Design professionals are skilled problem solvers for their clients, yet it’s surprising how many firm leaders rely on trial and error to solve their own practice puzzles. This is costly, time consuming and more frustrating than it needs to be.
“Rick is a self-described practice junkie who brings his extensive and practical background in the A/E industry to every discussion. Approachable, positive, and a strong communicator, he was quick to understand my point of view and then offered quality solutions to help me lead more effectively.”
CEO/Principal, Winnipeg Architecture firm.
A heavy focus on the Practice of Design is yielding diminishing returns for the design professions. It may seem counterintuitive, but to make your firm stronger, able to meet the challenges of the times, more attention must shift to the Design of Practice.
Once you’ve established your personal and professional goals (no small feat), you need to focus on three areas. More clarity around your financials, a market position based on unique expertise, and an operating system that is aligned with your position in the marketplace. Those three elements; Measurement, Positioning, and Alignment drive the design of your practice.
Measurement is the common element that weaves its way through the iterative process of positioning and aligning. You need to understand your financials so you can make better business decisions. Using the Strong Practice Scoreboard you’ll be well equipped to understand your current reality and plan for the future.
Positioning is all about creating a market position based on unique expertise. Properly positioned, a firm is able to attract target clients and personnel, instead of chasing them. Positioning results in the ability to drive greater value for clients and command premium fees.
Alignment is about making sure the firm’s operating system is designed to support its market position. Do you have the right people on board? Are you pricing your work appropriately? Is your pipeline stocked with high quality projects and clients? Does your sales pitch keep your cost of sale low? Are your project delivery systems optimized for the type of work you focus on? Are your profits being deployed appropriately?
4 years ago we engaged you to help us build a Strong Practice. Four years later, the process has also helped me build a joyful practice that remains resilient through partnership changes, personal life challenges and even the economic uncertainty of COVID.
Architecture Firm Principal, Vancouver
Rick, I wanted to express my appreciation for your feedback and guidance during the leadership transition of my firm. Your insights gave me a great deal of reassurance when I was uncertain about what was to come. And our continued work together has helped position my firm for success. Thanks again!
Principal, 15-person Architectural firm, Winnipeg
Our firm has been around for decades - consulting with Rick gave us a wake-up shake. He has been a great independent sounding board for looking at our practice….and ourselves. He’s helped us focus on areas that need work, with good solid analysis methods to gauge firm performance. He highlighted our strengths and identified possible directions to take the firm.
Principal, 16-person Architectural firm, Ottawa