipe Engineer  50:28  
I'm glad you both of you are on here so that when each of you take your turn to be humble, the other person could tell the truth. It's a setup. It's so hard like in construction, you've been conditioned and brainwashed to never stand out facts. And if you stand out, right, look at both you nodded your head instantly when I said that, like I've been the squeaky wheel that gets not oil, but a hammer to the head. I've been that woman doing it?

Kate  50:57  
Like I faced off and people just look at me like what planet are you on? Like? You don't have to like it.

Felipe Engineer  51:03  
Yeah, keep saying, Yeah, keeping yourself that's a, I have the pleasure of an honor mentoring some people, some younger people in the industry that are you know, two years, five years in. And one of the things that I always encourage my mentees is you need to bring yourself here. And there will always be people that tell you, no, we don't like that. And I said, that's just like a on YouTube, like a thumbs down a thumbs down is just some information, but you decide how to react to the that versus the thumbs up, you still have to be authentic. And if you give into that 10 years later, you wake up and it's not you anymore, and you hate yourself and you hate your job. So let's not do that. Like there's always gonna be people that don't get your humor, your humor is not for them. Right. But for people that laugh and get it, find those people and are eventually they'll understand you It could sometimes this could be a misunderstanding. Yeah, like when millison talked about how old I am.

Kate  51:58  
You got to find your tribe, though, that's like a real thing. That's the thing that we talked about a lot is finding your tribe, sometimes sometimes your tribe might be a little bit outside of your organization. And like that's, that's a good thing to like, throughout. Throughout COVID. It's like I really expanded my LinkedIn network I was telling most of the day, I was like, I've curated my LinkedIn feed to be a thing that I enjoy, right? Like, every day, I open it, and I learned something, I see something that inspires me. And it's like, these people, although they don't actually know me, like, they're my tribe, like, these are the people that I want to interact with and that I want to be around. So your tribe can be within your company, your tribe could be like, even bigger, too.

Millicent  52:36  
We work for an organization that's very supportive of innovating and trying new things. And sometimes you just have to do a thing and say, Look what I did to like that broader group, because not everyone has, everyone has varying degrees of imagination. And sometimes if you haven't done something, you can't quite relate to it connect to it. It takes that sort of heightened sense of emotional intelligence to be able to say, All right, I'll hear you out for this one. And so to be in that test environment to just try it. And then say I did a thing, and someone would go, oh, okay, try it again. And then come back to me.

Kate  53:19  
A great example of that. So I did a time location chart, you know, like the the time base schedule with all the lines and I was super proud of myself. I sent it to a super and he goes, looks like my kid dumped pixie sticks on the floor, like all right. But then, but then I showed it to somebody else, and they had this like lightbulb moment and they're like, Oh my gosh, my my plan assumes that this trade is going to demobilize and remobilize like eight times, right? So it was just, you know, you have to find like what sticks and some people are gonna look at you sideways and say that you're working with Pixy Stix and some people are gonna like it.

Felipe Engineer  53:58  
Yeah, some people don't care that the trade has to move and demo, but they don't realize what that cost them to start productivity is taking a nosedive. Like we want to keep people on actively working. That's why tack time is amazing. location based scheduling is amazing. Oh, really good things out there.

Kate  54:15  
Katie Anderson attack. Those are like my two. They I've almost got some teams convinced to use it right now. It's all share it like a quick story. We have a project right now. It's a really complex renovation. And it's over budget had some staff change, right? It's it's challenging job. And I have no doubt that this team will get it done because they're amazing, and they're creative, and they're hard working. But it's it's a little bit of chaos right now. And like my type A personality, I want to be like, you guys have to use tact. And here look at these 8000 videos that Jason Schroeder is on. It's gonna be amazing. It's gonna be awesome, right? But they kind of don't have the headspace for that right now. So instead, we had this amazing discussion last week, about about Chaos and and calm and predictability and certainty and flow and roadblocks. And it was like, they engaged in this conversation. And so it's like I was, I'm trying to plant this little secret. I was like, here use this tool. They'll be like, I don't have time for that. But it was like, they they got there on their own. And it was it was like this amazing. Again, it's like a small win, like, nope, nobody in my company sees that, except for that room that I was in with these people. But like, for me, that was a huge win last week.

