Session 1: Working Together

Date: October 6, 2017
Location: District Center Roof Terrace, 555 12th Street, Washington, DC 20004
Led by: Alison Pavilonis and Adam Davie
Sponsors: HITT Contractors and MetLife
Session Downloads: Session 01 Guide


Alison Pavilonis and Adam Davie organized Session #1, “Working Together,” which was held at the District Center Roof Terrace. Adam gave a brief project history of the District Center building and its current renovation. The three presentations focused on multiple pathways to enable self-awareness through personality traits, diffusing and resolving conflicts within a team, and realizing potential pitfalls when trying to get a group consensus.  Prior to the session, the team was given the OCEANs-Big 5 Personality Survey and Tolerance for Ambiguity, which was analyzed by our first speaker, Julie Broad. Small group sessions with panelists Christian Zazzali, Matt Robinson, Jim Landau, and Scott Silveste, who represented stakeholder views from the owner, contractor, and consultant perspective, provided the opportunity to share and learn from each other’s personal experiences. Finally, the group learned how powerful transparency and a dollar can be through a real-time negotiation exercise led by Holly Ellis and Ali Fernandez.

Presentation #1 – Psychological Capital

Julie Broad, the founder of Organizational Sciences, LLC, and The Positive Organizational Behavior Institute, led an engaging conversation that defined untapped Psychological Capital (PC). Through her work with DHS and FEMA, she demonstrated the benefits of building up PC in order to increase resilience, self-awareness, and health and well-being. Ms. Broad stressed the importance of understanding ourselves both as an individual and as part of a team. She also outlined the HERO model:

  • H: Hope -Build hope by setting and maintaining goals using multiple pathways
  • E: Efficacy -Build efficacy (confidence) by going with natural passion
  • R: Resilience -Increase resilience by identifying creative pathways; reflect on assets vs. risks
  • O: Optimism – Increase optimism by positive self-talk and emotions

The group further learned about individual and team member traits by taking the OCEANs Big 5 Personality and Tolerance for Ambiguity survey.  Every personality has a place and a time, in a team.

Presentation/Activity #1 Photo

Presentation #2 – Round Table Discussion – The Architect’s Role: Working together with team members and stakeholders

Four professionals representing the viewpoints of a building owner, a contractor, and a consultant, discussed the architect’s role in facilitating conflict resolutions. Christian Zazzali, Vice President at HITT Contracting, discussed examples of finding paths to compromise and reaching solutions as a team, in lieu of leaving details to means and methods. Scott Silvester, Associate Principal at Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc., has dealt with complex structural designs and echoed Mr. Zazzali’s sentiment. Mr. Silvester shared a personal experience where honesty and acknowledging his own mistake eliminated the blame game and enabled the project team to come up with a quick solution.  Matt Robinson, Principal at MRP Realty, highlighted the process of getting to the root of a problem.  With his experience in the real estate industry and multi-family residential, Mr. Robinson shared a case study of how multiple floods in a building were resolved swiftly. Jim Landau, Director at MetLife Real Estate, added that good communication and collaboration leads to strong relationships that continue over multiple projects. The conversation continued through rotating small group discussions with each presenter. The conclusion, not everything drawn is buildable, but by working together towards a solution and showing kindness, one can establish a long-lasting relationship for the future.

[Presentation/Activity #2 Photo]

Presentation #3 – Activity: System in a Room

The last activity of the day, called “System in a Room,” was led by Holly Ellis and Alejandra Fernandez, both Senior Associates at Jones Lang LaSalle. Ms. Ellis and Ms. Fernandez have conducted this activity for various clients including businesses and other CKLDP classes. The goal of “System in a Room” is to challenge one’s ideals, pre-conceptions, and problem-solving skills. Participants each contributed $1 and were given pieces of paper with numbers or letters written on them. The four people (“management”) with letters were told to leave the room and were given instructions behind closed doors. If they got the remaining people “workers” to get in sequential order, then everyone would get $1.50. If they should fail, everyone would lose their money. The “workers” were given specific instructions as well: stay in their seats and keep their number.  If not, they would lose their dollars.  After re-entering the room and revealing the instructions given to them, “management” used transparency and honesty to win over the “workers” after a long, back and forth discussion. With five minutes remaining, the “workers” agreed to move and get in sequential order.  Ms. Ellis then mentioned that less than 5% of groups have success in getting the “workers” to move, which prompted a thoughtful Q & A. Despite culture, history, and pre-conceptions, this particular group succeeded through immediate, open communication and persistent transparency.

[Presentation/Activity #3 Photo]