The following post is from Jason Curtis. Court and Classroom is especially thankful for Jim Garman of Garman Homes for allowing us to post this. More importantly we are thankful for the example Jim sets in how he leads his company and treats his customers.
This is the most unusual contract I’ve ever seen:
At Garman Homes, We believe a good attitude can change the world. We insist on a good attitude…from Our employees, Our vendors, Our cooperating Brokers, Our Legal & Lender Squad and from You, Our Buyers. We insist.
Mistakes happen all the time. So do misunderstandings, miscommunications and the dreaded perceived mistakes and assumptions. All are likely to put Our Good Attitudes to the test. At some point during construction on Your New Home, We are likely to stumble upon something unexpected. In fact, You should expect the unexpected. We have built hundreds of homes, We know to expect the unexpected.
Our good attitudes can make the difference between working through something unexpected in a collaborative way or stewing about it and trading ‘he said, she said’ emails. Those emails never end well. The gist is, We don’t promise to make any fewer mistakes than other homebuilders. But We DO promise to be honest, sincere and propose ways to move forward. In return, We expect the same from You.
We don’t respond well to yelling and screaming. And We don’t respond well to threats. We prefer working with people who want to find a winwin for everyone involved. If You feel You may struggle with this approach during the building process, We’re not the builder for You. Be honest with Yourself about whether You can commit to a Good Attitude. There is no faking it. We can tell when You’re faking.
We feel so strongly about the importance of a Good Attitude, We reserve the right to terminate Our Agreement at anytime prior to Closing if We feel Our relationship has gone off the rails. The last thing We want is for You to move forward with Your New Home if You are no longer able to offer Us the benefit of the doubt or if You’ve lost the ability to trust Us. It’s tough to imagine now but it happens. In this rare situation, We will return to You the Builder Deposit and, depending on the timing, We may be able to refund Your Option Deposit also.
We love what We do for a living. It is more than a job for every single one of Us. It’s not business, it’s personal. With Your help and positive support, We are confident that We can build a great home for You.
You:____________ Date:____________ Us:____________ Date:____________
Jim Garman, the owner of Garman Homes, was introduced to me by a colleague who was fortunate enough to have a home built by Jim’s team. We invited him to campus because we were looking for someone who could stimulate new ways of thinking about IT customer service at our school. Jim is a thoughtful, reflective, creative and passionate “serial entrepreneur,” who is taking advantage of his position as owner to serve as purchasing manager for the year (instead of running the company).
In the frequently contentious world of construction, the Garman Homes team seeks to create the best possible experience for both the customer and the building team. They seem to have hit on a winning formula: seek to create a partnership and don’t be afraid to be specific about expectations from both the builder and the homebuyer.
The most important thing about a contract is that it demands something from both parties. It extends a promise in exchange for another promise, and is supported by specific action (or “consideration” in legal terms). The language of the contract keeps both parties honest, while laying out what is to be expected throughout the transaction.
What if we were to create a “good attitude” contract between coaches and families at the beginning of the season?
Here are a few ideas, and we’d love to hear your comments and additions:
At ______________ Volleyball Club, We believe that we have a most important responsibility to partner with You, parents, in helping raise your child. We believe that the only way that We can effectively help You raise Your child is by both parties agreeing to act with mutual respect and appreciation.
We know that the upcoming season will include some wins and some failures, that every player will not be able to play as much as they want and where they want, and that We will make some coaching decisions that will not be successful.
In those inevitable moments of potential disappointment, You and We will react in a positive manner because it is the best response for Your children to witness. Both parties will allow space for each party to be the best version of themselves [Growth Clause], will always assume that the actions of the other party are initiated with best intentions [Optimism Clause], will understand that errors will be made by You and Us, both of whom are human [Forgiveness Clause], and will always endeavor to leave the other party happier at the end of every interaction [Joy Clause].
You love your children, and We do too. Therefore, both parties promise that:
|will react to disappointment with professionalism, kindness and positivity
||will be open-minded about the learning process and embrace adversity for our children
|will understand that families are doing their best to attend practices and games and will seek to decrease to a family’s scheduling stress by being empathetic, patient and kind about tardiness and absences
||will be patient with schedule changes and endeavor to bring my child to practice with more than a full stomach and necessary equipment: they will come armed with gratitude, optimism, openness and joy.
|will continue to challenge our players by giving them opportunities to stretch and grow, especially when they struggle or fail
||will bring cheerfulness and kindness to the bleachers at games, and will extend genuine hospitality and welcome to other parents
|will always build up and encourage players and families through conversations with other coaches
||will always build up and encourage all players and coaches through conversations with other parents
|will cheerfully conduct ourselves as exemplary role models and supporters for our players
||will consistently enjoy and appreciate the sacrifice of supporting our children in athletics
|will treat my players and opponents as if they were someone’s child (which, incidentally, they are)
||will treat my child’s teammates and opponents as if they were someone’s child (which, incidentally, they are)