Overcoming challenges to deliver clients’ objectives
SafeLane’s projects are often complex and involve hundreds of moving parts.
Challenges will inevitably arise - but ensuring peace of mind and project delivery for clients are SafeLane’s international Project Executives.
Yesterday we met the team, today we learn about the challenges they’ve overcome
Mel: For international operations, dealing with inevitable language barriers is a challenge that always arises. Between the team we speak some Spanish, Italian and French.
Within the wider HQ team, we also have German, Arabic and even Mandarin speakers…so we are adept at overcoming communications hurdles!
It’s also challenging supporting multiple proposals and maintaining current operations. Prioritisation of tasks is essential for handling this effectively.
Having good comms within our team is also incredibly helpful as it enables us to support each other to ensure everything that needs to be done is completed on time every time.
Bryony: To expand on the point Mel has raised there, I would definitely say that prioritization of tasks and time management is one of the main challenges we have to overcome in order to succeed as a PE. When working on a proposal for a new contract, we must ensure that support to our current projects is maintained too. This can be quite a juggling act at times, especially if major project milestones are occurring simultaneously across different projects.
Kelly: Creating a successful and smooth-running project to me is all about understanding the realities of the project on the ground. To do that, I try to ensure I’m constantly building professional and personal relationships with as many people in my teams as possible- particularly field management. However, relying on internet connections with Skype and WhatsApp comms can make things at times particularly frustrating.
However, this is a key area where I think SafeLane’s project delivery differs. The contact hours we maintain and the relationships we build ensure everyone feels as supported as possible.
By putting in the effort to get to know the team outside of work, finding out about their families, how they got into the EOD/C-IED/canine field of work and finding ways to make their time in country easier can slowly erode any barriers.
I was lucky enough to meet my Logistics Manager working in Darfur, Sudan during a lay-over in Istanbul airport. Not only did we get to chat over a coffee and some Baklava, I got to show him how I would review some of the project documentation that he sends over to me monthly, and this has made the process easier and faster for both of us. I also now feel that we can check up on how each other is doing, and this can really boost morale after a long and busy day!
Alice: Juggling a busy workload across a varied portfolio comes with its challenges. Luckily, the team will all support each other. We have our weekly toolbox talks in place too.
Skills sharing and support with toolbox talks - Bryony explains:
Bryony: Our toolbox talks are an opportunity for the PE team to openly discuss our individual focuses for the week, what we are working on and what challenges we are facing.
This allows us to use each other as a sounding board, to share experiences of similar situations to advise and support each other in tackling operational challenges.
We also discuss workload and distribute tasks across the group if one of us is particularly busy that week.
Continual professional development
Challenges can arise at any stage of project delivery; the Project Executives help support field operatives and HQ staff overcome any challenges they face.
The PEs also lean on each other, swap tips, and learn together to ensure their professional skills are continually developing.
It’s not your average job and Mel, Bryony, Alice and Kelly are not average people either – they are as exceptional as the level of service that SafeLane’s international teams deliver every day.