A Thousand Decisions
Quality really boils down to a whole bunch of small decisions pointing in the direction of quality.
March 21, 2012 by Steve Maxwell
I was talking to a drywaller friend of mine, and he’s leaving the building trades. He’s the go-to guy for fast, amazing, top-quality drywall at great prices, but he’s had enough. He’s hung and taped board for more than 20 years, and he’s quitting because he’s had enough of the downward slide in the quality of construction – even in multi-million dollar projects. “I used to complain about the messes I had to drywall over 10 years ago,” he told me yesterday afternoon, ‘but I should have been happy. Things were much better then than now.”
This guy works in rural areas and one big Canadian city, and his story got me thinking about something I’ve pointed out to my son as I helped him build his house. I call it “a thousand decisions”.
Everyday, on every project, each job is made up of a thousand little decisions about quality. And I mean little. Do I shift that stud slightly more in line with the plate before nailing it home, or go as-is? Do I pound the top of the partition wall one more time to get that level bubble just right, or go with what I’ve got? Do I take 2 minutes to shift that concrete form that’s an inch out of line, or ignore it? Each decision is small, but they all add up.
Quality really boils down to a whole bunch of small decisions pointing in the direction of quality. Why these decisions are being made more and more often in the direction of expedience instead of quality in the market where my friend is winding up his career, I don’t know. At least we should stop and notice if it’s happening, don’t you think?