We live in a world where our connections are seemingly growing harder to find and certainly easier and easier to lose. It is because of this that it is even more important than ever to make connections, in any way we can to people outside of our immediate daily focus.
When I am not being a husband, dad, teacher, and contractor, I am a cyclist. I ride with a group of cyclists out of Waterloo, a group I was welcomed into a few years back. I also train for an event that is near and dear to my heart called the “Tour for Kids,” for which, 100% of the money raised goes directly towards funding camp opportunities for childhood cancer soldiers and their families. At any rate, when we are on the road, it doesn’t matter what you drive, where you live or how much you make at your chosen occupation. You are part of a group that trusts, sweats and to a large extent, suffers together. Among other things, you ride in a closely organized group, at fairly high rates of speed, often only inches from each others wheels, one wrong move from a variety of disasters. In a large group, on a closed course you can find yourself in a HUGE pack moving like a school of fish at 35 – 45, even 50km/hr. The feeling of riding in a group that you trust is absolutely euphoric. The group pushes, but the group supports, the group senses the needs of others while it looks after its own. In short, we work together in an honest and pure way that maybe only our forefathers and mothers in the Mills, Fields and Industry of a growing Canada would be familiar with. Our group becomes a team, a functioning unit, a family of sorts, complete with all the personalities any group of its sort. Our group is an interesting one. It has the Philosopher, the Trickster, the Techno-weenie and the Drill Seargent, not to mention the Cheerleader, the Coach, the Musician and the all important Workhorses who selflessly pull for the group for hours on end. Some of us most recently have been even more fortunate to have, a “Shepherd” to gather the flock. The rest of us are Minions, literally along for the ride, hanging on each time, hoping to contribute, hoping to improve. One thing is for sure, without trust and faith in your riding group, you are destined to miss the benefits of collaborative power that a great group lays out before you, on the road you roll along.
The connections of my cycling group and cycling in general always reminds me of the experiences many of us have, as contractors.
Reaching out to make these connections is what makes us human. When we can’t do something for ourselves, we either struggle with media driven fear of crooked renovators, about to be disbarred lawyers or fund misappropriating financial planners, or something of that nature, or we have faith in the connections we make and we place them. The same should hold true when we are choosing a contractor that we are inviting as a guest to our homes. The trust and faith that we have in our contractors is an important component of any working relationship.
Often in renovations, despite diligent efforts to hold fast to timelines and budgets, there can be creep in the scope of what we attempt to achieve. While contracts can clearly and soberly outline a good portion of these factors, standing by and literally pointing to the contract that clearly negates to mention the installation of a kitchen sink or a certain type of wall outlet or a certain direction of decking that was chosen, often does little to resolve issues in all but a practical sense. It is so much like riding in a peloton at those points that the parallel is stunning. Any collaborative, sensitive moves lead to incredible forward momentum – any quick reactions or rash moves lead to disaster. This is where the “trust” part is paramount. Working with your contractor and, contractors, working WITH your clients to collaboratively trouble shoot and solve the issues that can present themselves, in any but the most straight forward of projects, is going to involve some sweat, some fearful moments and some trust. It is in this trust that ultimately we connect.
When we approach the challenges of projects together as a team, we negotiate the twists and turns of the “renovation road” together. We feel the power and advantage of working in a group, we realize the advantages of trusting in others to get us “up that hill” and ultimately, we share water…
Ride safe and happy renovating!