Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood

With over 32 years in the business, Harry prides himself on being a community leader, exceptional building provider, and client advocate. As President & CEO of Horst Construction, he provides leadership to Horst’s multi-disciplinary teams throughout all stages of a project—from discussion through ribbon cutting. His creative approach to value engineering, constructability, and planning is one of the reasons clients come back to Horst time and again.

The quote, “Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood”, by Stephen Covey has always spoken to me, and is one that I reference in trainings and internal meetings with my employees frequently. Our approach to every project is to listen intently to our clients with the goal of clearly understanding their needs. Without first gaining clarity, it would be very difficult for us to meet and exceed our clients’ expectations. One point of pride for me is that by bringing our collective experiences to the table—experiences gained by working with a variety of clients over the past 120 years in business—we can bring additional depth to our approach, often anticipating needs our clients will encounter before they even realize they exist.

Are You Initiating a Transaction or Developing a Long-Term Relationship?
When our clients start to investigate and plan a major capital expenditure, they can sometimes overlook the fact that they are getting involved in a relatively long-term commitment. Of course, each project will have a unique schedule and timeline; however, for many clients the process can take several years from start to finish. For example, with churches we work closely with the building committee— typically consisting of church members who lead the major service areas within the church, such as education programs or community outreach— as well as the religious leader. That relationship begins with planning, whether informally or through an in-depth Master Planning Process, and continues through program/budget development, selection of options, and phasing approach; as well as through preconstruction, construction, and ribbon cutting.

Senior living projects, whether for profit or non-profit, also constitute a very long-term relationship that can last for years. This often includes ongoing maintenance and refresh programs after the facility is open for business. Here, the relationship needs to be even more dynamic. Not only the owner, but also staff and residents become part of the relationship with our firm. We work alongside them every day, so trust and mutual respect are key components to a successful and long-lasting relationship. Regardless of the industry, our relationship-based approach keeps our clients and their best interests first and foremost in our minds.

Excerpt from Interview with Markitects client, Harry Scheid, President, Horst Construction