Last month a large envelope arrived unexpectedly in the mail. Inside were two double-sided 8½ x 11 laminated sheets in colors immediately evocative of construction zones. One is titled The Contractor’s Guide to Successful Construction Projects and the other The Property Owner’s Guide to Successful Construction Projects.
My immediate reaction was, “Now this is simply smart marketing.”
The guides’ author is Stuart Baker, a Cape Cod-based mediator and builder who helps property owners, construction professionals and architects sort out the kinds of quagmires any of us who’ve ever built a house or done a major renovation know well. Stuart combines almost 30 years of construction experience as founder and owner of Creative Contractors Corp. with ten years as a mediator / negotiator, and several years as an addictions counselor, community organizer and local community project coordinator. His site, Conscious Cooperation, is a well-designed, straightforward resource and his new guides are now featured prominently on it.
The two short guides offer wisdom for setting up a constructive (ha!) working relationship associated with a building project, how to communicate effectively, and what to do if conflict brews. For example, the Property Owner’s Guide cautions,
7. EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED: Address work changes and surprises.
- Work changes should be written out and if at all possible estimated beforehand.
- A good rule of thumb is that the actual cost of a work change order will be held within 20% of the estimate unless unforeseeable things emerge.
- The contractor should agree to make every effort to notify the owners of unexpected situations, particularly in remodeling. It is impossible to always foresee everything, and there may be additional costs. Trust is important here.
- Address dealing with dust protection and cleanup.
I liked Stuart’s smart marketing idea so much I asked him to tell me a little bit about his intentions with the guides and how they’ve been received.
I have found that the intention to cooperate and be committed to mutual success is really powerful and can open very unexpected doors of harmony, effectiveness and enjoyment related to any project. This is part of what I urge people to put good attention to. I ask them how do they feel when they know someone is holding them in this fashion, and wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to do that reciprocally.
With the two guides my intention is to reach “both sides” of the construction relationship equation, both property owners and contractors, hopefully before they even have a contract. The Guides can actually be used, too, to help both “sides” screen each other.
My overall intention is to help people set a great beginning and framework for successful continuation and completion of any project. As you and I know, the human relations are so important, and in this realm I think
they are often given so little attention. Then people wonder what went wrong! I want people to bring out underlying themes, hopes, fears, concerns, excitement. I want to bring out the agendas and have clarity, forthrightness and hopefully honesty between people.
He tells me the guides have been very well received. No surprise there. You can get your own copy of the guides from Stuart’s site.
Thanks, Stuart, for your willingness to let me share your great marketing idea.
Making Mediation Your Day Job by Tammy Lenski is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Based on a work at MakingMediationYourDayJob.com.