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Teams are rising in the rankings, teams are falling in the rankings, with the range of improvement large. By inspection the most spectacular rises amongst the top twenty in the rankings are: AECOMmanders up 39 places; MMB1 (Mott Mac Bentley) up 26 places; CurtLUSH (Curtins) up 24 places; Sweco Solihull up 19 places; Easy as ABV (Black and Veatch) up 17 places; and MOTTly Crew ( MOttMac) up 15. These movements reflect the range of improvement in the performance score which has a high of 26% achieved by KBR's Highwaymen. So good improvements are possible with the average of positive improvements being over 14%. The standard deviation of positive improvements of 7% indicates the great range of performances. Amongst the top six there are two newcomers, two improving their position and two slipping a little.
This analysis indicates great turbulence in the performances. This suggests that not all teams may not be as disciplined as they could be. There will be more significant changes to come in the remaining rounds.
The tutorial helps guide teams on their decisions and deals with the mechanics and the calculations and the relationships between the various factors. These must be understood. There are too many for each team member to deal them all in the time frame, but with tasks allocated amongst each team member they should have clearly defined responsibilities. The team members must be an expert in their area of responsibility. In other words, the team member is an individual specialist. The individual team member needs to understand all aspects of the input to the decisions for which they are responsible.
At the Board meeting, when taking decisions, the team members (ie Board Directors) need to present clear proposals with good sound reasoning, which the Board needs to synthesise. The CEO and Board should interrogate each Director to test that their recommendations are soundly based and have not been arrived at on a casual basis. In this way, the quality of each suggested decision is evaluated.
The eventual decisions may well be compromises. The test is the common, good not an individual Director's own position. This is teamwork in action. This all requires leadership. The question raised before is whether your leadership is strong enough to ensure that each team member is making a good contribution. Is teamwork happening? Is each decision interrogated and tested? Are the final decisions sound and well understood? No decision should be taken without the consequences and the risks being understood. These are the key lessons from the MERIT experience: disciplined decision making; teamwork and leadership, they all go together. Anything less will not succeed and will make the road ahead very bumpy.
The Sponsor's Award for Sponsors with three or more teams entered has its own league table currently the rankings are Atkins India, KBR, Sweco UK, AECOM, Atkins UK, Fluor, Kier, Mott MacDonald, Arup, Taylor Woodrow/Vinci, Wood and Capita. With only 10% separating the top ten.
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Teams are still learning and teams are still developing their strategy. Don't take too long, some may get there quicker.
There are many decisions to be made each round. These decisions are all interdependent. Making good judgements for all, or for most of the decisions, is what will improve performance. Good decisions require balance, there is always a down side. Too much on overheads drives up costs, too little on overheads will have consequence on jobs to bid for, estimating capacity, cash recovery ability, general efficiency.
Balanced decision making takes judgement. Judgement requires data and information from each team member and teamwork to make the right compromises. This will take organisation. Each team member is a director and has an individual responsibility. Each director should come to the decision-making meeting, whether real or virtual, well prepared and informed. One director not doing their homework is letting the company down. What does the Company Chairman (ie Team leader) do with an underperforming fellow Director? What would happen in real life? Discipline will range from severe reprimands to sackings even or especially from within MERIT!
Once at the meeting each director should act for the common good not just their individual section, this is teamwork. Organisation, discipline, teamwork requires leadership. Make sure yours is strong enough.
One key metric to watch that it doesn’t drift is the turnover to capital ratio. If your capital isn't working hard enough, that is it should be supporting a higher turnover, then you should find better things to do with it. This advice should be coming from your Finance Director.
At this stage of MERIT 2018 we expect unrest with a great range in the percentage improvement. The ranking isn't stable, and there will be more upheaval to come, but getting the decisions balanced will improve ranking. Maybe the tortoises chasing the hares will demonstrate this.
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The search for the 28th MERIT Champions has started. It will be competitive with 38 companies entering teams from 10 countries.
The results from the first round are not good predictors of the eventual outcome given the turbulence that will develop. Everyone is still learning, and the competition will intensify. A good start is always helpful and greatly encouraging to the teams.
The main purpose of MERIT is learning and training extending knowledge of those with a predominately technical education in company, business and financial management. MERIT also develops, what might be called, the 'soft' skills of disciplined decision making, team work and leadership. MERIT decisions are too numerous and the data too extensive and the timescale too short for an individual hence to succeed and requires a team acting as a Board of Directors to manage their simulated company. To achieve disciplined decision making requires teamwork and teamwork requires leadership. Each Director responsible for their own area needs to do the research necessary to understand the consequences of the decisions they recommend. A meeting (real or virtual) is needed to agree the decisions submitted, this will require compromise for the greater good of the company, this is teamwork. Achieving teamwork is harder than it sounds hence the need for leadership. The record shows that it is the lessons from these soft skills that last the longest and support the individuals through their career development. MERIT will give an insight to the pressures of senior level management it is an opportunity to think like directors, act like directors, be directors. This experience will influence future training and development choices. A casual approach will no provide full benefits or succeed. Every participant, not just the winners, benefits greatly as MERIT's long record demonstrates.
The leading six teams after round 12 will qualify for the final and face an even more competitive experience. The final will be held on 17/18 May at Loughborough University's prestigious hotel and conference centre Burleigh Court. For the finalists we will provide the opportunity to 'live like directors!'
In these early rounds teams are working out the market level that will produce winning bids. Compromises and judgements in the decision discussions will include the 'Marketing Budget'. Does your Company invest heavily in marketing to generate many bidding opportunities or do you manage your overheads more carefully?
Getting the marketing budget right will provide bidding opportunities. The judgement needed is If you bid too low you may win a lot of contracts, but this will generate little or no profits to pay interest on borrowed capital, or to retain for company growth, or to be able to pay dividends to shareholders. The Company's finances will deteriorate. On the other hand, bidding too high won't produce any contracts and the Company's finances will deteriorate even quicker!
Good luck to all teams in MERIT 2018 but disciplined decision making, teamwork and leadership will reduce the need for luck!
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After many requests, we've extended the Registration deadline to 28 February. So with just over 2 weeks left to go before Registration for MERIT 2018 now closes, it's not too late to enter the only Annual International Construction Business game supported by The Institution of Civil Engineers and The Chartered Institute of Building.
Teams representing over 30 companies have already Registered, and are Trialling hard using the online software. If you are one of these teams, why not get more colleagues involved for a bit of in-house rivalry, and the chance for your company to claim the Sponsors award.
For your chance to become the MERIT 2018 Champion and win the £5,000 cash prize...
Registration now closes: 28 February 2018
If you're having trouble getting hold of the all-important Purchase Order Number needed to complete the registration, please Pre-register NOW!
Pre-registering for MERIT 2018 gives you access to the trialling phase while you chase up the PO number that we need to confirm your place in the main Game.
You can also Register and pay by Debit/Credit Card.