Published on:

15th Jul 2019

Finding Opportunity in Team Conflict with Sue Dyer

My guest this week is Sue Dyer. Sue has been a leader in the construction industry for over 30 years. That industry is one known for being rife with conflict among stakeholders working on projects in the 8, 9, or even 10 figure ranges. Cleaning up that conflict is Sue’s life’s work. Through her company, OrgMetrics, and supported by her podcast, Construction Dream Team, she is working to change the culture of construction from combative to collaborative. She has served as Executive Director for 10 different construction trade associations, and founded two 501 c3 nonprofits.

During her interview Sue tells us how she adapted a positive money mindset at a young age, how she came to be in the construction industry, and stories from her early triumphs leading trade associations. She then dives into conflict resolution, and explains the things she has learned and what her consulting organization preaches to get results and change the construction industry.


Places to Find Sue:

On LinkedIn @SueDyer

Podcast – Construction Dream Team


Show Notes:

[3:30] minute: What was the mindset around money and success that was instilled in you as a child?

  • Grew up middle class with parents who had lived very different lives; she was able to learn from both types of circumstances and both types of mindsets.
  • First job before high school, graduated high school a year early, and bought her first house at age 20. 
  • “I know I can create it, and I know I can control it.”

[5:30] minute: So tell me the story of how you got into the construction industry?

  • Had construction and development in her family history, so she always loved it.
  • Opportunity came to be executive director of a construction trade organization in California.
  • It was near bankruptcy, but Sue got them in the black within three months. 
  • Had to change the culture; had to convince different construction groups that beating each other wasn’t the answer and they should be working together instead.
  • Used this as a launching pad that eventually led to her consulting agency.

[11:30] minute: How does the collaboration play into your consulting work now, what are you doing for these firms?

  • Engage the owner, designer, and contractor to make an executive team that will commit to being successful. 
  • Using group set goals with tracking mechanisms for progress. 
  • Working to get alignment across the organization; reduce complexity.

[16:15] minute: That co-creation seems key to getting buy-in from people, would you agree?

  • People don’t argue with what they helped to create.
  • Have to be a part of the creation to get them to buy in fully.

[17:00] minute: How should entrepreneurs approach conflict within their team?

  • Non-adversarial. Use the Aikido approach.

[19:00] minute: When you have a team with big personalities and ideas people, communication can be a big problem, so how can we communicate better to avoid these conflict within teams?

  • Don’t be so inwardly focused, look outward. A lot of the conflict comes from that internal focus.
  • Some conflict is glorious conflict, it’s necessary. 

[21:20] minute: Where is the opportunity in conflict?

  • If you don’t judge it as being bad then it will push you to somewhere an opportunity is open, and you never would have seen it before.
  • Transform any conflict into opportunity based on how you approach it.

[24:30] minute: I came across an article you wrote and one of the points that stuck out to me was you said in conflict it is always personal, can you expand on that?

  • Whatever the conflict is about, it isn’t really about. It’s ALWAYS about something personal related to what has happened.
  • Too often people want to make people wrong. The truth is that they are probably right, and they are right from their perspective, but we are not willing to listen to their perspective to see that they are right. 

[27:15] minute: Any final tips around dealing with conflict and different personalities for our listeners?

  • Don’t judge conflict too quickly. There is a hidden possibility, make sure to wait and see it.


Do Well & Do Good Challenge Nominee:

International Partnering Institute

Website | Web Description:

The International Partnering Institute (IPI) is a member-focused 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

Comprised of more than 150 member organizations, we serve Owners, CM Firms, Designers, Contractors, and Facilitators. Our mission is to transform the construction industry to achieve exceptional results through a culture of collaboration.

IPI Provides the Following:

Education: We bring the Construction Partnering model to new agencies, organizations, and academic institutions to broaden their understanding of Construction Partnering as a means to improve construction project outcomes. Our regular virtual forums engage members with innovative topics on Construction Partnering.

Research and Development: We conduct research to increase the body of knowledge on Construction Partnering and develop tools that the industry can use to improve project delivery.

Recognition: We recognize teams who achieve exceptional outcomes through Construction Partnering by highlighting their success stories in our newsletter and Partnering Magazine and by honoring them at our Annual IPI Partnering Awards Ceremony.

Guidance: We guide our members by connecting them with a network of mentors, and by providing them access to research and other resources.

Facilitator Certification and Professional Development: We certify the experience of facilitators who demonstrate their qualifications and knowledge of Construction Partnering. We also provide a forum for professional development to improve standards of practice in Construction Partnering.

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About the Podcast

Do Well & Do Good
Create Success. Power Positivity.
This podcast tells the stories of people who have created financial freedom and leveraged it to increase their positive impact on the world.