A warm and fuzzy feeling is not usually what you picture when you think about the construction industry and its workers. It usually brings thoughts of tough, burly guys with hard hats and dirty hands, not people sitting around laughing and enjoying each other’s company.
So do things like trust, compassion, and integrity help power this industry or is low price and hard work all that matters? To answer this question, we need to determine where people are involved because anywhere there are humans, there are relationships; some good and some not-so-good!
In a typical construction company, there are three main groups of people, employees, clients and vendors. Every person in each group has his or her own values and personality traits which is what makes them unique. If they were all robots, then dealing with them would be simple but we know that’s not the case. Let’s separate these and look at the value of relationships in each group.
We are in the business of building relationships
Team members are the backbone of any company and the labor-intensive construction industry is no exception. Our family-owned fabrication company runs around 50 employees depending on workload and without solid relationships within our team, our company would be void of connections and would have no real purpose. We are in the business of building relationships; we just happen to be really good at fabrication.
It starts with leadership
Teams do not reach their greatest potential without great leaders and great leaders cannot lead without relationships. Jocko Willink, in his book Extreme Ownership, about leading US Navy SEALs, wrote,
“I did my utmost to ensure that everyone below me in the chain of command felt
comfortable approaching me with concerns, ideas, thoughts, and even
Everyone wants to feel valued and appreciated
What about clients? As long as you deliver a good product at a decent price, is it worth the energy to develop a relationship with them? I’ll let this quote speak for itself.
“If I want to feel valued and part of the family – I send my fabrication work to Top Coat. There are companies that we like doing business with, and then there are
companies we love doing business with – and that’s where Top Coat comes in.”
~ Stephanie F. – ChevronPhillips
In an industry where time is money and low bid typically gets the job, there are still people involved and they all have that innate desire to feel valued. We all want to feel like we make an impact on those we come in contact with and we have the awesome opportunity to make each and every client feel that way. Even the simplest things you do, above and beyond what’s required, can make them feel worthy and appreciated.
Loyalty doesn’t happen by accident
As Simon Sinek says in his book, Start With Why, “though products may drive sales, they alone cannot create loyalty.” Loyalty comes from trust and confidence which only develop over time. And it doesn’t happen by accident!
Probably the most undervalued relationships in this industry are with our vendors. Most businesses don’t put much energy into their vendors because, after all, we are their client, not the other way around. Ultimately though, we could not complete our projects without the support of our vendors, so they are just as important to our client’s success as we are.
Trust and respect build strong relationships
In our fabrication projects, we rely heavily on our vendor relationships and that goes way beyond just delivering the correct material. Everyone makes mistakes every now and then but the frequency of and response to the mistakes are what matters to us. If the vendor cares more about the relationship than they do about the profit margin on one project, they will make it right no matter what and do it as fast as possible. That solidifies the relationship and continues to boost our trust in them. If they care more about their bottom line than the relationship, they will take their time and find the most economical solution that is best for them.
Your trust and confidence in your vendors have much more value than just the monetary cost of their products. Possible delays and rework mean that low bid is not always the cheapest in the long run. We have learned this the hard way over the years and now we rely much more on the relationship than we do price.
Relationships are the backbone of our existence
Our company has been in business since 1980 and we’ve learned a lot of valuable lessons about relationships in that time. Some we learned the easy way, and some were definitely not. We now know that relationships are the backbone of our existence as human beings and our professional lives are no different. Whether you work with the employees, clients or vendors, developing relationships with those people will be the most rewarding thing you ever invest your time and energy in.
Top Coat Fabrication