A Strategy in Practice: Architects Talk Business Strategy at ArchiTeam CPD Workshop

Throughout business, we often find ourselves drifting to what we want to be doing in our practice as opposed to what we should be doing. It tends to be easier for us to focus our time and energy on the aspects of business we enjoy, rather than on the nitty gritty or things we simply don’t know. 

Yet there are steps we can take in our practice to avoid one trumping over the other, and achieving the balance we desire.

At ArchiTeam’s CPD + Workshop on Business Strategy last Thursday, the topic of conversation revolved around how to set a clear business strategy in an architectural practice. The Virtual Workshop for 45 ArchiTeam members from around Australia, featuring three speakers, focused on how architects can implement a strategy that can set them up for success in the future.

“We’re in a particular time in history which makes it ripe for us to reflect,” said Warwick Mihaly, ArchiTeam Director and host of the call. Across industries, Covid-19 has forced business professionals and entrepreneurs to take a step back and examine their business to see what works and what does not. 

Paula McCarthy, founder and lead consultant of Working Dynamics, said she has been working with many architecture clients who are revisiting their strategy as a result of the pandemic. While it is important to look ahead and plan, she also cautions not to look too far ahead. 

“In this environment, it’s less effective to set a strategy for five years out,” she said during the call. “Things are changing so rapidly, you have to have an agile and adaptive approach.”

Ray Brown, co-founder of Archibiz and fellow speaker, agreed with that sentiment. Business is a “process of continuous improvement” and setting a strategy that flows with the movement is imperative to success, he added. 

So how do we set that strategy? 

While Paula and Ray helped provide the perspective of business coaches, architect Thom McKenzie of Winward McKenzie Architecture offered a different approach to setting a business strategy. 

For Thom, creating a strategy in his decade-old practice was more akin to setting goals for the practice and himself. By defining different goals for his personal, professional and business life, and seeing where these goals intersect, Thom was able to create a strategy that helped his practice achieve success.

Strategy also has to be very defined. If not, Paula warns, “companies tend to drift a little bit.” 

“Strategy sets the framework for where the business is growing,” she said. “Your strategy is crucial because it informs your everyday decision-making.”

According to Ray, setting a strategy should involve reflecting on two fundamentals in the business: systems and processes, and mindset. Changing the mindset is probably the biggest challenge, he claims, but likely to be the most rewarding. 

“If you don’t change your mindset, you’ll find that change becomes very difficult,” Ray said. 

ArchiTeam runs CPD monthly, specifically tailored for small practice architects in Australia.

Want guidance on how to create a business strategy that actually works in your architecture practice? Check out our Programs and Courses for more details on our comprehensive online programs for architects. Alternatively, you can contact us directly by filling out this form, and we’ll find a time to chat about your needs and how Archibiz can help.