In my last job as a Marketing Manager for a building materials manufacturer I worked very closely with the architectural community. My goal was to have architects specify our products in the early stage of building design, which would help to drive sales. As I worked with forward thinking companies, I learned that progressive firms were investing far more time in the decision making process in order to provide attractive, sustainable structures with low operating and maintenance costs. To do this, it was clear that they would need to consider every angle before finalizing product choices in order to ensure optimal designs.
One story I heard was that an architectural firm held a meeting with the usual decision makers, but also invited one representative from every area that would be impacted by the design, including the janitor who would clean the building. After the round table discussion a lot was learned from the janitor like how certain materials were hard to clean, impractical and lacking durability. These types of non-traditional perspectives added considerable insight to the process, which allowed the architects to design a far superior structure than they had ever imagined.
What I have learned is that it is essential to get the perspective of everyone who is impacted by a decision you make in order to provide a solution that is considerably better than one you imagined yourself.
So next time you have an important decision to make, bring the janitor into the meeting!
- Aleya Suleman