Lessons from the Clubhouse

It’s February, which means spring is just around the corner, love will soon be in the air, and pitchers and catchers will soon report for spring training. 

If it weren’t for the fact that the Chicago Cubs will win the World Series this year, there wouldn’t be much to be happy about in Chicago. You see, as this is being written, Sammy Sosa is still a part of the Cubs. Hopefully he will be shipped out of town before the season starts. 

Sosa’s fans and teammates are upset with him because he’s not a team player. Self-centered behavior like his — leaving a game early or refusing to move down in the batting order — gets in the way of the team’s goals, and results in a product that falls short of those goals. Successful teams of any kind have no room for selfishness and close-mindedness.

One team that understands the true value of teamwork is that of Jorge Garcia and the Millers. Garcia and Miller have been personal friends and professional colleagues for 20 years. This history formed the foundation on which to design/build Miller’s dramatic home on this issue’s cover, which is also featured on page 26.

Garcia’s architectural firm designed the home, and Miller also owns the construction company that built it. 

“I don’t think this house could have been accomplished if not for the ability to work closely with the builder from square one,” Garcia says. And Miller agrees; “Because we worked so closely together, and had the same goals in mind, and there was that trust in place, we were able to work together and get it done in budget and according to what we both wanted to accomplish.”

And they’re not the only people who value the design/build team. For example, the other day, one of our sales guys told me about a great phone conversation he had with a manufacturer. This supplier said that design/build guys “get it” and make his life easier. This intrigued me, so I called this person to learn more.

During the conversation, Jon Whorley from Cedar Valley Shingle Systems, a shingle panel manufacturer, said design/build firms are more apt to design something that a builder can actually build. 

“We don’t get calls from design/builders who say, ‘How the heck do you do this.’ We’ve had more success working with the design/builders because they design what can be built,” Whorley said. “Architects love to design, but those who don’t work in the design/build way usually don’t consider what works from a builder’s perspective.” 

Successful design/build projects are the result of teamwork, communication, understanding and support. Teams with members who share the same goals, and are willing to work together to accomplish them, prevail in the end.