O P I N I O N
Strategic thinking enables us to enlarge the value and impact of our work, connecting it much more than a technical solution. Develop your strategic thinking
A s the landscape of the AEC industry changes to adapt to the “next normal,” we are having less direct contact with our clients and are in some cases seeing tightening budgets and increasing competition. In the past, we may have been able to retain clients primarily because of personal relationships, but delivering business value will increasingly be the key to strengthening client relationships and maintaining loyalty.
To consistently deliver business value, we will need to develop our strategic thinking ability. When planning a project, most of us are inclined to see a technical problem in need of a technical solution. Yet the client is more likely to see a technical problem that creates business impacts, thus requiring a technical solution that delivers business results. That’s not a natural perspective for many technical practitioners. We’re generally more comfortable describing technical scopes of work and solutions. Our brains tend to be hardwired for focused analytical problem solving. Thus our strategic thinking muscles can atrophy from underuse. I read a lot about leadership, culture, the client experience, and the like, much of it specific to
the AEC industry. When strategic thinking is discussed, it’s usually related to corporate or marketplace strategy. Rarely do I read about strategic thinking in the context of project delivery, especially as it relates to our profession. That would explain why many clients these days see our services as a commodity and see us as order-takers rather than consultants. Perhaps it also explains why industry multipliers on labor have come down over the years while the cost of living continues to increase. Well, perhaps I’ll dive into that another day. Suffice it to say, if we are going to focus on delivering business value, we have to use our strategic thinking muscles to develop strategic, valuable solutions.
See EDUARDO SMITH, page 4
THE ZWEIG LETTER MARCH 1, 2021, ISSUE 1381
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