Six Lessons for Firms and Organizations

Participation in an association like AIA is the “amplification of a human commitment”; a group of professionals working together to address common issues. It serves as a forum for a free and open discussion of diverse opinions and amplifies the work of individuals.

Last week’s AIA Leadership Summit is a program rife with examples of organizational advantages.

Evelyn Lee, FAIA, AIA President-elect from California congratulated over 650 attendees for stepping up and showing up for the industry this week in Washington D.C. She recognized the power of voices – united and inspired by each other. Together, AIA leaders advocated for issues on Capitol Hill including: Democracy in Design, R&D Tax Credit, and raising the cap on architectural fees for federal projects.

For the 60+ Californians in attendance, this notion of community was reinforced throughout conference. AIA California President Winston Thorne, AIA, gathered the community of California’s leaders and invited them to share their top efforts in support of the profession. Many components are focused on tangible programs to support emerging professionals, others are looking for strategies to support the business of architecture – all working together to improve the health and prosperity of the profession in California.

Six lessons from this event that directly translate to practice…

  1. Focus. Every organization has too many priorities and these aren’t always connected to what’s always important. Pick the ONE THING that you want to do that will have significant impact- 1x focus leads to 10x results.
  2. Innovation. Focus on solving for the needs of others, not yours, and embrace constraints – creativity accelerates innovation.
  3. Legacy. Your real legacy is not just what you do as a leader, but what you do to “build the farm team” to get your organization to the finish line.
  4. Community. You’re not alone. There’s a network of professionals who are ready and willing to step up and help, to share lessons learned, and to be a resource when you need help and support – it’s your job to ask for what you need.
  5. Recognition. Architecture isn’t possible without a great team. How you recognize and acknowledge contributions contributes greatly to job satisfaction and longevity within an organization. Specifically – what they did and how it changed the trajectory of the project.
  6. Less makes better. Creativity is a result of constraints; we know this in the design process–the simple solution often takes more time to develop. Apply this same thinking to processes and infrastructure to allow people to demonstrate their strengths.
Skip to content