Felipe Engineer  55:29  
I mean, just to be able to talk about chaos and calm. Yeah, in a construction job. That's a win to nothing. I know, just bringing that conversation that's credible.

Kate  55:39  
It was it was it was really fun. And it was cool. And they were like they were into it. And they talked to me about it. So it was it was very refreshing. And what Sal will bring up again, the project manager is quite a bit younger than me. And the super, is quite a bit older than me. Right? And so it was like a really good mix of like, viewpoints. So it was, it was really fun. It was amazing. That was really, I hadn't even heard that story.

Felipe Engineer  56:04  
Yeah. small wins. She's like she's so into the weeds laughing at your emails that you're sending out these. Yeah, it's very well done.

Kate  56:13  
Felipe, I have to make a confession. So I in my terrible I don't even have Photoshop skills. But what I did is I took you know, Pennywise the clown when he's when he's looking out of the sewer great. And the kid What's his name? What's the kid's name? In any event, he's got like the yellow rain slicker on. And he's like, reaching down. And on the clown's head, I wrote EBFC. And then I wrote me. I was so scared, like coming into this this weekend. Like, that's how I feel today.

Felipe Engineer  56:44  
EBFC Pennywise. That is just lovely. But I had the same thing. A week ago, I was minding my wn business. And I got a text message from a superintendent. And it was like a picture of a conference room. Like way, zoom back. And he just says, What do you see? And I saw attack plan. And I instantly, like, sent him back, I hearted it, and then started blowing up my phone to finally call though. And he said, I tried it. And he's like the subcontractors loved it. He said, I'm having trouble convincing. My staff is like, but they just get it. I was like, subcontractors Get it? Because they know how to make money. Yeah. So they just they always get it.

Kate  57:25  
They maximise their ability to make money, you're gonna get better results. And if you show them like here, like I don't, I don't want to look at 35 pages of CPM schedule, right. And I know the schedule lady is saying that it's funny, but like, you can put that on one page, they can easily understand like, that is a huge win.

Felipe Engineer  57:40  
No, no, that's gonna be the clip. The schedule lady saying that's gonna be your hashtag. Yeah.

Kate  57:49  
We laugh. I laugh about these things a lot. Because I like I'm like, yeah, I'm the schedule lady. And it's like, and then I'm the person who's telling them to hold back and not add too much detail or try like, I don't want you to do a schedule. I want you to like literally color on a logistics plan what you're going to do and so every time I do that, I laughs I'm like the schedule lady is telling you not to do a schedule.

Felipe Engineer  58:07  
Oh, I gotta do a quick question. You Kate, on that note, yeah. says you're, you're telling people that and you're you're coming from that perspective? How do you feel about this question? So first, do you have this is not the question. Do you have teams doing last binder system or pull planning? We do? Yep. Okay. From your perspective, from the schedule ad? I'd like to get the official word. Okay. Should the activities on the pull plan? Go one for one in the CPM schedule? Yes or no? No? Yeah. Can you hear Jason smiling right now, wherever he is.

Kate  58:39  
It's not adding value. Right? It's there's there. If things are working, like they're supposed to the board speak for themselves. And you shouldn't have to pull it back into the CPA. Like, listen, CPM has a place, right? It's, it has, some people need that. But you know, if if the boards are working well, and they're communicating the information to people, and it's good. Again, we'll talk about fear. You know, it's scary people are so used to using a CPM schedule, that it's really scary at the prospect of not having that it's almost like a Binky, right. Like it's giving up your blankie and it's letting it stand on the wall. But you know, I actually had this conversation with a co worker of mine in New York last week, and she was like, Oh, I got to pull all this detail back in and I was like, challenge them a little bit and say that this this is not adding value, right. And if the boards are working, let them just hang on the wall and let people look at that. And that should give you everything you need. So.

