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Too often in the pool and spa industry we see individuals taking sole credit for what is a group effort.

Frequently, a spectacular end result may have very little to do with the pool contractor. That person may even end up with an award for something that was successful in spite of them, not because of them.

It’s time our industry, as a whole, verifies what many of us already know: the importance of the team.

On large projects in particular, it’s commonplace to involve multiple design professionals. Architects, landscape architects and interior decorators may all weigh in on a backyard.

You will notice that I left out the pool designer. This is because there are only a handful of true pool designers. Pool contractors that have had some formal training in design elements are now becoming more prevalent in our environment.

But the crucial component of the team is the homeowner, also known as your customer. Many times, the desires of the owner get overlooked in the process of determining who will be the “lead dog.” This can result in individuals focusing on finding deficiencies in others’ work as opposed to participating in solutions.

This type of conflict typically occurs when one or more of the team members are incompetent, and attempt to throw the other players under the proverbial bus. But then the whole team loses, especially the owner.

The opposite is true as well. Case in point is the privilege I had recently of working with a homeowner in Beverly Hills, Calif. An incompetent pool contractor had attempted a remodel of an existing pool alongside a spectacular home. The crisp, modern details of the home went unnoticed to the pool man, and his design and execution of the slot overflow and surge tank were a complete failure.

We were ultimately called to provide design and mechanical solutions, and the process of developing the end result as a team was a true pleasure. I worked with John Crystal, Scot Robertson and Jodi White of John Crystal Pools, Jimmy Reed of Rock Solid Tile, and Kenny Larribas, the homeowner’s representative and job coordinator.

We partnered with a group of talented shotcrete applicators and stainless steel fabricators to create a very special backyard. Not only does this stunning project mirror the architecture down to the smallest details, but the owner is thrilled in spite of the process she had to go through to achieve the end result.

Did my company participate at a high level? Absolutely. Do we deserve all the accolades?  That would be an emphatic no. Until our industry wakes up to the team concept, we will always be viewed in the role that many in our industry play: the low bidder on another’s idea.

Remember, true credibility is something you earn. False credentials and taking credit for the hard work, talent and intellect of others does nothing to enhance the perception of our industry.  The client – the most important part of the team – deserves better, and so do the rest of us.