Thinking Strategically

On the Minds of Firm Leaders

Our A|E Advisors group ( has just completed our annual CEO Forum, where 50 firm leaders from across the country came together in Scottsdale, Arizona for a 2-day CEO roundtable. A thought provoking session this year was the discussion of our CEO Survey Report. We once again surveyed A&E firm CEOs regarding the trends and challenges that they’re seeing today. I’d like share some of the survey results with you, and also pose some follow-up questions.

2017-01-28T18:26:04-05:00By |Thinking Strategically|

The Talent Scramble

The economic downturn that has affected nearly all of our industry has had most firms scrambling for work to keep their people busy. No doubt this has been a top priority for you, too. As a result, we’ve observed one element that has been notably absent from strategic plans developed over the past few years: [...]

2017-01-28T18:26:04-05:00By |Thinking Strategically|

Where Do We Go From Here?

In these changing and uncertain times, many firm leaders are asking themselves “where do we go from here?” In my strategic planning work, I too have had ample opportunity to think deeply about this with my clients. In pursuit of meaningful answers, I’d like to pose several more focused questions: What’s changed in the world? [...]

2017-01-28T18:26:04-05:00By |Thinking Strategically|

Planning in Perpetuity: The Firm Leader’s Role

Too many firm leaders operate under the misconception that once their new strategic plan is developed and committed to paper, their job is finished. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, the biggest one-time effort in strategic planning is getting the new plan off the ground. But maintaining momentum toward your goals and strategies [...]

2017-01-28T18:26:04-05:00By |Thinking Strategically|

Success and Succession

If you’re reading this, you’re either leading your firm or would probably like to be leading it someday. Effective leadership is the single most crucial asset a firm must have to succeed. Firms that need money can borrow; firms without enough business (if there are any these days) can boost their marketing; but firms that [...]

2017-01-28T18:26:04-05:00By |Thinking Strategically|

A Vision for the New Year (and beyond)

The dawn of a new year is a terrific time to take a step back and gain perspective on where your firm is going. By that, I mean you should review your firm’s vision or—if your firm doesn’t have a written vision—by all means take the time to develop one. Some design firm leaders tend [...]

2017-01-28T18:26:04-05:00By |Thinking Strategically|

The Leadership Gap

Strategic planning can bring out the best or worst in a firm, and sometimes in its leaders. One of the most widespread, damaging, and avoidable patterns I see is a leadership gap between the current CEO (or president or managing partner) and the next level. The symptoms of this gap can be seen from both [...]

2016-05-21T12:52:33-04:00By |Thinking Strategically|

The Ultimate Communications Tool

When I work with a firm to help develop its strategic plan, I especially enjoy meeting one-on-one with management and staff to listen to their thoughts and concerns. While each company has its own unique issues, I tend to hear one particular question a great deal: “Where is our firm going?” Upon noticing this comment [...]

2017-01-28T18:26:06-05:00By |Thinking Strategically|

How Long is Too Long?

When I first began making presentations to industry groups about strategic planning (a couple of decades ago…) I would open with an audience poll asking which firms actually had a strategic plan. At the time, about half the hands went up. I hardly have to ask that question today, because in my experience almost every [...]

2017-01-28T18:26:06-05:00By |Thinking Strategically|
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