Out of guesses?
Here’s some food for thought. If something isn’t broken, people tend to see little need to switch things up. If you’ve been working with a general contractor for years and they’re good, but you’re missing on the opportunity to work with a much more valuable partner, how can we be more open to…well it was bound to come out sooner or later, CHANGE.
Not long ago, I read a book called “Change is the New Rule” that opened my eyes to why organizational change is much easier talked about than accomplished. As it pertains to the construction world, the book shed some pretty relatable insight:
“Unfortunately, most managers and employees have been overtrained to perform in a no change, day-to-day business and undertrained to perform during change. For infrequent changes, it might be satisfactory to muddle through, but for the frequent changes called for in today’s business organizations, managers and employees alike must learn to be as proficient in change as they are in running an ongoing business. And proficiency in change will only come with the learning and mastery of a set of practical actions for organizational change.”
With every business relationship, no matter how close the ties you’ve grown with a vendor become, it’s always important to keep an eye open to continuous improvement. This means not forgetting to analyze pricing and running routine evaluations of what competitive figures look like. Realistically speaking, it’s hard to find time for this—but what if I said there is a need to?
When you’re under the impression that your GC list is up to par and a new organization reaches out, you’re accepting a risk to take on an unknown if you give them a shot.
If I had to make a gamble, I’d say more people identify with the safeties of holding off on onboarding new vendors. With that, here are the benefits of taking a leap of faith to embrace change in your general contractor relationships. These same thoughts apply to all vendor ties, even outside the construction realm. They may surprise you.
(1) The Asset of Recognizing Scope and Taking the Time to Explore:
Not all offerings are “apples to apples”, even if they may suggest so. There are quality and project management capabilities that set the distinction between okay and remarkable, but from the outside, companies on either end of the spectrum appear identical. To avoid a one-dimensional general contractor selection, project managers can turn towards these pointers to avert a hasty decision.
To do this, determine your prerequisites are squared up. Ensure that each organization you’re considering can meet the needs of your project. That can seem initially obvious, but from a capabilities, policy, and insurance perspective, you need to guarantee that new GCs are able to work with your needs in a detailed qualifications review.
After you’ve learned that a partner meets your standards, dive into their full capabilities to realize efficiencies and see the most value. This benefit can be a huge turning point, especially as PMs accept added capabilities for the same price point.
(2) The Network Effect:
Certain general contractors can have resources that make more sense to your project obligations. For example, with the custom millwork trend that’s been rising in fast-casual spaces, there are regional outlets that range in size and proficiency. Seeking a new general contractor not only opens doors to new project coordination possibilities, but also new suppliers that can meet your needs in a way that tops your current providers.
Although most organizations won’t be outward with their subcontractors, look to their portfolio pieces to see if there are new materials and ideas being used that you’ve never been acquainted with. Check out any case studies and project triumphs advertised, and the resources you’d be given access to become clear.
(3) Change, by Definition
Selecting the same resources you’ve always elected will grant you the same results you’ve always seen. It’s rare that every project detail is perfect. In other words, there’s always room for improvement.
This does NOT mean that you should disrupt your existing relationships that are strong and rewarding. The benefit of realizing change by definition, is to embrace the exploration of options to grow even stronger relationships.
Notice I didn’t touch much on the cost element as a focal point. Here’s why—this frame of mind is limiting. Cost is obviously an instrumental factor in construction project fulfillment. Oftentimes, this becomes a bit too prioritized, and improvements are lost for the sake of a dollar value. Change is key to improvement, but as dreaded as this six-letter word can be perceived, cost challenges are one of the largest obstacles to modification. In many ways, openness to change can equate to openness to improvement. In embracing this slight risk, there can be a substantial reward—especially while evaluating general contractor partners.
The next time you’re faced with an opportunity to equip a project with your traditional toolbelt of partners, consider the possibilities of expanding your general contractor comfort zone. It may make a huge difference in how you define project success. As Dr. Holland puts it, “Today’s business world is dramatically different from the one we knew just a few short years ago. Greatly increased rivalry from global competitors, more demanding customers, ever-rising stockholder expectations, and accelerating technology contribute to a business world that is different today and changing for tomorrow. Change is no longer the exception; it is now the rule!”
Holland, Winford E. Change Is the Rule: Practical Actions for Change, on Target, on Time, on Budget.
Chicago, IL: Dearborn, 2000. Print.