Sunday, June 18, 2017

"In Everything We Do, There May Be A Better Way"

We all strive to do our best. We take pride and professional satisfaction in doing the best job we can. When we meet with a potential aging in place client to assess their situation and propose solutions for them, we are looking for ways to match their abilities with their budget, the parameters of their home layout and constructions, and the best practices for this situation.

As hard as we attempt to get it just right - with the resources we have available to us and the knowledge base we are working with - it just could be that there is something we are overlooking or not considering. This can't become something we worry about, and we can't obsess over this, but there is the possibility that there is a better way to approach the solution we are creating and recommending.

It doesn't mean that there is a better way, or even that there even should be. We just need to take a step back - after doing all of our analysis - and consider that there might be several ways to approach a given situation. Sometimes our first hunch or idea will be the one we go with. Other times, it might be several ideas we go through before landing on the one we like.

Of course, just because we like something doesn't always mean the client will want it - or that the other decision makers, caregivers, or others involved in creating the solution will agree with our proposal. They might have a better way - maybe not. Budget can be a deciding factor in selecting an approach. Even at that, the solution that seems to work and meets the budget criteria and the physical needs of the client and the structure could still be tweaked a little. This is the whole idea that possibly there's a better way.

Of course, we don't want to get into a second-guessing mode or develop our hindsight or armchair quarterback abilities. We just want to be open to idea that once we think we have arrived at a workable solution or way to approach the demolition or reconstruction of an area in the home, we should give it a more critical look to see if we could do anything differently - to benefit of the client, to the sustainability of the project, or to the profitability of our company. 

This concept of the better way isn't limited to just the execution of our projects and the recommendations of solutions to meet the needs of our clients. it can apply to the way we present our proposals and our marketing as well. 

When we assemble the various parties that might have an interest in the solutions we have been asked to create for the client, the way we organize our thoughts and present them can have a bearing on how well they are received by everyone. On delicate matters that need to be discussed, is there a better way to bring them into the conversation that what we have been doing? Are there props or illustrations we can use to help our clients grasp better what we are suggesting? In terms of communicating with them verbally, are we using terms that are too technical or ones that may not register with them because of generational differences in terminology between us and them? There may indeed be a better way.

In the way that we craft our message and disseminate it, are we choosing media, methods, and words that connect well with our intended audience? Should we be using some social media that we aren't? Should we pull back on some that we are using? Is there a type of message that people really need to see that we (or possibly no one) is presenting? If this is true, let us determine what that is so we can take advantage of it.

Frequently there are better ways to do something that the first thought that occurs to us or the way we typically approach it. Let's be open to this being true and no be so quick to run with the first answer that seems reasonable to us. There may be a better way if we look for it.


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Steve HoffackerCAPS, CEAC, SHSS, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist-Master Instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555. Also check out the "Aging & Accessibility" groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.