Whatever Happens Next In 2019 And Beyond, Build On Trust
Testing 1, 2, 3 … Is this thing on?
When BUILDER and our team at builderonline.com does the job we set out to do, we challenge you and try to help you to be the best builder you can be.
That may happen through our reporting and connection to ideas, education, training, motivation, data, inspiration, encouragement, or empowerment.
Today, though, no challenge. Today, just a plain thank you. We are simply, unashamedly, unreservedly, profoundly grateful to you for what you do.
Why say that now, today?
Partly because we may not say it enough. But, close your eyes and think for a brief moment about the news cycle of late.
Now, open your eyes, and think about what you do, how you do it, who you do it for, and why.
To earn money doing what you do, you need to earn trust. Not just home buyers’ trust. Stakeholders, team members, suppliers, vendors, land sellers, lenders, municipal staff and officials, developers, and many, many human relationships critical to doing business. You’re in the trust-earning business, and in this world, at this particular moment, that’s saying something.
So, builders, we at BUILDER salute you for that ability you have–in times that challenge it in so many ways–to earn the trust of another human being, and another, and another. And what’s more, you sustain it, and build on it. Men, women, and children become the people they want to be with your help. They trust you for that.
That fact, and its importance to the immediate and longer-term future of building and you and your teams, is critical, especially as operating conditions get trickier, and challenge intensifies.
Here’s why. Let’s start in the way-back machine with this prescient observation.
“A house is a machine for living in.”
Of course, in its original French language, Le Corbusier’s sentence did not end in a preposition. “Une maison est une machine-à-habiter.”
The architect’s words, from the 1920s, in Toward an Architecture, and his five-point manifesto, Five Points of Architecture,” live in the flesh and bones and soul of almost every contemporary home you’ll see today, especially homes that dare to blur boundaries between indoor and outdoor living. However, Corbu’s “house-is-a-machine-for-living-in” assertion rings poignantly and urgently relevant at this particular moment.
Almost a century since he wrote the words, the canny truth, implications, and power of their meaning is still becoming profoundly evident. A home, at the end of the day, is technology people use for shelter, safety, privacy, discretionary access to resources and nature, connection to other people, and the opportunity to flourish personally. People’s motion and flow and comfort zones within the interiors, and their routines and their experiences now populate boundless vaults of data.
Who owns that data? What can be done with it? How? Why? These questions matter. They matter especially now, as the very meaning of safety, security, peace-of-mind, privacy, transparency, permission, discretionary access to essential resources and connections to other people is undergoing exponential change because of the values personal data contain and how they get traded, and what they’re worth.
20/20 hindsight will eventually shows us where the mid-2019 notch fits in the residential real estate cycle plot line.
Minor blips, macro trends, headwinds, tailwinds, etc., we believe will continue to roil the business space, and challenge market-rate, for-profit residential real estate and construction stakeholder like no time in recent memory.
A convergence or collision or cross-current of three powerful forces is at work. What’s changing exponentially faster clashing with what never changes makes for a disruptive business environment.
- A cycle has reached its inflection point.
- Structural differences are emerging in how people want to live in their homes and what they want to own.
- Safety, security, peace of mind, and a chance to flourish are the timeless values people insist on in their homes.
What always was, is, and will always be is this:
Trust is the enabler of global business — without it, most market transactions would be impossible. It is also a hallmark of high-performing organizations. Employees in high-trust companies are more productive, are more satisfied with their jobs, put in greater discretionary effort, are less likely to search for new jobs, and even are healthier than those working in low-trust companies. Businesses that build trust among their customers are rewarded with greater loyalty and higher sales. And negotiators who build trust with each other are more likely to find value-creating deals.
What always was, is, and will always be, as well, is that trust–earning it, sustaining it, integrating it into operational and enterprise behaviors–is material to success. A recent Accenture analysis quantifies the impact–positive and negative–of trust here.
Trust incidents are becoming increasingly visible to the general public. The heightened transparency inherent in our digital world means trust is a highly flammable, ever-present concern. Managing trust cannot be relegated to simply addressing individual incidents with public relations as necessary. Instead, companies need to intentionally create a culture that builds, maintains and preserves trust. They must bake trust into their DNA, strategy, and day-to-day operations. In this age of transparency, how a company does things has become as equally important as what it does. Trust must permeate relationships with all stakeholders—from employees, to customers, suppliers, investors, analysts and the media.
To be competitive in today’s environment, companies need to execute a balanced strategy that prioritizes trust at the same level as growth and profitability. Those who do benefit from greater resiliency from trust incidents, making them more competitive. Those who don’t are putting billions in future revenue at risk.
People today find it harder to trust one another. They also find it harder to solve some of life’s challenges. Here’s part of the good news. People do see a cause-effect relationship between solving for some of those rough challenges and increasing the amount of trust they feel. The New York Times analysis on the topic by staffer Matt Stevens concludes:
More than 90 percent of both groups said they thought it was important to improve the level of confidence Americans have in government and in each other. And more than 80 percent thought such improvement was possible.
“Each one of us must reach out to others,” a 66-year-old woman told the researchers. “It takes interaction with people face-to-face to realize that we do all inhabit this space and have a vested interest in working together to make it a successful, safe, and environmentally secure place to live. No man is an island.”
The other part of the good news is that you, dear builders and your partners, mostly work, and live, and stand up as real-world examples for many of the rest of business, finance, manufacturing, marketing, and distribution sectors, of how deeply powerful trust can be.
For this, we thank you.