What architects need to know about leadership succession

Submitted by vcb_prod on Thu, 08/15/2019 - 20:49
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Current principals and owners\nshould look ahead, recruiting employees\nwho have the potential to take the firm into the next generation and providing\nthem with professional development opportunities that will ensure their\nsuccess. Whether you\u2019re a current firm owner or are looking to become one,\nthere are many factors you should be aware of to ensure a seamless transition. "]]],[1,"h3",[[0,[0],1,"Creating and sustaining value"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Running\na firm that is productive and profitable is not enough. To create real value in\na firm\u00ad, great attention needs to be paid to the development and retention of\nthe next generation of leaders. Firm owners should invest in mentoring and\ntraining ambitious, capable young professionals. Firm owners must also ensure\nthat all employees are compensated well, and fairly, so employees are\nincentivized to remain with the firm and contribute to its future success."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Becoming a firm principal requires new knowledge and responsibilities\nthat current principals must be prepared to impart when planning for\nsuccession. It also means taking on financial and professional risk, and when\nfirm ownership is considered, the opportunity to share in the profits and the\nlosses. Incoming leaders need to embrace\nentrepreneurial motivation and rely on those around them for help navigating\nthe transition. Ed Hord, FAIA, founder and\nsenior principal of Hord, Coplan, Macht describes these ideas in more\ndetail in the AIA Trust article, "],[0,[1,2],2,"Architecture\nFirm Ownership Transitions"],[0,[],0,". "]]],[1,"h3",[[0,[0],1,"Seizing opportunities while understanding risk"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Not everyone is cut out for work as a firm leader, but for\nthose who are ready to take it on, becoming a principal can be enormously\nrewarding. It opens new doors to career advancement and influence, as well as\nthe opportunity to shape the future of the firm\u2019s projects, staffing, and\nproduction. But in the end, the path towards firm leadership is about business.\nSince most architects are not trained in business management, there will be an\nongoing and steep learning curve regarding transactions and risks. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Before taking the plunge, architects should consult with a lawyer\nso they fully understand the structure and exposure associated with an\nownership deal. Perhaps most importantly, prospective owners should carefully review\nthe firm\u2019s past financial statements and relevant partnership agreements with\nspecial attention to liability issues and executive decision-making. Researching\nfirm prospects and learning more about staff are also excellent ways to help inform\nhow they may contribute meaningfully in advancing the mission of the firm. Architect\nand author Scott Simpson, FAIA, talks more about what transitioning architects\nshould be aware of in the AIA Trust article "],[0,[1,3],1,"Principal\nInterest"],[0,[],1,"."]]],[1,"h3",[[0,[0],1,"Navigating cultural\nshifts and developing new skills"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"For new firm principals,\nrelationships will change. While architects won\u2019t always be able to choose their partners, they will need to make a\nconcerted effort to establish trust and rapport with them. Being sensitive to\nthe firm culture, laying the groundwork for upcoming changes, and communicating\nin a transparent manner all contribute to a smooth firm transition."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Developing a broader skill\nset and taking on additional responsibilities are also key. Skills development\nneeds to include handling staffing and operational details, managing financial\naspects of running a firm, winning new work, and handling clients effectively. Often,\nnew leaders will have to look outside their firm for continuing education\nopportunities. A sincere commitment to work harder than ever to attract new\nbusiness, learn as much as possible about effectively marketing the firm, and serve\nas a firm ambassador in the community are all paramount to future success. Founder\nand principal consultant of AEC business consulting firm Cameron MacAllister\nGroup, Mark A. Cameron, Hon. AIA., discusses these ideas more in the AIA Trust\narticle "],[0,[1,4],2,"Advice\nto Potential New Principals"],[0,[],0,". "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[1],0,"For more resources on ownership\ntransition, take the "],[0,[5],1,"A"],[0,[6],1,"IAU\ncourse"],[0,[],0," and visit the "],[0,[7],1,"AIA\nTrust"],[0,[],1,", where smart architects manage risk. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[1],1,"A different version of this article originally appeared in the "],[0,[8,1],2,"May "],[0,[1,9],1,"2019 issue"],[0,[],1," of the "],[0,[10,1],2,"AIA "],[0,[1,11],2,"Project M"],[0,[10,1],2,"anagement Knowledge Community"],[0,[1],1,"\u2019s PM Digest. "]]]]}
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Firm transitions require a deep commitment and collaboration from current and future leaders.
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