Thoughts on Organization Structure in the AEC Firm

This spring, a couple of my clients have been working to implement new strategic plans, both involving big changes (improvements) to their organization structure. Working with these leaders has reminded me (yet again) of both the challenge and simplicity of organization design. Some highlights: 1)      Strategy before Structure – Though it always makes conceptual sense […]

Push-Pull, and the Physics of Organization Alignment

In his 1989 work Mintzberg on Management, Henry Minztberg describes professional organizations as “seemingly upside-down organizations, where the workers sometimes appear to manage the bosses.”  Mintzberg notes that he himself works in a professional organization (at McGill University in Toronto) at least partially “because it is the one place in the world where you can […]

Task, Process, and the Quest for Business Improvement

A client recently sent over an essay from the January 30th issue of the New Yorker entitled “Groupthink – The Brainstorming Myth,” by Jonah Lehrer.  Here’s the link: Having worked before together, and knowing my approach, he wondered what I thought. The nut of Lehrer’s argument is that brainstorming doesn’t work – for unleashing […]

New Year, Take Stock. First Step: The Business Management Audit

At this time each year, organizations launch many new initiatives, to improve their businesses in marketing, leadership, operations, and profitability.  The first step for each of these projects should be a thorough and comprehensive organization assessment – the business management audit – to provide a solid understanding of “current reality” in the firm.  I’ve received […]

Performance, Alignment, and AEC Enterprise Success

Last summer, while working on a strategic planning engagement, one of the client’s key employees up and quit – and headed for greener pastures.  His departure was a surprise and shock, and particularly painful given his technical and leadership abilities.  Frankly, the client firm had high expectations – and an important future – planned for […]