Our friend Matt Morse at Dovetail Construction had a great post on Friday entitled “Sometimes Things Go Wrong“. Matt makes some excellent points that even the best builders will face some problems — the way a builder responds to those problems presents an opportunity to stand up, take responsibility, and potentially turn a “customer” into an “evangelist”.
Those facing a potential confrontation need to keep in mind the cost, time and stress involved with court cases. It generally is far better to work a situation out amicably, the earlier the better, than to get into a protracted fight. As Matt said in his post, “Sure, it often costs money not to hide behind a contract or other document, but what is the cost of not getting referral business from that customer?” The reality is that even with a great position, great facts, and a great contract, it is still going to be expensive, time-consuming and stressful to get involved in litigation. No matter how good you think your case is, there is risk.
Psychology, personalities and relationships play a huge part in the dynamic of communication and its breakdown. As Seth Godin very accurately described on his blog, the question generally comes down to whether we give people the benefit of the doubt … a question which turns inherently on whether we trust someone. To Seth Godin, “The challenge, then, is to earn the benefit of the doubt.”
Builders facing these questions need to keep them front and center to avoid friction and conflict. Stepping up and taking responsibility where appropriate is the direct path to earning the benefit of the doubt on construction projects. It is great advice for any business, but especially in the construction industry where there is so much complexity and room for misunderstanding and problems.