I was told by another architect recently that my approach to business was “not like his at all.” I will be the first to admit that his basis for measuring business success is certainly in line with the traditional basis. The goal of making as much money as you possibly can make, beating your competition, and getting the highest profile projects is certainly one very easy measure of success. My problem with this attitude is that it leads to what I consider an empty fulfillment of what is possible in an architectural career. I want more out of my career than just buildings, I want to build community.
Of course, I do want to make money designing architectural solutions, at least enough to live comfortably at the level my family and I are used to living. I just believe that I have an ethical obligation to do more. In my opinion, an architect has the best tool available at their disposal to create positive outcomes for their community – DESIGN. Sometimes this comes in the form of a paying client that allows you to design solutions for their buildings and homes. Done right, this will add to the energy-efficient, aesthetically pleasing, and healthy built environments for our community. However, architects should also give their time to worthy organizations that help build positive outcomes in the community. After all architects are trained problem solvers that are able to take complex issues and create solutions.
So while I may not approach business success in the traditional sense, I hope you will agree that I am working hard to build success in and for our community.
I personally believe that a long view like this also helps your own business success (as measured traditionally) down the road.
I personally believe that your higher standards for community involvement can also be kind of a “rising tide,” lifting the “boats” of the entire profession of architecture.
Great post, I agree architects have the ability to create a positive atmosphere in the community and create ways for people to come together.
I am confident that we are in a profession that is dedicated to service to our community. I don’t believe that the loudest voices in our community focus on that and for that we are not seen as community leaders. I certainly believe that we can be better and I try to work towards that every day.
As the phrase goes, it takes a village. I am always looking for ways to build bridges between people that can help one another, but there has to be more done. There has to be a better way that we can work together.
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