A few days ago, I traveled to the Spokane CSI Chapter to do a presentation on Architect/Engineer Coordination. It was a lovely trip. The Spokane Chapter members were awesome hosts and I felt the presentation went well. There was great conversation about improving the gaps in communication and coordination between Architects and their consultants. I think a few eyes in the room may have been opened to the differences in work flow and exposure to contract requirements between the two.
Toward the end of the presentation, a member in attendance raised his hand and said to me “You know, you are pretty bold”. I have been chewing on this comment for days.
I have been fortunate in my career to work for a general contractor, an architect and now an MEP engineering firm. That has given me a unique perspective not many are lucky enough to have. That experience has given me the opportunity to see exactly where the breakdown happens, on both sides.
So, what makes me so bold?
I did nothing more than tell it like it is. No sugar coating and using plain talk, I shared my experience and perspective on this topic. I tasked both the architects and the engineers with recognizing and owning the areas where they fall short and I didn’t pull any punches pointing them out.
In over 40 years, inadequate coordination and communication with consultants has remained one of the top five areas that give rise to claims for an architecture firm. Really, in over 40 years we can’t figure it out and fix it? And I am bold for stating it?
Note that this gentleman’s comment was not a negative one nor did I take it that way. Actually, I considered it a huge compliment.
While flattered to be considered bold, I am bothered that it was in any way notable that I was saying it like it is. Are we so conditioned to be politically correct and polite that we have lost our way in facing the realities of clear communication in our work? I don’t know about you but I would rather get it straight, get it right the first time and get the job done well. I don’t have time to do the work twice or deal with the problems because I was afraid to ask the hard questions or too busy to pick up the phone.
My challenge for you is to be bold. Just try it. Stop tiptoeing around the issues and lay it on the table. Say it like it is and see what happens. Re-open that communication door, be authentic and get it right the first time. Really, start talking to each other again.
And for me, today, I am proud to be bold!