TZL 939

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HR | FINANCE S U P P L E M E N T S Pages 9 - 12

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T R E N D L I N E S

The unlikely, successful PM

Small = new

Making better project managers out of people who didn’t think they wanted to be managers. L et’s face it. Project management is and always will be the cornerstone of whether or not an A/E or environmental firm can make a profit on selling its labor. It is just so critical – and gets even more critical the more competitive the environment gets in terms of fees, number of other firms chasing the work, and how well the client organizations are performing themselves. More intense marketing efforts, lower budgets, and slower collections are the norm for many firms in this business today. So we need better PMs. Now what? Let’s start by accepting the reality that we won’t be able to replace most of the people we have with “better” people – certainly not in the short term and maybe not in the long term, either. We have to work with what we have. Most firms’ response to this reality is to spend money on training their existing staff. There’s a large variety of training programs available – through us and a number of other private firms, as well as professional society organizations. While some programs are better than others, none of them will supplant one big issue. That “big issue” is the culture of the organization – specifically the PM culture. You cannot get around it. Culture is all about what type of behaviors are rewarded and which ones are punished. Who gets ahead – who moves up – and who doesn’t. Who is kept and who is thrown out. Culture is something that “happens,” like it or not. You will have a culture in your organization. It doesn’t mean that it will be a positive one – but you will have one. That said, it is also

100%

80%

60%

40%

Mark Zweig

20%

0%

New clients

Repeat clients

1 - 24 employees

25 - 49 employees

F I R M I N D E X Altamont Environmental, Inc................................. 5 Coffman Engineers................................................ 9 Douglas Wood Associates, Inc.............................. 5 Dudek..................................................................... 4 E.K Fox & Associates. Ltd...................................... 6 GRAEF.................................................................... 6 Klotz Associates.................................................... 6 Moffatt & Nichol................................................... 9 Moye Consulting. .................................................. 4 MPB....................................................................... 3 orcutt | winslow..................................................... 4 Terra Therm............................................................ 5 While it’s no surprise that A/E firms of all sizes tend to get most of their new business from repeat clients, the 2011-2012 Small Firm Survey finds that smaller firms get close to quarter, if not more, of their business from new clients. According to the recently released report, firms with 25-49 employees get 27 percent of their new business from new clients, while firms with 1-24 employees report that 18 percent of their new business comes from new clients. – Margot Suydam, Survey Manager note to our members: The Zweig Letter is not being published Dec. 26. Happy Holidays! We will be back on Jan. 2.

See Mark Zweig, page 2

Who gets ahead – who moves up – and who doesn’t. Who is kept and who is thrown out. Culture is something that “happens,” like it or not. You will have a culture in your organization. It doesn’t mean that it will be a positive one – but you will have one.

The threats and strategies ahead Page 4

I N S I D E

xz TOP player: Do what you say you will right. Page 3 xz pm perspectives: Meetings, meetings, and more meetings! Page 7 xz HR: Learning often a firm-wide activity. Page 9 xz finance: To buy or sell – that’s the question. Page 11

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