The maturity of systematic approaches to the management and leadership of the £multi-million project was significantly raised enabling our client to demonstrate best practice approaches to their client.

Note: This Case Study is presented as indicative of a range of major civil engineering projects in which we have implemented Performance Leadership, whilst remaining pertinent to a particular client.


Our client was an international engineering and construction group involved in the development of a wide range of £multi-million infrastructure projects.

Their strategic planning activities had identified a variety of opportunities and risks related to their ability to compete in a rapidly changing business environment. This caused them to fundamentally re-assess their approach to the management and leadership of major projects. Issues identified included more challenging requirements from customers, tighter operating margins, increasingly capable competition, and shortages of skilled labour together with an increasing emphasis on subjects such as Corporate Social Responsibility. Additionally, the experience of client assessments assisted to re-focus their efforts on how they should approach continuous improvement in a more systematic and sustainable manner.

Our client recognised the need to introduce leading-edge approaches to the management and leadership of their major civil engineering projects in order to achieve a step change to performance focused on delivering sustainable value to their principal stakeholders: their people, clients, partners and suppliers, investors and the societies in which they worked.

TRIMENTIS were invited to lead the implementation of Performance Leadership, our world-class approach to the fundamental concepts of Business Excellence that draws together proven best practices from leading organisations. Given the scale of works, joint venture and partner organisations including our client’s client and their partners shared accountability for delivery of the overall project. Development and coaching in Performance Leadership was delivered to the project team regardless of their parent organisations, a one-team approach.


  • The strategic context was established for the project and supporting teams including partners and suppliers with wider involvement, in shorter time and with greater clarity than had been typical for major projects.


    1. A shared clarity and commitment to a strategic context is a known critical success factor for high performing teams.
    2. Organisations and projects typically realise only about 60% of their strategic potential, and around 60% of construction projects finish on time in the UK (Source: The Economist, August 2005).
    3. Working towards a shared purpose and understanding of how to contribute to its success is the number one motivator for employees.
  • A highly rigorous approach to performance management and continuous improvement were established early in the project underpinning the delivery of an effective and efficient work environment in which people and partners at all levels knew who was doing what, when and how.


    1. A rigorous approach to performance management is a known critical success factor for high performing teams.
    2. Organisations typically achieve just over 50% of what they set out to do on a day-to-day basis.
  • A significant emphasis from the start of project operations was placed on the development of highly effective working relationships, backed up with coaching and development with a range of practical tools and techniques aimed at developing powerful new skills, attitudes and behaviours.


    1. A relentless attention to relationships is a known critical success factor for high performing teams.
    2. When major issues affect performance, over 80% are caused by a problem in relationships.
  • The maturity of systematic approaches to the management and leadership of the £multi-million project was significantly raised enabling our client to demonstrate highly effective, best practice project management and leadership approaches to their client.

  • A wide range of project staff experienced the benefits of working in a high performance environment supported by best practice tools and techniques, enabling the transfer of new skills, attitudes and behaviours to subsequent projects, helping our client to build a repeatable capability between projects and over time.


TRIMENTIS lead the implementation of our Performance Leadership System comprising our three core development activities:
Organisational Development – we refer to this as ‘what is done’ in terms of developing core management and leadership processes supported by best practice tools and techniques including the latest thinking in lean six sigma approaches, to drive the development of project capabilities and continuous improvement.

People Development – we refer to this as ‘how things are done’ in terms of the capability of key project staff to lead, manage and perform using the skills, attitudes and behaviours of high performing people.

Knowledge Development – we refer to this as ‘how improvements are sustained’ in terms of knowledge sharing, innovation and continuous improvements, putting in place the tools and techniques to benchmark and self-assess performance supporting the development of innovative changes.
In practice, the initial implementation involved clarification of the project’s strategic context with key stakeholders through a series of workshops. The senior project management team then establish goals, objectives, indicators of success and detailed plans supported by comprehensive programmes of communication to gain the commitment and motivation of the project’s various stakeholders.

Ongoing performance management was put in place involving monthly Performance Review Meetings (PRMs) structured around The Five Questions of Performance Leadership©. This was the key management and leadership meeting, a decision making body reviewing performance, agreeing approaches, assigning resources, clarifying priorities, driving and leading progress throughout the project.

Supporting teams such as Design, Construction and Health and Safety were progressively established, and their strategic approaches clarified in the context of the overall project strategy. Performance management at these supporting levels was similarly implemented using PRMs.
As a feed into and taking direction from the PRMs, groups of experts worked on the analysis of performance across the project, providing expert analysis, insight and recommendations to the senior managers on opportunities for performance improvement. The priority improvement activities directed from the PRMs involved the experts in carrying out benchmarking and self assessments to establish performance gaps that they then addressed using best practice approaches to process design, including lean six sigma techniques for problem solving, rational analysis and decision making. Our Black Belt practitioners facilitated these activities.

To complement the development of the project’s organisational capability, development of personal skills and behaviours was delivered through one-on-one coaching in the attributes of the High Performance People Model for key managers involved in running the PRM’s, helping raise the effectiveness of management and leadership throughout the project.
Wherever possible, linkages were established between the Project and Corporate level management and leadership activities, establishing PRMs at the higher level so that information could flow between them such as Balanced Scorecard data, Opportunities and Risks, Priorities and cross project innovation and improvement opportunities.


In hours we accomplished what normally takes weeks of meetings. We developed a clearer vision about what our project was to achieve and this was more widely shared than normal.

Director, Civil Engineering Project Team, International Engineering and Construction Group

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