Architecture Firm Culture
Many of us architects are so focused on our business, our design and all the things we have going on that we don’t think about culture. We may not even think it’s that important to the success of our firm compared to financial management, design, sales or marketing.
What if you were told that a positive, healthy culture is critical to the success of any business? When Southwest Airlines’ CEO Gary Kelly was asked his thoughts on the importance of culture, he said, “I think it’s everything. It’s more than just critical, it’s literally everything for a company”. This week on EntreArchitect Podcast, Episode 118, Mark R. LePage discusses what firm culture is and shares some aspects that will build your team’s culture.
A firm culture refers to the beliefs and behaviors that affect how your team interacts and how they handle transactions inside and outside the studio.
There are many things that make up your firm culture:
- Interactions: Think about how you want your team to interact and treat others, whether it be someone in a leadership position, a coworker or a client. Is there good communication inside the firm and outside? Is there transparency? Are there people corroding your team with gossip? What does your customer service look like?
- Time: What are your work hours? Maybe you give your staff the ability to work when they want to or work remotely.
- Environment: What does your physical studio environment look like?
- Loyalty: Does your team feel like they’re a part of something unique? Do they have a purpose and desire to stay and develop the firm with you?
- Finances: How do people get paid and when? Is your firm building equity?
All of these factors apply whether you’re a sole proprietor or you’re managing a team of fifty; you must manage and be intentional about how you’re going to address them.
Your values on which you’ve built your firm guide your decisions, your policies, and how you how you do business. If you haven’t already, create a Foundation of Values that encompasses all the qualities you want your firm to uphold to include in your business plan.
For the rest of this month, we’re going to get deeper into some specific values that make up culture. We’ll talk about work/life integration, customer service, and maybe even equity in architecture. For now, think about your firm culture. Is it positive, healthy, and thriving? Is it an exciting place that you want to go to every day? Is it contributing to the success of your firm or is it harming you? Are you struggling to keep it together because your culture just isn’t great? Take a critical look inside your firm today.
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Referenced in this Episode
Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Gustavo Frazao