What is Your Motivation for Being in the Construction Business?

Having the Wrong Motivations Gives the Rest of Us a Bad Name

I’ve written before about situations where I’ve been involved in resolving issues between contractors and customers where they’ve gotten crossways with each other.

How poor communication leaves both sides with unrealistic expectations and sometimes ends in legal battles.

Once again, I’ve been asked by a construction customer to help them with a construction disagreement. They just want to get their home and their life back.

They’re in the middle of a dispute with a construction company that has been dragging on for more than a year. Their home has been left unfinished, damaged from rain leaking in, poor quality work, etc.

Why is it that they find themselves on opposite sides of this battle?

I’ve always advocated that poor communication between contractor and customer is the biggest problem. However, as I’ve been working on the current situation, I think there might be another deeper level to this issue.

Communication is certainly a part of it, but maybe communication would be better if the underlying motivations of both parties were considered. A skilled communicator can convince you that what their saying is true, even if it isn’t.

I think this is the underlying problem. It’s a lack of trust. None of us want to be lied to. Last week I wrote about competition vs. cooperation and how we can have both and everybody wins. It comes down to who we are competing against and who we are cooperating with.

Our motivation is directly connected to our why.

Contractor – Why am I in the construction business? Is it to help the customer achieve their dream construction project or to just make a lot of money? Don’t get me wrong. To stay in business, you have to make a profit, but if that is more important to you than serving your customer, it leads to situations like the one I’m currently working on.

Customer – Why do I want to do this project? Is it to improve the value, make it more functional, reduce maintenance, or to impress the neighbors? It’s your project and any of these motivations is fine.

The important thing is that both parties involved know the motivations.

Sometimes the motivations are hidden and not discovered until problems begin. Sometimes motivations aren’t clear, even to oneself. Knowing what the motivations are and being true to those motivations is critical to minimizing these kinds of problems.

Discovering motivations requires asking questions.

It frustrates he heck out of me that these kinds of situations happen…and they don’t have to.

We need to raise the bar of construction industry standards.

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