The Importance of Communication

by Jeffrey Cavignac, CPCU, ARM, RPLU, CRIS, MLIS - President, Cavignac & Associates
Communication, or lack of it, is the main reason design professionals get sued. After all, the only time we litigate a matter is when we stop talking to the other party, and pay someone else to talk for us (lawyers). Does everyone in your company have a clear understanding of the level of communication required of them? Our company, Cavignac & Associates, has developed a Communications Protocol. It outlines, at a minimum, what is expected of all staff when it comes to communications and documentation.  Although it runs to seven pages, there are three basic rules:

  1. If it is even remotely important it must be documented in writing…because if it isn’t in writing…it didn’t happen!
  2. Never, ever say anything about anyone or anything that you wouldn’t want discussed in a court of law!
  3. Before you hit “send,” spell check, grammar check, and double check the recipients!

Even the best firms get sued; you can do everything right and still be in the line of fire. There is no question however, that firms that communicate at a higher level have fewer problems, and firms that document better are in a much better position if they are sued.