Recently my wife and I entered into a battle of wits, strength and cunning. The challenge began while brushing our teeth, neither of us wanted to get the new tube of toothpaste out of the basement pantry, we couldn’t possibly walk that far. For days we battled back and forth with using a lot of toothpaste to nearly none, in the hopes that the other would be left holding this hot potato. When the toothpaste tube appeared to run out I would seemingly come up with endless creative solutions to extract everything I could. I would roll the tube, scrape the tube, stick the brushes down in the tube, and then, one time, I couldn’t get another spec out. I waited for her to use it first knowing that it wasn’t possible to extract another drop baring cutting it open, would she? Maybe I should first.
As she entered my trap I milled around to watch her be defeated. To my shock she opened her medicine cabinet and pulled out a nearly new tube of toothpaste and smirked, and then she asked if I needed any. For a week she had enjoyed watching me wrack my brain on how to beat the system, I was only beating up myself wasting time and energy, much to her enjoyment.
The point of this story is, like everything else in life, the design and construction process is filled with challenges and negotiations. It is wise to pick and choose issues that truly matter to you and remain firm, but, to also give a little when you can. There will be times when team members need to help each other out, be it on a cost, schedule or design issue, because the issue at hand is really important to someone. If it’s important to them, and you can be a team player, do it. Your cooperation will pay for itself by the time the project is completed. You will create a reputation for yourself for being cooperative. Being stubborn is a waste of time, leaving you with a worthless, empty tube of toothpaste.
~ Paul Wember, Owner’s Representative