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CBI looks to new management tool

MANAGEMENT education is a field that seems to go regularly through changing fashions, but Perth company Carepoint is hoping that a new program it has developed will prove to be long lasting. The initial feedback from clients such as CBI Constructors has been very supportive and has underpinned Carepoint’s decision to establish an education and training division. CBI Constructors is closely involved in the resources boom around Australia, providing engineering and construction management services to a range of mining and oil and gas companies. In Western Australia it was a contractor on the North West Shelf venture’s train 4 expansion and is currently working on the Burrup Fertilisers’ project, BHP Billiton’s Ravensthorpe nickel project, and the Worsley Alumina expansion. It also has several big projects under way in other states.Managing big construction projects is stressful at the best of times but especially so in the present climate, with the shortage of skilled labour and sharp rises in labour and materials costs affecting most projects. CBI’s corporate health safety and environment manager Alec Barfield said the nature of the company’s work meant the management was often travelling and rarely spent time together in the Perth office. In this context, CBI signed up for Carepoint’s resilience training program for a small group of managers. Mr Barfield said the response from course participants was very positive and the company was now assessing who else might be able to use the program, which is run over eight weeks and for two hours per week. “It’s all about bouncing back from adversity,” he said. “I have found better, more effective ways to emotionally deal with problems that arise and move quickly forward. “Everybody got something different out of it.” Mr Barfield said CBI found the course to be complementary to an ‘intersection management’ program, which he said was all about treating people the way you would like to be treated. “Intersection management was about how you treat others, resilience training is about how you treat yourself.” Carepoint education and training manager Margaret Weaver said resilience training had its origins in the community health sector but had been applied in the US’s corporate sector over the past 20 years. She saw it as an alternative to traditional approaches to stress management. “It’s about helping people to draw on their own strengths,” Ms Weaver said. According to Ms Weaver, bouncing back from adversity is a skill that can be learned and developed. “Life has a way of throwing out challenges and disappointments when we are least prepared for them,” she said. “Even for those who are born leaders, it is sometimes hard to show a strong front in times of hardship. “In these situations there is both an art and a science to managing ourselves.” Ms Weaver said key strategies for building resilience included identifying people, situations or things that ‘set you off’. If people are aware of their hot buttons, then effective strategies can be developed to deal with these. She recommends that people let go of perfectionism and learn ‘active listening’ skills. Ms Weaver also suggests that people stop and ask why something is happening, until they can understand a situation and establish their own thoughtful response. “By practising resilience we can remain calm under pressure and draw on what we know when we most need it,” she said. Ms Weaver said the reality facing many people was that their emotional response to a difficult situation was often out of step with the true impact of the problem. Carepoint’s education and training division will complement the Perth company’s industrial health, health and wellness and physiotherapy services.

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