Business Lesson 5 from Mr. Blandings

Packed with talent, wit and charm, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948) offers a range of valuable business lessons.

Every contractor, consultant and salesperson should watch it. Here’s the situation, as we tackle Business Lesson 5.

Blandings and the architect are reviewing final bills from the many trades and craftspeople who’ve worked on the house, which is almost finished. Blandings goes ballistic when he sees the bill for the pantry room floor, because it’s much higher than expected.

Is the contractor a crook? Is he taking advantage?

Not at all. Mrs. Blandings had asked if some leftover pieces of flagstone could be used as part of the pantry room floor.

The contractor was accountable for producing a quality floor. He wanted his customer to be happy. The flagstones were already paid for, so in essence they were free.

Of course, he said yes.

By the time Mrs. Blandings made her request, however, the specified pantry floor had already been installed.

To accommodate the flagstone, part of that floor had to be removed. To remove the flooring, part of the wall had to be knocked out. To accommodate mortar for the stone, a special pan was designed and installed. To accommodate the pan, floor joists were altered and a support column as put in. To accommodate the joists and column, the master drain pipe had to be removed, relocated and reinstalled.

What’s the lesson?

In any complex endeavor, every function is related to many other functions. One seemingly simple request, cheerfully accommodated, can radically alter the scope, timing, cost and effort for nearly everyone involved.

Did the flooring contractor make the right decision? You decide. Our job is to connect the dots.

For example, the film doesn't reveal what happened behind the scenes, when the other tradesmen learned they had to tear out, replace and redo work they'd just completed.

One thing is clear. Sometimes one small change can save money in one area and create a cascade of events with big costs and consequences elsewhere.

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Related
Business Lesson 1 from Mr. Blandings
Business Lesson 2 from Mr. Blandings
Business Lesson 3 from Mr. Blandings
Business Lesson 4 from Mr. Blandings
Business Lesson 6 from Mr. Blandings

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