A Story of Collaboration Stemming from Congress

A Story of Collaboration Stemming from Congress

We spoke with Greg Lusignan, Vice President, Lean Champion with Broadmoor L.L.C., and Melanie Gilbertson, Production Support Director with Flintco, about their Lean collaboration across organizations. Stemming from a 2023 Flintco presentation at Congress, Broadmoor team members were inspired by Flintco’s approach to Lean and reached out to learn more. It’s resulted in a long-term, productive relationship where both organizations benefit from Lean innovation together.

Dive into this exchange which captures the spirit of collaboration and community you’ll find at Congress—and why participants keep coming back each year!

Our Interviewees

Greg Lusignan, Vice President, Lean Champion, Broadmoor L.L.C.

Greg has been with Broadmoor for 28 years with over 10 years’ experience in Lean Construction. He launched the LCI New Orleans CoP in 2017 and has attended every LCI Congress since 2015. He was on the 2022 Congress Planning Committee and has presented multiple times at Congress.

Melanie Gilbertson, Production Support Director, Flintco

Melanie started her personal Lean journey in 2009 and has supported Flintco’s Lean journey since 2016. Melanie has presented at Congress, served as a Congress Champion, and was on the 2019 Congress Planning Committee. She has delivered multiple LCI Oklahoma CoP lectures and presentations over the last several years and has been a guest host for Flintco Talks and other industry podcasts.

The overview.

Flintco’s 2023 Congress presentation inspired Broadmoor’s team, which was already a high-performing Lean organization, to define not only what Lean success looks like with a formalized LeanFORWARD initiative and KPIs, but how these initiatives can be repeated throughout the organization, project-to-project. The presentation resulted in Broadmoor’s recommitment to Lean and further collaboration on Lean practices between Broadmoor and Flintco.

The Congress presentation that inspired it all.

We asked Greg what inspired Broadmoor to reach out to Flintco regarding their Lean practices:

The idea came from Flintco,” Greg said. “It started with the 2022 Congress in New Orleans. As a company, we sent 27 people that year. Michael Park, Broadmoor VP of Field Operations, returned to Congress in 2023 and attended the Flintco presentation, Our Enterprise-wide Journey to Digital LPS Documentation, and a spark was reignited.

Before we went to Congress, we got together and ironed out some goals. A big one was defining what we wanted Lean to look like moving forward. When Michael attended the presentation and came back saying how much it fit as a structure to define what Lean should look like at Broadmoor, we agreed wholeheartedly. After Congress, we started to define what we wanted to do moving forward.”

The Flintco team was happy to share their Lean journey, what they learned, and best practices with the Broadmoor team, which drew inspiration from Flintco’s Lean2.0® program, a system-based approach of 5 standard practices designed to support the Last Planner System®, plus an elective practice selected by the project team. Broadmoor ultimately created the campaign of LeanFORWARD and the implementation of its Lean KPI Team 5+1 (5 main tools and 1 elective), selecting the 5 main tools based on Lean practices that had proven successful on past Broadmoor projects: Last Planner System, Gemba walks, 3S, Conditions of Satisfaction, and Big Room.

Lean is about learning from others.

Our interviewees share what they believe is a key element of Congress—the willingness of one organization to share their Lean journey and another organization to listen (with humility), identifying room for improvement within their own.

“Some might have said this is another general contractor, so we should guard our methods closely,” Melanie said. “However, our Lean philosophy encourages transparency and knowledge sharing. That’s why we believe in going to Congress and learning from others. This openness helps strengthen the whole industry. It’s encouraging that our industry peers found what we had to say insightful. From our executive team to our Lean coaches, we all share a sense of accomplishment knowing that another organization thought Flintco’s approach was valuable enough to adopt and make their own.”

Both organizations share similarities in their Lean thinking and approach.

Greg and Melanie agree that in their organizations, there is no resistance from top-down around the concept of Lean. Their leadership teams are completely on board, which makes their journey sustainable. Borrowing from a statement in Flintco’s Ethos, Melanie added, “Complacency is not part of Lean culture. You must plan for continuous improvement.”

“We are all struggling together,” Greg said. “Another similarity we noticed is how we view Lean as far as adding to our other priorities. Safety, quality control, schedule, budget, productivity, all benefit so strongly from running a Lean project and Lean construction. We are aligned with where we are going as companies.”

The importance of the post-Congress debrief/wrap session.

Greg and Melanie shared how they bring their Congress takeaways back to their organizations.

It’s two-fold,” Greg said. “Everyone who attends has established goals prior to Congress. We get back together for a couple-hour session and do a start/stop/keeps as far as Lean practices, main takeaways, and any other improvements that attendees share for us to implement.”

“After the 2022 Congress, we created a Lean committee,” he added. “We presented our findings to the whole company and coined the LeanFORWARD campaign. We had lots of momentum. We took that into 2023 to develop the Team 5+1, including KPI checklists. We celebrate milestones and use the 6 Working Genius tool to ensure we are building strong cohesive teams. We’re rolling out more. We will complete training on Team 5 + 1 by the end of the 2nd quarter.”

Comprised of 15 members this year, we built a Lean2.0® Steering Committee with the expectation that everyone would attend Congress at some point,” Melanie said. “We conduct a debrief at Congress and then our steering committee discusses our Lean strategic plan. We consider whether to modify our Lean strategy based on what we heard.”

Their reasons for coming back to Congress each year.

Both agreed that as they’ve continued their Lean journey and their career roles have evolved, they’ve always gained value from Congress attendance.

Since first attending Congress in 2017, I’ve established a network of talented individuals that I can collaborate with, many of which I’ve remained friends with throughout the years and look forward to seeing at Congress,” Melanie said. “It’s nice to meet people you don’t compete with and can talk freely to about what we’re doing. I’ve gained Broadmoor as a peer group as well. It’s great to make and keep these connections from attending Congress.”

“I find inspiration in being around people who are enthusiastic about learning new things and sharing what they’ve learned,” Melanie added. “I like having the opportunity to get out of the day-to-day and think on new challenges and strategize solutions.”

“My initial motive for attending Congress was to benchmark what we were doing compared to our peers,” she said. “Now I’m in a leadership role and it’s about cultivating a progressive mindset in others and encouraging them not to be complacent. It’s about collaborating to raise the bar collectively. Each time I attend Congress, it renews my excitement and pride to be a member of this industry. It’s always a positive experience.”

“It started in 2015 in Boston,” Greg said. “I had so much to learn. It’s like drinking from a firehose to take it all in. Now we go in with more focus and key goals and steer our training and presentations that we attend based on those goals. It’s about where we are trying to grow as a company. It’s fun to bring new people and help steer them on their Lean journey. They call me the Grandpa of Lean! The energy that results from our Congress attendance every year is meaningful for us as a company. It helps sustain us and keep us going. It’s been a catalyst for lots of the improvements we’ve done. Many people are interested in going and participating. It builds comraderies among our team as well. It’s been great for us.”

Save the date for the 2024 LCI Congress, October 22-25, in San Diego, California, where you can find new partners, peer groups, and inspiration to drive you and your organization forward. Registration opens June 17!