Beyond the Build

Customer Relationships

Where is the Heart?

In the construction business, it can be common to ask for a Fee & General Condition proposal prior to the plans being finished so that a customer/owner can bring a contractor on board. This is very analytical, and the question I ask myself is, “Where’s the matrix for the heart?”

In any business transaction, there are various ways to monitor and evaluate money and performance, but how do we gauge the person or entity providing the service? This is where heart comes in.

Leading with heart means caring about people and the project in balance with the bottom line, and listening to your gut when something doesn’t feel right. It means worrying less about what people think, and more about personal connections. It means leading from the inside out and practicing empathy for those around you. To me, this applies going upstream or downstream in business relationships.

While heart may not drive decisions like the balance sheet does, dedication and intention can make the difference between a good job and a problematic job. Construction is in many ways managing a series of unknowns and risk. Many times, the heart to perform is the differentiator.

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Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and President of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.