All it said was, "THINK". In the late 50's my mother presented me with a small plaque for my bedroom desk. It was completely disassociated from Thomas J. Watson or even IBM - two entities that occupied no presence in my young mind. However, the message was clear. The word was both simple and profound. That may be why it inspired me and spawned a huge media campaign for IBM, and later the "Think different." campaign of their upstart rival Apple. Fast forward a half century and the word "think" still exudes all its original power and respect. Maybe it's the digitalization of everything that can seem so far from human thought. Maybe it's the sheer speed of human activity that would belie thinking. Thinking is a precious commodity. And clients respect their consultants who think.
"On the best teams, the consultants become ONE with the client melding their ideas into a formidable reality. How does this happen?"
The clients very success or failure rests on the ability of their architect not to just design the solution - butto create a desirable human experience. The engineers aren't just creating systems and structures to support the building, they are creating methods that conserve energy or speed construction by understanding future consequences of decisions today. The contractor is not building a project but masterfully selecting means and methods that will return value to the client year after year. On the best teams, the consultants become ONE with the client melding their ideas into a formidable reality. How does this happen?
First - pop the identity bubble. It seems simple, but every fiber in our being, starting with our education, seems to work against it. We worked hard to differentiate ourselves from the world by choosing our education and profession in architecture, engineering or construction. We can be proud of this bubble we have around us. But the bubble that sets us apart, can also insulate us from the needs, concerns, fears and sensitivities that drive our clients. The most creative teams pop out of the bubble and become thinking team members. Sometime in our young professional careers we are exposed to other consultants who think. I was, and I remember working with older engineers or contractors who knew as much about architecture as most architects. When it happened to me, I was inspired because it showed me how the fields intersected. It expanded my world and in turn expanded my success with my clients. Clients began to see that I valued the other consultants and engaged the entire team to solve problems and yes, think on the job.
"Again, clients respect consultants who think, think like a client - and they want them on their team, over and over again."
It's this big picture thinking that wins over the day. It's evident in your initial presentation to clients. It can be a differentiator that wins work. It's evident in your process. It's evident in your delivery and approach to problem solving. Again, clients respect consultants who think, think like a client - and they want them on their team, over and over again.
Think about it. If I can help you build a new campaign around your ability to think, give me a call.
William M. Burwell is a retired Architect and Interior Designer whose career focused on corporate interior architecture in sole proprietorships, and partnerships from 9 to 120 staff. Bill retired in 2014 and began Burwell Consulting a Firm Marketing and Management Consulting firm, to share the wisdom and experience of those 45 years. Bill writes articles sharing his experience in four keystone practice areas: Marketing, Design, Project Management and Practice Management. He graduated from the University of Houston College of Architecture in 1971 and now serves the College on the Dean's Committee on Excellence. Check him out at www.burwell-consulting.com