I was chatting with my mom on the phone today. She asked, “Exactly what does that new place you work at do?” I started to explain how we create brand strategies for companies that want to engage active lifestyle consumers. As we started to talk about the challenges, I said, “Think of it this way …”
Our goal is to create completely custom and unique homes for people. We start with researching what type of person you are. We look at your life, we interview you, we talk to your family and we try to determine exactly what your house should say about you. It must be unique, authentic, and look like nothing else out there. Once we understand what we want your home to represent, then we start getting into the particulars of how many rooms it should have, how it should be finished, what the color scheme should be, etc. It is a completely custom endeavor, from conception, through design and build, fraught with all of the challenges you can imagine, and a few you can’t. We end up setting budget and schedule far too early. We cannot anticipate all of ramifications of our choices until we try to plug things together. We end up being asked to change things in the middle of the build. We find things that don’t connect up as we planned. It can be very frustrating and challenging along the way, but it is also very rewarding in the end.
“Hmmmm”, she said, “and that makes total sense. So what are you trying to do there?” Now that in a good question.
Well, first I think we can find some ways to make sure we have the right people doing the right jobs. You know, it probably isn’t going to help if we have some electricians trying to do the plumbing. Next, there are some areas in our processes we can make better so that everyone has the right tools and the right materials when they need them. Or, if we find we have delays in one area, we need to get better at having people switch to a different project in a productive way. We also need to look at how we structure some of our teams, because while we do plenty of big new houses, we also do smaller renovations and additions … so, we probably need to think of different ways to approach those. Finally, we need to remember what we do is tough and can be frustrating, but we shouldn’t take it out on each other. So when I see somebody getting ready to kick a ladder out from underneath somebody, or toss a hammer at them, I step in and remind them we are all trying to get to the same goal.
“That’s nice Jimmy. That’s what you’ve been doing since you were a little boy.” I guess there is truth to that.