Reaching Quality Through Consistent Messaging
One of the fondest memories from my childhood is helping my father with projects around the house. I suppose the amount of "help" that I provided depended on who you asked, but my father was always patient with me and gave me simple tasks. Almost every weekend, we tackled a new household job, like fixing the leaky kitchen plumbing or constructing any number of "engineering feats" in the garage. He always insisted that we do the necessary research, come up with a game plan, lay out the proper tools and hardware, and complete the job perfectly. There were no acceptable shortcuts or jerry rigging — no amazing duct tape tricks that would have been good enough for so many others. We did it right from beginning to end, and we didn't stop until it was done.
I always remember being such a cranky "helper." When he would discover a problem, we would have to stop all progress to figure out how to continue properly. I would be so impatient to get the project finished, no matter what, and try to urge him to simply forget what I would consider the minor problem. "Move on, just get it done," I would moan and groan. However, he would persist, stressing the importance of doing the job correctly. It was always a top priority for him to do the job right the first time, with the utmost quality possible.
I've heard from many contractors that it's difficult to get the concept of quality construction across to their employees, who simply just want to get the job done, no matter what measures — or lack of measures — they use to do it. As a teen, I shared a similar sentiment; however, it was my father's patient and persistent message of doing it right that finally brought me around to understanding the difference. He taught me that there's an immense amount of pride and satisfaction in, not just completing the job, but also doing it right.
Contractors also need to be persistent in their message. Give your crews the tools — education and materials — necessary, and always stress to them the importance of quality construction. If my father can bring around an ornery teenager using a determined message, mason contractors can do the same with their crews.
There are a number of articles in the March issue of Masonrythat focus on quality in this issue. First, Michael Adelizzi, executive director of the Mason Contractors Association of America, joins us for an inspiring look at the Masonry Quality Institute and the cost of quality (see page 6). Also, Alan Johnson, owner of IMS Masonry Inc. in Lindon, Utah, stresses the importance of keeping quality priority #1 in this issue's "Contractor to Contractor" article (see page 14).
Now that spring is here and the construction season is going into full swing again, keep quality in mind and take the necessary steps to align your workers with this very important company and industry goal.
About the Author
Jennie Farnsworth is an Atlanta-based freelance writer and editor. She is a former editor of Masonry magazine.