My mentor Michael Maschio was the Production Executive in charge of The A-Team in the 80s. He rolled his eyes when I gushed. He's old Hollywood. His dad was the packaging agent for Casablanca, so piecing together epic creative projects was in his blood. He managed all kinds of personalities with ease, dealt with situations you don’t want to know about – well you do, but I can’t tell you – and made sure that his series were delivered on time and on budget.
Rarely do people who watch a TV show, or in your case, experience luxurious and functional, bespoke interiors, realize what it took to get there. You’re the one who had to live through the chaos of the complete teardown and re-build from the ground-up.
You’re the one who managed the contractor, the tradesmen and fixed the problems the architect didn’t account for when he drafted the plans. You’re the one who made sure the kitchen cabinets fit within a 1/16 of an inch. You’re the one who selected the layers and layers and layers of custom finishes so that now this bundle of ideas and dollars actually feels like a home.
You know what you’re in for when your client puts her signature on the dotted line, so you better choose wisely who you’re in with.
The Dream Team
The interior design industry is primarily knowledge-based, which means your design firm is only as good as what the weakest link on your team doesn’t know.
According to a CareerBuilder survey, forty-one percent of companies said hiring the wrong person for the job cost them more than $25,000. One in four said it cost them over $50,000. What has hiring the wrong person cost you, not just in terms of worth, but in terms of the smooth operation and the culture of your firm?
Ask yourself, are your people the cream of the crop, a team committed to playing their A-game? Or are you worried that you won’t be able to lead people who are “smarter” than you?
Have you hired them in positions that focus on their strengths? People who get to focus on their strengths are six times more likely to be engaged.
But most importantly, does each and every person on your team know why you’re in business? Are they fully committed to your vision and to championing your brand from the moment a new client walks in the door?
Are they supporting you? Why? Why not?
P.S. Michael was also Production Executive for The Greatest American Hero, the theme song of which “Believe It Or Not” is still one of my favorite TV theme songs of all time. I wish you could have seen the face he made when I told him that.