Mike Pierce's blog

Trends in Contract Terms and Conditions

When I started in sales some 30+ years ago, many of Austin’s design and construction projects were completed under a simple agreement between Austin and Owner. Austin’s standard agreements were simple layman’s contracts that explained costs, payments were based on Advance Fund Schedules (we were paid in advance for the work to be performed), limitations of liability and warranty, and cost protections the Owner and Austin agreed upon.

Building Belief in Sustainable Design

The Austin Company recently nominated Judi Szabo-Stull, Manager of Facilities Development in our Cleveland Operations office, for a Green Building & Design 2015 Women in Sustainability Leadership Award. For Judi, this is a much-deserved recognition – internally to Austin and more broadly within the industry. Good luck in the process Judi!

Reflections on Independence Day

I write this on Wednesday night, July 1. July 4 is Saturday. We all seem to refer to July 4th as the “Fourth of July”, as opposed to the original and more appropriate name, Independence Day. When someone recently referred to Independence Day, the immediate vision that entered my mind was not parades or fireworks, but the Will Smith movie, Independence Day. That is embarrassing to admit and depressing to think about.

Leadership: Finding Your North Star

Leadership seems to be such a popular topic covered at industry association and company meetings and seminars, as well as the focus of study by countless consultancy and academic agencies. Thirty years ago, I do not remember there being such a concentrated focus on it. Clearly, it has become a more important aspect of what organizations do to compete and succeed.

A Little Respect and Common Courtesy

So I am kind of struggling with this one.

Over the past year or so, business emails from strangers trying to interest me in something start off with the salutation, "Hey Mike". Growing up, my Dad – who was the consummate gentlemen – would have been embarrassed to hear one of his kids show disrespect, rudeness even, to a stranger by using such a casual greeting, especially in a professional environment.

Building Trust and Keeping Clients

“You start losing a client the moment you get it.” ~ Jay Chiat

Regular readers of my blog know that I like to post some quotes at the end that are relevant, sometimes amusingly so, to the topic. In researching appropriate quotes for this post, I came across this one by Jay Chiat, Advertising Executive and co-founder of TBWA\Chiat\Day.

Integrated Project Teams: 5 Steps to Improve Project Performance

A recent study by KPMG, reported in Building Design & Construction, indicated that more than half of the Owners who contracted for projects last year suffered underperforming projects – defined as being more than 10% over budget or 10% over schedule.

Leading with Industry Loyalty

Recently, while at a conference in an industry we serve, I was asked by a prospective client why they should choose The Austin Company over a competitor for their next project. It is an awkward question since first, you are being put in a position where anything you say can be interpreted as bashing the competition and that can always backfire on you. And second, in our industry, we do not know our competition as well as say, Coke knows Pepsi.

Emotional Intelligence on an Aircraft Carrier

I attended two industry conferences last week and was struck by the similarities of the underlying theme of two of the keynote address speakers.

Creating Expectations: Building a Foundation for Success

I recently participated in what was potentially a very challenging meeting with an excellent prospect. The design of the plant we had been schematically developing was presumably well over their budget.

Yet, the team working on this accomplished a number of important tasks in the development of this opportunity. Within these tasks lies a process that is the foundation for greater success in sales and, yes, in relationships in general.

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