Project management of your new build or renovation can be challenging.
If you don’t think you’re good at tough conversations, read these tips.
So often, when speaking with homeowners (especially women), I hear about their fear and frustration with having tough conversations when project managing their reno or new build project.
For many, communicating our dislike, or holding someone accountable for stuffing us around (or failing us completely), can be SO hard to do.
And when you let small situations or hiccups slide, they soon become much bigger annoyances and problems.
You go from everything seeming ok, to having a designer or builder you can’t stand being around (but they’re doing YOUR home), and everything they do seems to be wrong or off-base.
In the world of building and renovating, it doesn’t take much for molehills to become expensive, stressful and time-consuming mountains … especially when we can’t do tough conversations at the molehill point!
The thing to know about project management in a building and renovating project is this: tough conversations come up.
Even in the BEST of projects.
There is so much complexity, so many people and processes and a lot of decisions – it’s just inevitable there’ll be points at which you need to set boundaries, adjust expectations, or call someone on their bad behaviour.
Now, if you don’t think you’re good at tough conversations, I have some tips for you:
#1 Firstly, reframe what you’re telling yourself
This is a mindset thing … but the minute you try to do something you’re constantly telling yourself (even if it’s just with a voice in your head) that you’re not good at, you’ll really struggle.
Instead, see tough conversations as an opportunity to step into a new learning. Embrace what it might teach you about just how much you’re capable of when tested.
#2 Put it in writing
Whenever you have a verbal conversation on your project, make a written note, and keep a record. Send a copy of it through to the person or people that conversation was with, and note any required actions or outcomes.
Your paper trail is essential in good project management, and in dealing with things if they go pear-shaped. It also helps have a foundation of evidence for those tough conversations.
#3 Remember it’s not personal
When you’re doing your long-term family home, everything feels super personal. Businesses you’re working with (builders and designers) are often small operators. Heck, I used to take a baby to client meetings, or have someone else’s toddler sit on my lap whilst I presented drawings.
However, you expressing disappointment or frustration at the service you’re receiving, or the quality of work, is not about a person – it’s about what they’re doing.
Watch your language … try not to use accusatory terms like “you didn’t do this”, and instead say “we were expecting this outcome” or “we were disappointed when this happened”. You’ll minimise the confrontational nature of the conversation.
Stay focussed on what you’re seeking to achieve, and have ideas for the ideal outcome you’re pursuing … “we would like this to happen in this timeframe”, for example.
I suspect that if one of your kids, or a family member or friend, needed your defence and help, you would be able to dive in and have all the tough conversations you needed to on their behalf 😉 so channel some of that fierceness for yourself when you need it.
From my experience with homeowners, I am constantly inspired by what they’re capable of when given the tools, support and guidance in their projects.
And, it is always exciting to see what else that unlocks for them in other areas of their life. Our project lessons are generally pretty good life lessons too.
So, whether it’s with your mortgage broker, your designer, your builder or someone else … go have those tough conversations you need to. Your future home is waiting for you to be its champion 🙂
If you find you need to leave your builder or designer, this blog will be helpful for you >>> https://undercoverarchitect.com/how-to-leave-your-designer-or-builder/
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