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Washington, D.C., and Texas. In 2013, we rebranded our firm to celebrate our 10-year anniversary with a new logo, website, and initiatives. “Always work with your door open and be available at all times. Your team sees a closed door as a closed invitation. When your door is open to your team, your mind and experience are open to all who crave it.” TZL: What are your key strengths? What do you feel the key strengths are for an effective leader? BA: Here are my top six philosophies of a great leader, most of which I reflect, but one or two that I want to improve upon: 1) Treat your associates and employees with respect. Listen to ideas and participate in new approaches. It’s so easy to over-talk and insert your own ideas. Ask questions instead of instilling the final idea. 2) Rally your team around a vision. Whether things are going well or not, help your team know what they are striving toward. Be consistent with messaging about goals that connect to the vision. Nothing is worse than an inconsistent message. Once you set those goals, stay consistent. It’s not just setting the goals, but then empowering people by giving them what they need to accomplish those goals. 3) Always work with your door open and be available at all times. Your team sees a closed door as a closed invitation. When your door is open to your team, your mind and experience are open to all who crave it. As a boss and leader, your people want to learn and hear from you instead of the others that may be available. Please do not lean on the phrase, “Give me a minute.” Your high-level responsibilities will rest for a minute while you give one. 4) Value your employees’ time. Even in the midst of deadlines and client meetings, remember that taking the time to meet with your team at agreed upon times is important to keep the balls rolling. 5) Allow time to be creative and encourage that. Innovation comes from creativity. Allowing our people to be creative is what motivates them. 6) We all make mistakes and it’s ok to own up to them. As leaders we also need to own up to mistakes and learn, sometimes the hard way. As a team, we can learn and move on together. TZL: How would you describe your leadership style? BA: During my MBA coursework, we did many case studies authored by various professors and experts at Harvard Business School. I learned of the six leadership styles that
seem to apply across the board – whether service or product- based firms. I trust our people implicitly. I am a macro- manager in the sense that I want all of our associates to be actively engaged in our vision and strategy, but also to be encouraged to spread their creative wings. I also know that failure can be a good thing when redirected to huge success. For many more reasons I seem to fall into the democratic and coaching tiers of leadership styles. TZL: To date, what has been your greatest challenge and how did you deal with it? BA: We are in the midst of one of the biggest growth years our firmhas ever experienced in terms of people, geographic locations, equipment, physical plant, capital expenditures, and recognition of revenue. We will grow almost 38 percent in just a year with a new practice area that will allow our firm to do work across the country and possibly internationally. It’s exciting and challenging at the same time. Foresite Group, in a sense, has been waiting for this moment with good capitalization, low overhead and long-term debt, and most importantly the energy and passion to make this move. TZL: What is your vision for the future of Foresite Group? BA: To double the size of our piece of the pie in five years in terms of services, locations, and revenue. We want to have amazing people who want to grow old with us. My two partners and I have authored a plan to bring in more owners of the firm as soon as next year. My vision is to double the number of owners as well. Why? I believe that to grow substantially over the next few years we will need more stakeholders that have the skillset to create a more valuable organization for our clients and our associates to invest in and retire. “I tend to tune out the competition over the last few years and want our firm to focus on building relationships that allow us to grow with them and weather a storm from time to time. Our fees are never the lowest in town, but our clients know that they get so much from our firm.” TZL: Tell me about a recent project you are especially proud of and why. BA: We recently completed a practice field complex for the athletic department for the University of Georgia Bulldogs’ football program. The project included artificial turf fields, two six-story steel press boxes, civil and utility design, storm water management, traffic and access management, landscape and hardscape design, retaining walls, and local
See Q&A, page 8
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nuary 9, 2017, ISSUE 1182
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