A month in and 2017 is in full swing. Its Pandora’s box of exotic post-prefixed cultural constructs – post-Brexit, post-truth, post-Obama – are roiling unpredictably through global economies in ways that make laughing stocks of respected business soothsayers.
At the coalface of British architectural practice, the lights haven’t gone out, but we have lost the map. Hard-bitten survivalists who battened down against the referendum storm are wondering if they moved too fast. Eternal optimists are perhaps counting their lucky stars that their clients haven’t pulled the rug out from under them. It seems there is work after all, as the latest RIBA Future Trends Survey confirms.
Amid this turmoil, business skills have never been more important for architects. What’s more, the RIBA, so often criticised for not caring, is onto it. No doubt influenced by findings from its Working With Architects survey, its excellent Future Leaders programme has just been announced. And it’s a corker.
Three compact days of learning are on offer for early career professionals, with the choicest speakers hand-picked from the ranks of some of the UK’s most seasoned practices.
On 7 March there’s a session on leadership, its importance to practice, how it differs from management, and how to adopt it as a mindset.
On 16 May it’s all about good communication and how it can be applied to nurturing long-lasting, high-quality relationships with clients that lead to repeat work. Hurrah!
Best of all, on 11 July the focus is on business and innovation, with an interactive workshop by Parag Prasad, whose videos feature on the Architect Skills website. Key themes will be improved fee income, secure resourcing, profitability, building the pipeline, continuously improving procedure, and strategic innovation.
This is no road map to business success, but it is a Bear Grylls-style bootcamp for how to survive and thrive in the commercial wilderness. And if you can’t get along to any of the days, peruse my business skills resources instead, and sign up to our LinkedIn Group.
Postscript At the end of 2015 I was appointed RIBA Ambassador for Business Skills. I want to win hearts and minds over to better business practice, building a movement to switch on the profession’s business-savvy gene.Visit http://architectskills.com/ or sign up for updates to find out more.
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