It has been a struggle lately. We don’t have trouble getting work. In fact we are booming. The problem: We can’t seem to close out a project without email accusations, letter campaigns, lawyers and a whole lot of wasted time and money. It doesn’t matter if we are acting as the developer, design builder, subcontractor or otherwise. Project close out is ALWAYS a major hassle. Why do other project players want to whip up all kinds of excuses to stop the money from flowing at the end of the projects? What can we do to change this awful pattern of last minute money grabs?
– Chaos at Close Out
What do YOU control, CCO? You control your own standard of behaviors. You control your own policies. You alone can influence the team that is implementing your policies.
To avoid the cancer of these discouraging disputes you must first take off your rose colored glasses. EXPECT the dispute as sure as the sun rises. Develop policies and encourage behaviors that support the shortest possible time you and your team spend “in dispute.” Establish the winning position as early as possible. WHEN IT HAPPENS … DOCUMENT IT. Not later. Not tonight. Not when you get a minute. NOW. This commitment helps you establish the winning position IN THE FIRST MINUTE of any activity, change, dispute, contract language or negotiation. The value of establishing the winning position early is invaluable. How much time can be saved? Can attorneys’ fees and dispute costs be avoided? Waiting adds risks and money and makes it possible for the absurd story to prevail over the truth. That is baaaaaad business, CCO. Very bad.
CCO, YOU ALREADY KNOW THE SOLUTION. IT IS NO SECRET. IT IS UP TO YOU. This is how you make YOUR story the TRUE STORY:
- Document everything all the time.
- Make it a policy to document everything all the time.
- Train your team to document everything all the time.
- Penalize your team, I mean everyone, when ONE team member fails to document.
- Emphasize that failing to document hurts everyone. A job in dispute is certain to erode profit margins.
- Frown on the nonchalant members of your team that think documentation “ain’t no big thing.”
- Dump those who won’t live up to your expectations.