Felipe Engineer  59:42  
Oh my god, I love that. Yeah, just made my day. Oh, that was awesome. Awesome. Millicent. Do you have something you want to add to that? No, I I'll leave you to it. Yeah, for people listening to the show when When the schedule lady was talking about how it's not value added, I was jumping up and down. So you want to watch this on YouTube to see me literally jumping up and down what she was saying. That was precious gate. Yeah. You're welcome. Thank you for today. Oh my god. So I want to ask, let's put millison in a tough spot, we're gonna ask her a hard question. You've moved around a lot. You've worked in a lot of different areas environments, you've got a very broad perspective that I think if I had to put a number on it, probably 99% of the people that work in the same place and never leave their hometown might not have What advice would you offer someone who feels like they're stuck and going nowhere,

Millicent  1:00:42  
I can relate to that feeling. So my thought process was I went back to that place. And then I thought about how I have gotten through it. Here's the Australian lady's advice, speak to someone adjacent to your environment. If you're in construction, and you're feeling stuck, you're work on a project, you can't figure it out, talk to the design team, talk to a trade, talk to the person that's going to operate that facility after you finished building it. And the reason why, to me, that's a very effective technique. One, again, it's always about talking to somebody else. But it helps you see your slice in the perspective of the grand scheme of the entire thing, where what you're doing has meaning and value to someone else further downstream, or a designer has spent months coming up with this design and poured their heart and soul into this concept. You're the person that's now creating it, making it tangible for them. And that means something to that person. So it helps take you a bit out of your head to zoom up and say there's a lot more going on here. My role is very critical. What else can I do then to try and unstick myself in that space, but you're going to get a bit more perspective class that I'm doing right now I, we listen to a TED talk about when you go into your head, you start to ask yourself, why why is this happening to me? Why am I struggling? And she the lady talking about this and said, The why stuff you spin into this vortex of yourself? And it's very hard to get out of it. And she said the people who successfully have that self awareness and the introspective mindset is you ask the question, what instead? What can I do to get myself out of here? What else can I learn to feel like I'm more successful, that I'm less of a? I know more than I think I do. What was the advice that my mentor gave me about a very similar situation that they were in. And so it's crazy that we're talking about this right now. And I only watched this video last night, but it's the it's the doing words the future focus rather than allowing yourself to get stuck in that space. And from what I've done, my traveling around, it's talking to so many different people and hearing their stories that's helped put things into perspective. For me. This is a bit of a morbid story. I don't know why I'm gonna say it, but it's gonna come out anyway. What can I What can I say you bring out the best of me, Philippe. When I lived in Abu Dhabi, one of the Prophet Muhammad's birthday, it's a long weekend and it got announced and I flew to Kathmandu for a long weekend. I just I wanted to go very drawn to the Nepalese environment. So I went there and one of these places is where they do the public cremations. So there are the bodies and the pyres and I burn and you get swept into the Ganges. And you can sit on the other side of the river and watch these things. And again, my design, Brian, it was very, quite cool to see that there's a bridge that runs through the middle to cross the water and on one side, it's water. So it's almost dammed up to the bridge, because that's where you wash the bodies before you burn them. On the other side. The other side is then the burning. And there was a young woman about my age who had died and her family was washing her body. And the sound that the mother was making. It was really sad and hard to watch. But it was there in front of me sitting, you're gonna have to convert two meters into feet and inches for me. But sitting about two meters away, was a family celebrating they were having a picnic right there. It was joyous and it was fantastic. And these two different feelings were side by side. It all kind of connects in this ecosystem of sometimes it's going to be bad and sometimes it's really going to be good, but you've got to see the big picture that it continues and there's more to it than just you. And that's the memory of that I think about when I get a bit stuck sometimes is that I'm still alive and there are people that I can talk to and great mentors that I have Through my travels of my careers, yeah, that's a bit of an odd story to say on a global podcast. But it's a good story.

