We all know that last minute decisions can be risky. Too often I've seen clients change their mind during construction to a simpler option or less costly option or any variety of reasons. Probably the most common reason I've seen clients with a solid design plan change their minds is because their contractor swayed their plan to create an easier-to-install option.
I never like to see a client digress from a carefully crafted and considered design plan in part because there are so many parts at play. Changing one factor can alter the entire end product.
Case in point, in speaking with a client whom is currently in the construction stage of their renovation, the client stated that they've decided to forgo the original selections for their bathroom tile and kitchen backsplash. While on site, the contractor had noted that "sometimes more is just more". In essence, to add an accent tile would be 'too much'. Spiralling out from there, the client also decided to forgo the accent tile on the backsplash, a detail that was carefully crafted in to create a point of transition between the style and colours of the rest of the home and the style and colours of the new space.
When Is It Important To Take Advice?
We have all had experiences in our daily lives where we've received several opinions on a decision we are weighing, whether asked for or not. Sometimes we change our minds from our original decision, sometimes not. But my view has always been, you made your initial decision based on good information and having taken in all the factors necessary to reach a solid conclusion. Once you start second guessing that, you are negating the information you initially received.
I think most would agree that it is important to take advice when the decision is a large one, such as a large investment or life change. My caution would be to be careful where you take your advice FROM.
Where Does Your Advice Come From?
Something I learned very early on in business was to only take advice from SUCCESSFUL business owners. My sherpa stated quite clearly, why would you follow the advice of someone who's never run a successful business? If you want to have a failing business, listen to them all you want! If you want a SUCCESSFUL business, follow the advice of a SUCCESSFUL business! This may seem extremely common sense and yet the sheer simplicity of it vibrated right through me. Design is no different.
How many of you have had a conversation similar to this:
You: I'm so happy! I finally have decided the car I would like to buy!
Your Friend/Colleague/Boss: Really? What have you decided on?
You: I've looked all over and test driven lots of options but the one I've decided to purchase is a Subaru WRX [side note, this WILL be my next car ;-p]
Your F/C/B: A Subaru? Why would you want a Subaru? And what is a WTV anyway?
You: A WRX. Well, the options I want in a vehicle include a standard transmission, all wheel drive, exceptional handling, reasonable mileage, and it has to be fun to drive! I've looked around and the only car that nails each item on my list is the WRX. Plus, it's a great value for the price and they hold their value reasonably well over their lifetime.
Your F/C/B: Still, a Subaru? I think you should look at an Audi. In my opinion, they look great, handle pretty well and if you want to turn heads, an Audi will do that!
You: I did look into an Audi but found that for the price, I received way less value than what I would in a Subaru. Plus, I don't really need to 'turn heads'. It's not important to me to gain a ton of attention just because I drive a fancy brand name vehicle.
Your F/C/B: Well I have a brother that works for Audi. I'll send you over there for a test drive and you'll be sure to change your mind.
Now granted, this is a car, not design, but it IS a significant investment. And the decision you reached was based upon meeting all the qualities AND THE BUDGET you desire. At no point in this conversation did your Friend/Colleague/Boss really account for your primary directives: standard transmission, all wheel drive, and exceptional handling (not just 'pretty well'). Moreover, what qualifies your F/C/B to dissuade you from your decision? Have they at one point sold cars for a long period of time and know the ins and outs of the industry?
Before you take advice, consider the source. If you wouldn't engage that person to a) sell you a car; b) design your house; c) take care of your children, why would you let them sway your decision?
When You Make The Change Anyway...
I have learned through my many years in the industry (as I stroke my long white beard) that no matter how well we've developed a design plan for a client, I cannot, and will not, stop a client once his/her mind is made up. Interestingly, I was invited to a focus group for a high end clothing retailer in Calgary just this week. Part of the discussion was about how honest a sales person should be with their customer and when it's best to tuck your opinion away. The conclusion was that even if the item of clothing looked like a 'sack of potatoes' on the customer, if she L.O.V.E.D. it, the sales person was not to disagree and create a negative reaction in the client. The directive was more to achieving client satisfaction and continuing to develop a relationship with said client.
In design, I treat my customers with the same amount of respect. In the end, it is my client's home and they will live in it, breathe in it, love, play, learn and relax in it, not me. So my goal is ALWAYS to help create a home that truly serves and uplifts my client. When I see a client moving in a direction I do not think will serve them, it is my responsibility to share my professional opinion and then to move out of the way. My respect for my client is far greater than my needing to be 'right'.
Sometimes A Change 'Would Do You Good'
There have been cases in the past when we've had to make a last minute change on a project and it in fact turned out better than the original option. I'm certain you've all experienced something like that as well. My hope always is that any changes made are to create a better, more harmonious, happy, fulfilling, supportive life. And when that happens, my heart is full and the joy I see in my clients is better than fresh chocolate cake.
Let's Make Some Magic!
When two minds come together to create something, magic always happens. If you'd like some help creating a loving, supportive, happy home, please connect with me and let's get started!
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