The Austin Company’s core focus is to be the most trusted partner for complex and challenging projects. Fundamental to this focus is the ability to earn and maintain the trust of clients who rely on us to deliver their most important capital projects. Our reputation is earned inside our clients’ organizations. Stories are told. Expectations are created beyond what the marketplace typically offers. When large organizations are involved, creating a trusted partnership is a particularly daunting challenge.
Trust is, first and foremost, a personal emotion. When working with clients, the bond of trust is initially created between just a few people from each organization. The next step is growing that trust, so it becomes institutionalized across departments and locations to include the broad array of people in both organizations who are accountable for design, procurement, facilities, constructions, and operations. It’s when the trust between client and Austin becomes this intrinsic that true partnerships are born.
Austin is blessed to have developed many strong partnerships with leading companies in the vertical markets we serve. The origins of these relationships are often a critical project or program. True partnerships are born when the respective teams experience something unique while working together- like the successful completion of an especially challenging project or embracing deep collaboration and joint focus to overcome external obstacles. Mostly, there was a common cause that motivated the teams to come together and succeed.
From that experience comes a desire to repeat the success with another project. The secret sauce of such partnerships, I believe, starts with cultures that are open to such strategic relationships. The journey to becoming a trusted partner and then delivering exceptional projects makes us yearn for our next success. This journey is when the recipe for the secret sauce is created, written down, and committed to memory. Sustaining these partnerships demands alignment of cultures – cultures that are enduring and fully embedded in the organization. When two organizations with similar cultures and shared mutual respect create a solid foundation of essential beliefs and practices, they build an overarching sense of trust with one another.
In over 140 years of building facilities for our clients, we have built trusted partnerships with many of the industry’s most celebrated names. Some of these relationships have endured more than 80 years. Some have come to an end for a variety of reasons— companies get sold, industries die, cultures change, etc.
Trust-based partnerships are our lifeblood, but they come with significant risks. What if the team changes and trust gets replaced by skepticism—or worse—distrust? What happens when issues become contractual problems instead of obstacles the team works to knockdown? What is the impact on the success of the project when one party disregards the needs of the other party to be successful? Indeed, there are firms in the marketplace with those cultures. And there are suppliers with similar cultures who like to work for those types of firms. It’s all about culture.
As for Austin’s culture, we prefer long marriages, stable relationships, and mutual respect. We understand that sometimes sacrifices must be made for the greater good of the relationship. This is how we work.
Project planning, design, and construction are human endeavors. There are disruptions and obstacles, failures, and mistakes. With the right cultures, these challenges can be dealt with fairly and reasonably. Teams work through obstacles for the benefit of the project, keeping in mind not only the long-term success of the project but also the long-term success of our organizations. This is how we work.
At Austin, the ability to trust, have faith, and never be complacent about the value of long-term trusted partnerships compels us; these are the reasons we have been successful for more than 140 years. We are driven to find new opportunities to continue relationships with existing clients, and build new ones with those we’ve yet to serve. To all those partners we are honored and blessed to have – thank you. You know who you are. You have our commitment to remain your partner and pursue excellence in serving you because your long-term success is our most important goal.
“It takes two to do the trust tango–the one who risks (the trustor) and the one who is trustworthy (the trustee); each must play their role. –Charles H. Green, The Trusted Advisor
“Trust each other again and again. When the trust level gets high enough, people transcend apparent limits, discovering new and awesome abilities of which they were previously unaware.” –David Armistead
“It is mutual trust, even more than mutual interest, that holds human associations together.” –H. L. Mencken