Felipe Engineer  1:05:08  
I like that it's the cycle. It's Yes. Sometimes we forget, like, everyone knows a punk kid. In first working, I didn't think about that other side of the river. I was too focused on the right in front of me side. And when you're young, you don't have that perspective all the time to, to look forward. And be forward thinking you're just so in the right now. Yeah, I love that. Thank you for sharing that. milissa those beautiful. And I want to flip, flip the script again, Kate, and millison. You can ask me anything? And I will answer you. I gotta think for a second millison. You got one on top of mind?

Millicent  1:05:44  
Oh, yes, I do have one. And it ties to what we were talking about with continuous improvement, but then checking in and adjusting of all the improvements and the betterment ideas that you've heard in your career? Is there one that you've tracked and followed to then see how it has evolved and influenced our industry?

Felipe Engineer  1:06:04  
I think one of the most that's a great question, Nelson. And I have an answer, because that's just how I roll. One of the most prolific small ideas, and it's marketed very well. It's this idea from Paul Akers, who runs this fabrication shop of like a millwork specialty shop. And he's coined this phrase to second lien to second improvement. And he's traveled to Japan multiple times. And he's gone all over the world. And, and, you know, some people don't like his personality and his style, and some people love him and, and there's like a mix. It's like a good and a bad, but his idea when he had all those experiences, and his books are free, his videos are free. David has an app, so you can get his book for free. And the book is called to second lien. Yeah, he's got a free app, actually just downloaded it. There you go. So go to his YouTube channel as soon as we in this show. Yeah, before mine, I know. Yes.

It's okay. So, but Paul's idea. He's like, he's gone all around the world. And he says the same thing that we talked about, that it starts with the people. And the respect for people is so critical. But But the other part is because you're a person, and he has this. And he says it so well, what small thing you ask people set the bar really low, like really low. So you can easily just step over it and jump over it every day. There was a brilliant person that took this concept. So the answer is that two second improvement, that idea of just doing something to shave two seconds off of something you're doing, because you're doing it and your time is limited. Like, there are other times we're, you know, he talks about it longer. And I've heard other lean thinkers talking about this the same way like, we recognize that our time on earth is limited. And because it's limited, and we have this time, we need to take advantage of the time we have. It's the one resource we can't make more of. So that's one of the impetus is to action. Like why am I so obsessed with continuous improvement, it's because I am obsessed with living my life as fully as possible. I want to have a complete experience all of my senses. Some people have even called it marginal gains. We saw this with the UK, his biking team, when they went after they hired a new coach, I'm forgetting his name. And he said we're just going to make marginal gains every day. So they looked at the athletes and they had not won, they had never won a tour. And so they said, like, let's look at the pillows that the athletes sleep on. Let's let's get them the best pillow. And then let's have that pillow for them every hotel they stay at. So they always have a consistent sleep, that they looked at their gear. They're the showering the type of lotions and even special shampoos so that if they had allergies, they didn't have any kind of issue with their hair while they're riding a bike race and like, you know, simple little tweaks, they made all these little tiny tweaks, and then they won. And then they want again. And so that those little tiny tweaks, they went from never winning to winning. And it happened very fast. He said it would happen in five years. And he was wrong. I think it happened in three years. But those little improvements add up so quickly. There was another nerd Millicent that put this on LinkedIn. I can't remember who it was, but they showed one, it was the number one raised to an exponent, like a point 01. And they showed like over time, if you make and then someone decoded it to put it into like for non nerds. It's an exponential curve over time. If I do something better every week, like let's say I do one experiment a week, like just how I record my shows, or how I engage with project teams, or how I talk to new hires, or how I talk to high school kids that want to be YouTube superstars. If I come at them like the same way and don't change, my results will be 5050 lands that doesn't land. But if I if I do that reflect Give moment, like you said, like I have an event. And maybe I go contact somebody who was there, get some rapid feedback, make a tweak, and then do that every time I have a talk if I do that engagement, you know, 52 weeks a year because I don't take vacation. That's 52 times, I've made improvements in a year. So he right now, a year later, I'm 52 times improved from when I was at this time. So I think that is like so valuable. And people just miss that. I keep a journal, and it's just out of reach. I can't grab it from here. But in my journal, I write down like, I plan to do there, you have yours there. I plan to do this tomorrow. And Kate has hers to the three of us are all journaling. So like I'm always looking for those, like, what is the little thing I could do a little bit better. And I was watching even just the show, like I watched the first show, versus the last show just to see the contrast. And I saw I saw contrast. And I was like That's it, I'm doing it. And then the same with working with teams like we've had multimillion dollar impact. We've had billion dollars revenue impact on sales for our organization. For experiments that we started, just five years ago, we went from not being able to compete in a certain space, a high collaboration intensity to where the client is like, thank you. Right. That happened in less than five years. Yeah, so those little tiny gains are really what you want to go after. And, and what Paul says so eloquently is fixed. What bugs you he still says it tonight? I just watched a video this week. Hey, uh huh. Right, Kate fix? I think I'm frustrated. Yeah, Kate's on that same channel? Yeah. Okay, you have your question. Ready now?

