All of us have moments when we feel like giving less than our total effort – we might be in a hurry or not feeling well. There could an unusual amount of stress. We might be distracted. Nevertheless, the mark of a true professional is being able to give our client a total, all-out performance at all times. Our personal issues or what we are experiencing are irrelevant to serving their needs. They really don’t care about them or need to know. They just want us to give them the job that we promised.
Nevertheless, there could be times when a person might wonder what difference it really makes if something less than a complete effort is required or necessary. After all, will the client really know that we could have done something more or that something didn’t fit quite right but we let it go anyway – just this once? Will they really know if a less expensive product is substituted for a more expensive one to save money on the job?
What if, in the interest of getting the job done quicker full attention is not given to some finishes or trim detail? Maybe the client won’t notice. If they do, oh well, it can be addressed later – or explained away. So much for potential positive word-of-mouth referrals!
What about something that maybe is installed or finished a little sloppily because it will never show anyway when the job is completed because it is concealed under or inside something else?
Many times it is true that we technically can “get by” with less than an all-out effort. Maybe it’s “as good as” or “better than” the competition does. Maybe the client will never know. But we will know. After a while, who knows, doing things “almost perfect” or “almost right” may get to a habit rather always striving to do things correctly. It’s certainly easy to rationalize less than an effort that is less than our best.
Having a strong, positive work ethic means that we will never need to feel apologetic about letting something slip by or be concerned about the client looking over our shoulder because chances were taken and corners were shaved just a little. We’ll know that we stand for doing things right and that our team will know and appreciate this also – and follow our example.
Consider some of the many details involved in doing an aging in place remodeling or renovation or in building and finishing a universal design project where there is an opportunity to perform well on the outside and have the finished product look nice, but on the inside (hidden from view), it could be a different story.
Consider new walls or wall sections where there is framing (with walls straight, plumb and square), new flooring (with invisible seams and trimmed edges that look as if the flooring was installed before anything else was done), replaced or resized windows and doors (that are plumb and properly trimmed), painting (with full coverage and no drips or overspray or indentations or telltale edges along drywalls seams), trimming (with nails set and patched, no cracks or voids, no nail pops, clean mitered corners, and caulked seams and edges), and plumbing installations (with everything done as it is supposed to be).
There also is the possibility or ordering the wrong or obsolete materials (and then attempting to install them or actually using them anyway), using a different appliance or other package than what was specified or ordered, marring enameled or polished surfaces on fixtures and countertops, not noticing an upgrade that was supposed to be used until it is too late to install it correctly, or leaving out changes that were ordered.
So, the next time anyone on our team is tempted to cut corners – “just this once” – remember that many people are depending on us to do a professional job – our employees or team member, our referring professionals, the client’s family, and especially the client who is making a financial commitment to have us make the important modifications to their home to enhance their quality of life.
And, if we ever start wondering what difference it makes if it’s “almost perfect” or “close enough” rather than done to the standards that we know are right, we just need to consider that our clients are relying upon our work to improve their daily activities and make their home more enjoyable and safe. We can’t let them down. They literally are counting on the work we are doing for them to enable them to remain in their homes.
So, while it may be true that “no one will notice” or that it is “good enough to get by” in a general sense, we will notice and that’s what matters.
It takes weeks and weeks – even years of successful performance to gain a good reputation. It doesn’t take all that long to spoil it.
Therefore, we should make a commitment to ourselves, our team, and all those we serve to do all we can to give an all-out performance at all times – and to accept no less from anyone working with us.