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Principals’ career goals

Now could be the perfect time to give yourself and the workings of your firm some much needed attention. An opportunity to focus on you

E nough about COVID-19. It’s time to talk about what’s next – how can we emerge from this better and stronger? Right up until March we heard the same things from managers and leaders in AEC firms: everyone was extremely busy, having difficulty focusing on strategic plans, experiencing various operational issues but had no time to fix them, didn’t have enough focus on long- term business development. Does this sound familiar? Suddenly we’re 40 days later and the picture has changed for many. Depending on your situation, now could be the perfect time to give yourself and the workings of your firm some much needed attention. Our research shows, and the stories confirm, many of you have been so busy with projects and clients you have not spent enough time on addressing poor performance, operational issues, planning for the future, or even taking proper care of yourself and your exit strategy. If you are afforded any extra capacity during this time, here are some great ways to focus on you and your firm: ❚ ❚ Spend some time painting (the bigger picture). Now is a great time to open up the hood of your firm and look inside. Ask yourself what’s working and what’s not? Get to work defining a bigger and more resilient future for your firm. Now more than ever, employees need a vision of what tomorrow could look like and where their firm is going. Brush off your strategic plan and consider how your current situation changes things, both now and in the future. A good strategic plan includes feedback from employees and clients. Now is a great time to capture this valuable data while many are working from the privacy of their homes. This process will also keep staff and clients engaged with your business. An updated strategic plan will give your firm a competitive advantage as it considers the hurdles ahead as well as the resulting new opportunities in the market. Painting a positive and clear picture of the future has never been more important. ❚ ❚ Spend some time growing – personally and professionally. Everyone can benefit from having a good friend or advisor to help coach them. Pick up the phone and talk to these people about yourself and the business. Now might be a good time to engage a professional executive coach, but if you do, get one who understands this industry. They can work one-on-one with you or your team to help improve performance and increase motivation. Working from home is a great opportunity to have these conversations in the privacy of your home. For the past two years, the number one benefit desired by individuals working in the AEC industry was training and career development – coronavirus does not change this. It is important to keep your people engaged and their career development on track. For those working from home, online group training is a great way to virtually gather your staff together and keep your culture strong while fostering development. This is especially important now as people are isolated and not getting the “daily shot” of culture in an office environment.

In Zweig Group’s 2020 Principals, Partners & Owners Report of AEC Firms , we asked principals about their personal career goals and whether these goals had been exceeded , met , or not met at this stage in their career. When split up by specific job title, there’s a clear trend that appears as presidents and CEOs were more likely to say their goals had been exceeded while associates or managers were more likely to say their goals had not been met just yet. While goals may not be all about title, it’s noteworthy to see the aspirations of those at the bottom of the corporate ladder wanting to start that climb.

Chad Clinehens

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F I R M I N D E X Dwyer Engineering................................12 Freese and Nichols, Inc...........................2 Ramtech Building Systems. ....................4 Whitney Bailey Cox & Magnani..............12 Woodblock Architecture..........................6 MO R E A R T I C L E S xz MARK ZWEIG: Motivation Monday Page 3 xz Striving for excellence: Brian Peters Page 6 xz PETER ATHERTON: Preventing burnout during a pandemic Page 9 xz MATT DWYER: Applicant screening assessments Page 11

See CHAD CLINEHENS, page 2

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