When my wife and I moved back to Maine several years ago, we knew we wanted to find an old house and put some work into it. My wife is an interior designer and has a particularly incredible ability to see space for what it could be, not what it currently is. And so we ventured off down a path of old homes, renovations, and contracting firms. We met with many, both big and small, and after much deliberation we made a decision and were off.
I’m happy to report the home has been finished for some time now…and we’re still married.
While working with smaller home renovation contracting firms isn’t exactly the same as larger construction businesses, similarities exist (just ask my wife). What I witnessed, especially for leaders, is the necessity to be quite skilled in a variety of areas.
First, they must possess the technical capability necessary for the field – but from my perspective that’s the easy part. What’s more difficult is being able to work with the customer who doesn’t have that same level of knowledge, understand their needs and wants, provide vision, and then translate all of this into a job well done.
Further, being able to manage expectations, temper frustration, and show a level of caring is critical for keeping the client happy. And oh, if you can’t communicate effectively the implications can be absolutely disastrous.
I lucked out in this scenario because of my wife. She was able to speak to them on a level I couldn’t even process (it sounded like Russian), and it made their job a lot easier. But when I needed to be involved, it was so clearly obvious that clear communication – even with an outsider who doesn’t speak your language – is paramount to success.
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