by Randy Seitz
2012 has been a good year for Blue Ridge Architects. We’ve got some great new clients and have some exciting opportunities with longstanding clients. Getting busier also means more opportunities for things to go sideways when it comes to quality and care of clients. These lessons aren’t new, however 2012 provided a chance to be reminded of their importance:
Innovation is risky. Innovation is good and necessary. It keeps us from getting bored and complacent. But doing something new and different usually has unforeseen consequences. Everyone involved in an innovative project or process needs to accept, from the outset, that the finished product may need tweaking. Overpromising and unrealistic expectations regarding an innovative endeavor will likely result in frustration and conflict.
Transparency is the new black. Every year the fashion industry comes out with a new “hot” color and compares it to the timeless black suit or dress. Every year businesses embrace new buzzwords, some of which last and some of which mercifully fade away after a couple of years. I think/ hope “transparency” – both the word and the principle – are here to stay. Thanks to the internet and HGTV, everyone has access to loads of information about design and construction. This translates into much better informed clients. This also means that clients are asking architects, engineers and clients much more probing, critical questions. The bottom line is that building professionals have to be able to support and back up our recommendations. We also have to admit when we don’t have the answer to questions and work diligently to give our clients the answers they are seeking.
Listening is the most important business skill. Whatever is in second place isn’t even close. What’s ironic is that I’m a pretty lousy listener. Just ask my wife. But nothing makes a client, potential client or pissed-off client feel respected more than actively listening to and working to understanding what they are saying. Careful listening is the fastest way to build trust and trust is essential for navigating the stressful currents of any building project.
Thanks to our clients and friends for a great 2012. Let us know how we can better serve in the years to come.