by the Artist
I love the show "Flipping Out" on Bravo. Mostly because I get to see how Jeff Lewis the owner relates to his employees, and how he manages multiple projects at the same time. I particularly love Jenni his main assistant. I admire her sass and how she handles the subcontractors and clients. The show for me is more about human interactions then the end product.
Recently I watched an episode where Jeff and crew were updating a home's interior from the walls (remodeling) to the furniture (interior design). Towards the end of the project Jeff realized that the homeowner wasn't happy with how the project was turning out. But his wife was very happy.
I suddenly saw behind the obvious of the episode. I couldn't believe that it had gone that far in the project. Who wasn't really listening? Did they sit down and talk prior to the project start? Or did they all just get caught up in the momentum of the process. Jeff and his crew were syncing with the wife on all the design decisions. But the husband wasn't and had checked out of the process. And it appeared that no one took the time to ask him what was going on– they knew he was unhappy but didn't deal with the elephant in the room. Yet. At least this is how it appeared from how the situation was presented.
I thought about this. What if this happened to us? I would feel terrible. What did I miss? It made me pause. It confirmed to me that we always need to "know" our customers before any larger project begins. To have a clear understanding of what they like, don't like, what their "style" or lack thereof is, what their dreams are for their home. We do this. I do this before I offer a single suggestion, sketch or wall color.
The issue on this episode was resolved. An honest conversation ensued where Jeff and the wife admitted that they had neglected including the husband in on the decisions, and had ignored his apparent unhappiness. And the husband was honest about how he had been feeling– that he felt like a stranger in a home he no longer knew– all his favorite things gone–replaced by sleek contemporary. From that point things improved. The husband was given the voice to choose what he wanted. And ironically in being given the freedom to choose he came around to embrace the newly designed interior, along with a comfy chair for his office!
So here's to starting off right. Staying in communication and always checking in, and mostly.. listening.