Communication Is Key to Professional Growth

Event: AFTL Series Wrap Up, Next Steps and Celebration
Location: Center for Architecture, 06.06.11
Speakers: Gretchen Bank — Principal, Bank on Bank Consulting & co-chair, AIANY Marketing and PR Committee; Guy Geier, FAIA, FIIDA, LEED AP — Principal, FXFOWLE; Tom Hernandez, Assoc. AIA — DBC Technologies; Robert F. Herrmann, Esq. — Attorney, Menaker & Herrmann, LLP; Christine Hunter, AIA — Principal, Magnusson Architecture and Planning; Greg D. Kumm — President, Prosurance Redeker Group, Ltd.; Anthony Schirripa, FAIA, IIDA — Principal, Mancini Duffy & 2010 AIANY President; Kirsten Sibilia, Assoc. AIA — Chief Marketing Officer, Dattner Architects; Ralph Steinglass, FAIA — Organizational Consultant, Teambuilders, Inc.
Moderator: Stephen J. Hegeman, AIA — Principal, Francis Cauffman Architects
Organizer: AIANY Professional Practice Committee
Sponsor: Newforma, Inc.

There are specific skills that are essential to architectural practice and they must be learned at a firm, said Ralph Steinglass, FAIA, an organizational consultant to architecture firms. The AFTL Series Wrap Up was the culmination of an eight-part program on practice management issues designed to help young and experienced professionals prepare for more leadership roles. This panel consisted of the series’ presenters reflecting on firm management. Firms are diverse — in size, structure, responsibilities, values, and promises — and each employee can shape its personality and its possibilities for growth.

“Communication is the key to success” may be an over-used phrase, but the consensus among the panelists was that it is a crucial component of a firm’s structure, especially regarding growth. In a firm, upper management tends to move staff around according to a project’s direct need. In certain instances, project managers may give only the pertinent information required to accomplish a task. Inexperienced employees may not ask the right questions to fully understand the project. It is the individual’s responsibility to seek out the most appropriate information regarding the project to complete the task to its full potential, and it is the entire team’s responsibility to communicate the full scope of work.

No matter the size of the firm, more responsibility yields ownership, which in turn yields more individual responsibility. Panelists agreed that this is the best way for firms to succeed.

Note: On-Demand Webinars of all of the discussions that were part of the AFTL series are available on the AIANY website here.