O P I N I O N
By focusing on teams, you could deepen employee engagement, enhance communication, and improved your firm’s agility. Creating a team-oriented environment
I n 2012, Neumann Monson Architects began transitioning from a founder-led to a purpose-led culture. With this change, we overhauled our organizational model and created an agile, team-oriented environment. Rather than separate principal-led teams, we used resource planning software to build project teams around individual strengths.
As we established crucial initiatives, another layer of teams emerged: Design quality, quality assurance, sustainability, and client experience. Each team became an opportunity for staff to engage in leading and managing our practice while involving themselves in all our project work. This approach produced remarkable results. Today, most of the staff are engaged in at least one of these teams, as well as their own projects. The overlap between these teams and the project teams creates a cross-weave of communication, enhancing the quality of our work. Since adopting this approach, we have increased employee engagement and elevated our position in the industry in terms of design excellence and client experience. These results, however,
developed after years of incremental change and experimentation. We learned that transitioning to a team-oriented environment takes time and patience. LISTENING TO OUR TEAM. Before 2012, our firm looked much different. We divided our team into six separate studios that rarely interacted; the principals oversaw day-to-day decision-making and client relationships, leaving the staff with a limited perspective. Our new structure evolved gradually after our 2012 retreat. The staff planned and organized the event, providing a decisive opportunity to elevate their voice. At the retreat, the staff called for an increased focus on design
See TIM SCHROEDER, page 10
THE ZWEIG LETTER AUGUST 23, 2021, ISSUE 1405
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