Complete the Project Just As It Started … In a Happy Place

November 5, 2010

One of the many great things about my job is that I get to travel around the world talking to interesting people about interesting topics.

Last week in San Francisco, NSCA hosted a Consultant-Integrator Roundtable discussion and one of the panelists said something that struck me as both very true and quite simple. We were reflecting on why so many jobs go badly and this 40-year veteran of the industry said it was, “Because we don’t work hard enough to get to the same ‘happy place’ that we were in when the job started.”

What he refers to is the excitement and enthusiasm we experience on the day we sign the contract for what appears to be a smooth and profitable project. The entire design and construction team gather with great hopes for an on-time project sure to meet the customer’s expectations. Then the job starts and, sure enough, small things pop up, schedules start to go bad and, for whatever reason, relationships spiral downward often ending in litigation. We’ve all had too many jobs like these when no one is happy at the end.

The point he made was that contractors and systems integrators often forget to be diligent in finishing the project in the same happy place where we started. He described a few very simple things including these suggestions:

· Document everything.

· Communicate with everyone.

· At the close out stages, thank the entire design and construction team for the opportunity to be part of the project.

· Be known as a friendly, easy-to-work-with company, instead of always using anger as a method of illustrating your point.

· Think about repeat business with this same design team. What are you doing now to be invited back on their next job?

· Always finish the job with letters thanking everyone for the opportunity to be a part of that project.

These recommendations will speak well for your company and its reputation as you continue to bid and earn new jobs.

Make it your goal to finish each job with the same courtesy and pleasant behavior that you demonstrated on the day you won the project. Even if the profits didn’t come in as expected, the next job with this building owner or construction manager could be much better. Take this advice and you won’t have a “one and done” relationship.

— CW

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