Kate  1:11:43  
I want to hear about a risk that you've taken recently. I'm gonna I'm going after soft spot.

Felipe Engineer  1:11:48  
I think we're on this podcast, let's talk about the podcast. When when the pandemic hit, I used to speak at conferences, webinars in person things. And when pandemic had all that stopped, it just went to zero. They could imagine like, how can we do it like to pivot to do online? When you look back, it looks like it happened like that. But in reality, it took some organizations never pivoted, there were some conferences that just got canceled or postponed. And then some organizations did pivot. And one of the things that I was told, I had been encouraged. This was five years in the making Kate for five years, I had a friend telling me every year, you need to start a podcast, you need to start a podcast. Brittany, if you're out there, Brittany, thank you again for encouraging me, and never giving up on me because Brittany was relentless. Every time she talked to me, she said, the conversations you have with people are valuable, and people want to hear it. And she's like, just do it anyway, and you'll get better. She's like, I know you, you're gonna make it better. So then I launched the show. And I told my boss at the time, I said, Hey, I just want to let you know, I started this podcast, I didn't like ask for permission, because that's awkward. millison, you're, like you said, just do it first, I can really tell people you did it, right. So all of you out there that you're thinking about doing something, just do it. And then tell people you did it after you do it don't don't have intentions of doing something. I had had intentions of podcasting for five years, or not even my intention, somebody had intentions for me to do this for five years. And I finally gave in. And then when I did it, the first guest I talked to Josh, he was like, This is risky. For me. He's like, but I'll come on your show, because I know you and I trust you. And so I'll do it. And then we did it. And it was a huge risk. And I thought, you know, it's just gonna be me and Josh, that watch this, right? Because we're both in it. And so that's like, all we're gonna have, and that first show was a huge risk. And I even talked to some people in my company, and they, you know, a lot of them, you know, on the first one when nobody was watching, because in the beginning, nobody's watching their responses to me. We're like, met other like, that's cute. Or, you know, in the beginning, in the beginning, that's what it was, like, I kept at it. I remember the reaction. You know, what it meant to Josh and what it meant to me and the things that we talked about help people. I mean, I had a review, just yesterday that someone said, You're not just some GC trying to win work. I published that review. I was like, Yeah, I was like and would work anyway. But But that's not the intent of the show. So that was a huge risk, and even people in my family. Not everybody in my family said you should do this like so it could have been a complete flop and a fail. And so that was risky. And my reputation. I guess I didn't even factor that. I just had a need. I had to do it that I had missed that that outlet was gone, where I can connect with people, share my stories inspire other people that had vanished because of the pandemic. It was a great day. Yeah, that's a great catalyst to more fully pay back and to share and it's still it's it's even risky now. Kate, it's not It's not less risky today than it was when I first started. Like, people don't understand why I do the show like it's in the tagline why the show exists, but it's tough to say it out loud. Like, we want to help people see that you can actually work easier and better. And a lot of the things that people are sharing, like the things that you guys are sharing, it's out there in the public domain, but people need to see themselves in it. They have to hear other human beings. And then find like you said, I think you guys perfectly said it, find your tribe. There are people that are interested in having better experiences and every single organization, every single family there, there are not complete tribes of curmudgeons. There are not complete tribes of people trying to preserve some nostalgic view of history and time capsule, the whole world and just like, you know, like the boss in the Lego Movie, trying to micromanage and superglue everything to stop at the perfect his idea of perfection. There those people exist, they're out there, but there are way more people that want to have a good experience and actually enjoy being alive. Those are the people.

