3 Invaluable Lessons from Judy Ross
- You have to take every situation as a learning experience so you can evolve over time.
- Everyone in the department should have a role, and the department should be inclusive.
- Partnering is a great way to get or keep a project on track and meet goals.
This week, host Sue Dyer speaks with Judy Ross about how to make a project successful and develop the strengths of your team.
Welcome to episode 22 Construction Nation! This is Sue Dyer, your host of Construction Dream Team; where I interview industry leaders and experts so you can learn about the people side of construction and build your construction dream team based on OPE – Other People’s Experiences. Accelerate your success by learning from those who have already been there and done that!
I’m so excited because now Construction Dream Team has a LinkedIn Group. I’ve been doing these interviews now for a few months and what I’ve realized is that we don’t have a place to continue the conversations. We have a great interview and we learn so much, but there is no place to answer questions or talk and chat. We will be doing that on our LinkedIn Group. To make it easier for you to join the group we’ve created a webpage where you can click and join. Go to CDTlinkedin.com you can join the group and join the conversation. We are really looking forward to having some events – some of our guests will join us and we will have a dialogue. It is a place for you to ask Sue questions, ask the CDT podcast guests questions, and to tell us what you would like to hear about.
About Guest Judy Ross (1:55)
Judy Ross is the Assistant Director of Aviation at San Jose International Airport. Judy served as the interim Assistant Director of Aviation since 2017 and Deputy Director of Aviation for the Planning and Development Group since 2015. Judy’s experience includes managing the administrative functions of the Airport Director’s office, as well as the five airport divisions: Operations, Facilities and Engineering, Finance, Planning and Development, and Business Development.
Judy’s Journey to Becoming the Assistant Director of Aviation at San Jose Int’l Airport (3:30)
- Faith has been in airports since she graduated from college (3:35)
- Faith tells a story about her very first project at her very first airport (4:00)
- She wanted to return to California and was offered the position of Deputy of Planning Development at Mineta San Jose International Airport (6:00)
Judy’s Strengths as a Leader (7:30)
- Her focus is on the people, creating a team atmosphere, and having fun along the way (7:42)
- She studied the people she felt were great leaders (8:05)
- Take every situation as a learning experience so you can evolve yourself (8:15)
- Everyone has a strength, you just have to find their strength and channel it in the right direction (9:05)
Judy’s Vision When She Became the Head of Planning and Design (10:48)
- When she arrived, she met with every member of the team individually and asked what was working, what was not, and what their goals were (12:35)
- She wanted to restructure the focus of the division to reflect what they do, not division titles (13:28)
- She wanted project delivery to be the key focus of what they did (14:00)
What Judy did to Articulate Her Vision to Her Team (15:40)
- She used feedback from her team and outlined their responsibilities (15:48)
- She brought changes forward to the Assistant Director and Director of the Department and got their buy-in (16:00)
- She structured a roll-out plan meeting with employees individually, to the division, and then to the whole department (16:40)
What Judy’s Roll-Out Plan Looked Like (18:15)
It was important that she met with the team individually and found out how she could help them through the transition. The division-wide meeting was important so people could hear each other’s questions and leadership’s answers. And finally, the message to the department was also important for change buy-in.
How to Know That What You’ve Set Out to do is Successful (22:15)
- When employees self-identify as working for the new initiative (22:50)
- When employees love their jobs and look forward to work (23:10)
- When every person is assigned a role and on the same page and agreeing to the same goals (24:02)
What’s on the Horizon in Judy’s Future and for Her Team (25:50)
They’re looking for a Deputy that’s the right fit for the division so they can continue growing and prepare for a larger capital program. She wants to have the team members ready for any future leadership programs.
About the San Jose Airport (30:00)
The Airport’s primary market is Silicon Valley but also Monterrey County and inland valley areas. The markets economic growth has allowed significant passenger growth over the past three years and is continuing to grow. The Airport expects to hit 15 million passengers by the end of the year. With growth comes challenges – they are gate constrained, they are looking to expand their terminal, and they want to be prepared to deliver on their projects.
The Biggest Challenge Judy Has Faced in Her Career (32:58)
She had a project from the start that didn’t have good scope and she had to dive deep into the project and stay there because the project manager was never aligned. They went through two bidding processes before getting a valid bid. The contractor wanted to pull off the project and Judy asked for two weeks to come up with a new plan, and she implemented partnering. The project ended on time and on budget and the team won a Diamond Level International Partnering Institute John L. Martin Partnering Project of the Year Award in 2017.
The Best Advice Judy Has Ever Gotten (38:00)
It’s better for change to be evolutionary rather than revolutionary. It’s about getting people’s buy-in and that doesn’t occur overnight. Measure your path over time and you will see success. There may be times for revolutionary change but use it sparingly because it can be very disruptive to an organization.
Resources for Listeners
- Our Iceberg is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions (affiliate link) by John Kotter
- IPI Magazine and IPI Conference
Contact Judy on LinkedIn
Judy’s Parting Advice (42:55)
- It’s all about the people you work with, always put the people first (43:03)
- Use your own resources, discuss challenges with a mentor or respected friend (43:18)
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Remember…Construction Dream Team drops every Monday morning at 4 am PST. Please join us next week when Sue will interview another industry leader or expert so you can learn how to create your Construction Dream Team!