Question Mark

czweig

Q:

I’m concerned we have a quality issue at my company, but I don’t know how to adress it. What’s the best way to encourage people to do their best work?

Mark Zweig, Founder & Chairman

A:

In dealing with my workers on a quality problem in my other business – Mark Zweig, Inc., a design/build/contracting/development company – I had an epiphany: Everything we do is either excellent OR it’s something else. That “something else” means less than excellent. And that’s never OK.

We all have only one reputation. With a good reputation, you can always come back from any upset. With a bad reputation, no amount of resources can save you.

So why turn out less than excellent – ever?

Usually the excuse is, “That’s all we are getting paid for,” or, “That’s all we had time for.” The problem is, neither works. You’ll pay forever for bad quality due to lack of budget or time. Over and over and over again. It never makes sense. IF you took on the job at too low of a fee you’d still be better off doing it right and being less profitable on that job versus squandering your future.

Don’t take the project on in the first place if you aren’t going to be able to do it right. Just not worth it.

The most important way to achieve excellence is for you, as the leader, to demonstrate it. Everything YOU do has to be excellent. If you are rushing, though, and doing things that are less than excellent and pushing them out the door, how can you expect anyone else to be different? This is so fundamental.

Nor can you tolerate anything that is less than excellent by others. You know how devastating and long-lasting reputational damage can be? You can’t let that happen on your watch in your company – the machine that feeds everyone. It would be irresponsible.

The other issue is this: Some people just never do a really bang-up job on anything. It isn’t even a matter of their ability, time, or budget. It’s just the way they do stuff. And that’s half-assed. Nothing can cure these people. Their orientation is what it is and nothing will change it. They need to go. That may sound harsh but we all know it’s true.

So what are you turning out? Excellence, or something else? Think about it. It really is that simple.

This response is an abridged version of an article originally appearing in The Zweig Letter: “Excellence — or Something Else?” written by Mark C. Zweig.

We’re happy to help answer your AEC Firm management questions, just write in to info@zweiggroup.com with “Question Mark” in the headline.

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