Thinking Strategically

What It Takes to Succeed

Dear clients and friends I’ve been consulting with architecture and engineering firms for nearly 30 years, through up times and down times and everything in between. For much of our industry these are great times: Firms involved in infrastructure have benefitted from the injection of federal funds from the IIJA (Infrastructure Investment and Jobs [...]

2023-12-01T16:02:49-05:00By |Thinking Strategically|


Dear Clients and Friends I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, complete with everything that makes it wonderful for you! We certainly have a lot to be grateful for. Of course, our families, our good friends, and our health. Also, that we live in a world, and at a time, when we can [...]

2022-11-23T13:38:55-05:00By |Thinking Strategically|

Talent Wars: How to Not Lose Your People

Dear Clients and Friends In my strategic planning work, leaders in every firm I see are (justifiably) grumbling about our industry’s talent shortage and shaking their heads ruefully when they lose good people. I’d like to claim you can “poach-proof” your firm, but that’s not possible. There are, however, some preemptive actions you can take [...]

2022-04-12T13:21:39-04:00By |Thinking Strategically|

Once Is Not Enough

Firms tend to develop their own natural cadence of strategic planning, varying from renewing the plan annually to updating it every three or four years. Irrespective of a firm’s planning rhythm, some operate under the misconception that once their plan is developed and committed to paper, the job is largely finished. In fact, nothing could [...]

2021-11-23T09:49:01-05:00By |Thinking Strategically|

Planning Over the Horizon

February 2021 2020 was challenging in ways none of us could have foreseen a year ago. Today, most architecture, engineering, and environmental firms can look back with some pride at how they survived—or even thrived (in some cases with the support of PPP funds and reduced expenses)—through a remarkably tough year. The German philosopher Friedrich [...]

2021-02-04T09:22:52-05:00By |Thinking Strategically|

Planning for the Next Normal

July 2020 Planning for the Next Normal Let’s start with some good news: 2020 is a little more than half over and you (and presumably your business) are here to read this letter! We all understand that the ramifications of COVID-19 have been profound, having significantly affected: Our markets. While a few client-type markets are [...]

2020-07-14T15:51:48-04:00By |Thinking Strategically|

Market Diversification in Uncertain Times

March 2020 Clients and friends, These are unsettling and rapidly changing times. No doubt your firm is grappling with disruptions that would have been difficult to foresee just weeks ago. It’s extra challenging right now to plan for the long-term future, so this month instead of my usual letter, I’m offering an article entitled “Prospering [...]

2020-03-19T16:18:40-04:00By |Thinking Strategically|

A Vision for the New Year (and beyond)

December 2019 Dear Clients and Friends, The dawn of a new year—and especially a new decade—is an opportune time to take a step back and gain perspective on where your firm is going. By that, I mean you should consider your firm’s vision as part of its strategic plan or, if your firm doesn’t have [...]

2019-12-17T13:38:59-05:00By |Thinking Strategically|

Top-Down vs. Bottom-Up Planning

October 2019 Dear Clients and Friends, If your firm is over a certain size, it is likely composed of multiple business units, which may be a combination of market-based or discipline-based departments, groups, studios, and/or offices in a multi-office firm. In most firms, these business units develop annual business plans. A firm with multiple business [...]

2019-10-22T11:19:28-04:00By |Thinking Strategically|

Too Busy (To Plan)?

August 2019 Dear Clients and Friends, These are great times for most architecture and engineering firms! Our industry continues to benefit from the longest economic recovery since WWII. From my consultant’s anecdotal perspective, my clients are doing very well, with plenty of work to go around and very healthy financial performance. Current A/E industry surveys [...]

2019-08-06T13:25:57-04:00By |Thinking Strategically|
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