Lessons Learned #10: Happy Holidays! A Summary Of The Lessons Of 2013

As this year comes to a close, I thought it would be good to review the subjects that I have covered in the issues of Lessons Learned throughout the year.  Below are the subject, title, a short summary and the feature quote from each issue.

  1. Negotiating contracts: Sometimes it’s best to walk away from the contract. Some contracts are not worth signing and some jobs are not worth taking.  Those jobs can end up costing you more than the value of the contract.  “A wise person does at once what a fool does at last.  Both do the same thing; only at different times.” (Lord Acton).
  2. Managing proactively: When traveling in the fast lane, look far ahead. The construction highway is fast-paced, you must plan ahead to get where you want, to arrive successfully at the finish.  “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll probably end up somewhere else.” (David Campbell).
  3. Good project management: How to be a good project manager: be a “PPRICK”. Perform; be Proactive; be Responsive; communicate to Inform and be Clear; Know your contract.  “What is common sense is not common practice.” (Stephen Covey).
  4. Documenting issues: Don’t let intimidation keep you from documenting an issue. Do what you know is right (and what’s required by contract), don’t back down to intimidation when it comes to communicating critical issues.  “The weak have one weapon: the errors of those who think they are strong.” (Georges Bidault).
  5. Project documentation: The reasons why you don’t document. “You fail only if you stop writing.” (Ray Bradbury).
  6. Negotiating claims: Sometimes you shouldn’t follow your lawyer’s advice. You need to use your business skills when involved in settlement negotiations.  “Smile, and say no until your tongue bleeds.” (Harvey Mackay).
  7. Writing skills: If you don’t use it, you lose it. It has been said that writing is thinking.  We need to “think” before we write; and, through repetition, learn to make it a habit.  “We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” (Aristotle).
  8. Using the contract: The Rodney Dangerfield of construction documents. Applying the contract “rules” to the management of construction projects.  “I get no respect.” (Rodney Dangerfield).
  9. Marketing: Your marketing objective: find the good people. Increase your profitability by concentrating on doing work with the “good people”.  “You’ll rarely have any bad business with good people…” (Pat Fernandez).

As you can see, we’ve covered a variety of topics from project management to negotiations, marketing, writing skills and contracts.  If you missed reading some of the issues, this might be a good time for you to go back to review them.

And now I’d like to offer some advice for you during the holidays:

  • Take time to “sharpen the saw” (rest, relax, renew your energy)
  • Connect with what matters most (families, friends)
  • Extend a helping hand to those who are less fortunate and those in need
  • Express your gratitude to others and to your maker in accordance with your faith
  • Pause to assess the progress you have made toward your life goals and re-align yourself with your values

I want to take this opportunity to offer my sincerest personal thanks to all who have helped me throughout my journey to date: my clients, my friends, my wonderful family, from the oldest living member (my 94 year old mom), to my grandchildren (the youngest only 9 months old).

I am constantly renewed through the joy that flows from the 5 children and 5 grandchildren that I am fortunate to share with my loving and supportive wife.  I am always mindful that everything in my life is made possible through the grace and strength afforded to me by God.  May you and your loved ones be blessed with the joy and love that I have been most fortunate to receive, and may the New Year bring you good health and prosperity in good measure!

Happy Holidays,

Paco Farach

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