Millicent  1:16:07  
I think they do. They'll go off and do those things. And we'll be over here having a blast doing something pretty amazing.

Felipe Engineer  1:16:15  
Wilson's whole computer just like exploded. Yeah, just like happened. Yeah, her screen. I saw it here it went it blipped purple. She was so concerned about the purple, or video blip purple. Then she was just yeah, and then it just shut off. She knew what was gonna happen. It just wasn't in her glasses. She's like, but it has been a pleasure.

Kate  1:16:41  
She is like really, I'm gonna gush about her when she's gone. She's such an amazing addition to our resource or to our company I just did, the perspective that she brings and the like she gives so freely over time. Her and I connecting has been like one of the high points of the last year in my career. So I'll tell her, I said that I can tell.

Felipe Engineer  1:17:02  
This is being recorded. This is being recorded. Okay, I'll make sure she gets it.

Kate  1:17:06  
Well, if there was if there was a time to have technical difficulties, at least it was at the very, very end today was a blast. I had said earlier that this was something that was scary and new for me. And I just I really enjoyed being able to talk about what we do and talk about it in a fun way. And we made a new little tribe today. So I thank you for for allowing me into your tribe and I look forward for what's to come next.

Felipe Engineer  1:17:34  
Yeah, thank you. Okay. You're always welcome in my tribe. You want me to jump up and down? Okay. That's the first that's the show first. Yep.

Kate  1:17:44  
All right. Well, Felipe, I thank you. On behalf of both Millicent and I thank you for today. You had a lot of fun.

Felipe Engineer  1:17:49  
Very special thanks to my guest. I'm Felipe EngineerManriquez. The EBFC show is created by Felipe and produced by a passion to build easier and better. Thanks for listening. Stay safe, everybody. Let's go build!

Kate Simons

Director of Scheduling and Controls

Her passion is learning, coaching, and continuous improvement. Through her role as Director of Scheduling and Controls at Shawmut Design and Construction, you can find her talking about flow, predictability, human connection, quality, creating value, and helping people translate plans and ideas into action. She is incredibly lucky in that she gets an almost daily opportunity to help jobsite teams better leverage their individual strengths, solve problems and communicate more effectively.

Kate specializes in Collaborative Planning, Scheduling, and Team Alignment/Communication. She recently volunteered to re-kickstart the New England Lean COP and has spent the last year trying new and scary experiences [like being on a podcast].

Millicent Drabble

Manager of Construction Operations

A proud poetic pragmatist, Millicent Drabble firmly believes in the power combination of being technically skilled, people savvy, and curious. With a career in the built environment that encompasses design, construction, operations, and maintenance across five countries, she knows that project management and risk management are unifying dialects across stakeholders, cultures, currency, and expectations. It’s collaborating with and learning from a diverse array of people that really gets Millicent excited, and in her role as Manager of Construction Operations for Shawmut Design and Construction’s West Region, she relishes the ability to do this, not only within the organization but with peers in the industry through the Urban Land Institute.

Having (almost) mastered the art of embracing uncertainty as a global nomad, Millicent leverages her leadership identity to inspire people and teams by nurturing the confidence required to fail and evolve – we are in the business of problem-solving after all!