I’ve always made it an “office standard practice” to express thanks to all the people who are involved in the work we do. Obviously we all thank our clients for the privilege of working on their projects. We also thank all the folks in our offices for their hard efforts to accomplish the work. Who else do you thank?
I’m especially thankful for the great team of product and vendor reps who call on our office, you guys are some of the unsung heroes of pulling off a really good project. I also try to extend thanks to the subcontractors who take the time to make sure they do a good job, not only for the GC, but also the project; we all benefit from those efforts. How do you say thanks?
I need to admit I “borrowed” an idea from one of my favorite paint reps… giving Starbucks coffee cards to someone when they do something a little “above-and-beyond,” sort of that “little act of kindness” you see on bumper stickers. As we get to know our clients, we might get a gift card for them at a favorite shop so they can get a goodie for their new digs, or for some, an iTunes gift card does the trick. Some of my closer colleagues get bestowed a bottle of my personal favorite Georges Deboeuf Beaujolais-Villages wine. It just depends. It seems like it’s all about connecting and maintaining a connection with the folks we’re glad to work with.
Finally, I like it when particular folks in our industry become “known” for the gifts they give; the GC who gives a toolbox full of candy at Halloween; the MP&E engineers who give a box of peanuts (I’m sure there’s a hidden text in there somewhere “we work for peanuts”, haha) ; the GC who gives Vidalia onions when in the peak of season (“our work won’t make you cry”).
One architect I met a few years ago had done a project for a microbrewery. The project went well, and the architect had the idea, “What if we take photos of what we think are the top 6 projects for the past year, design a label, and give out a six-pack of their seasonal best”… It was in instant success, for both the brewery and for the architect. It has become a “joint tradition” that blurs “Giving Thanks,” “marketing,” and “friendship” into one happy little package. What stories can you share?
Happy Thanksgiving from LKS Architects Inc. in Dunwoody, Ga., and
from the AIA and the Small Projects Practitioners knowledge community.
—Lisa Stacholy, AIA