Tags: business
Episode 049

Management Tips for a Great Architecture Practice with Steve L. Wintner, AIA Emeritus

Enoch SearsMar 3, 2014

Do you run a GREAT firm? Today I talk with Steve L. Wintner, AIA Emertius about running a great architecture practice. Steve L. Wintner AIA Emeritus is the founder and principal of Management Consulting Services, a professional consulting firm, located in the Austin, TX area and focused on enhancing the productivity and profitability of professional design firms. He is the co-author of the book Financial Management for Design Professionals: The Path to Profitability.

In today's episode we discuss:

  • Are you making this mistake when calculating your billing rate?
  • How to create an effective employee retention policy
  • How to foster a culture of accountability
  • Connect with Steve Wintner, AIA Emeritus on LinkedIn.

Show Notes

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Interview Transcript and Members Only Resources:

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Enoch: Hello and welcome back, Architect Nation. This is Enoch Bartlett Sears. This is the show where we talk about what they didn’t teach us in school – how to run a great business.
Today's guest is Steve L. Wintner, AIA Emeritus. Steve is the Founder and Principal of Management Consulting Services. A professional consulting firm located in the Austin, Texas area, and focused on enhancing the productivity and profitability of professional design firms.
He’s the co-author of the book “Financial Management for Design Professional: The Path to Profitability.” Now, if you’ve been following the show for a while, you remember the very first episode of the show I had Oscia Wilson on. She was talking about how she started her architecture firm and she mentioned this book.
Currently, it’s very difficult to buy the book, as it is out of print. You might be able to find it on the web. I think I saw some copies on Amazon or some on eBay, but the asking price is well above its original price point. I think that speaks to the value that architects are finding in the things that the book contains.
So, Steve, welcome to the show.

Steve: Enoch, thanks so very much. I do appreciate the opportunity to have a chance to visit with you about this. If I may, I’d like to make a brief comment about the price of the book though, as a correction –that’s more current.
Because Amazon is sold out, the resellers are trying to sell it… You can get it for $90, which, again, is an absurd price. But, I have noticed that you can go to Barnes and Noble and ask them to order it for you for the original price point of $49.95. You could probably also go to Kaplan AEC Education Publishers and ask them if they will sell it to you at the original price point. As of last year, we were able to assist others to buy it at that price point.

Enoch: Excellent. Thank you for that, Steve. I’m sure you’ll make some listeners out there happy to know that it’s still available at the lower price point. But, having said that, you are working on a new and updated version of this book.

Steve: Yes.

Enoch: Tell me about that. Tell me what inspired this new book, and how the process is going, and what it’s going to contain.

Steve: Well, it’s all borne out of the fact that Kaplan decided not to do a second printing of the book. They were all out of copies except for a small number, but not able to fill any kind of real orders. So, they decided that because the volume of sales wasn’t up to their standards they weren’t going to do a second printing.

We contacted Kaplan. Michael Tardif, my co-author and I, and asked them if they would be willing to allow us to do a second printing. We got into a long conversation. The short outcome of that was they eventually gave us full right, title and ownership of the copyright for the manuscript, and that allowed us to do whatever we wish with it.
So, Michael and I are now in the process of rewriting it for our second publication, which will be an electronic version, not a paper version of the book. It will probably be in a Kindle format or an e-book format. Hopefully, that will be sometime before the end of the year.

Enoch: Excellent. What valuable information are architects going to find in the new manuscript?

Steve: Well, it’s not going to be a whole lot different than the original printing. It’s just that we are cleaning it up. There were a lot of things that we now, in retrospect, after reading it and understanding what we wrote, that we could have been a bit more clear in the things t we described and how we described them. It will be a little more expansive about things that we didn’t talk enough about. So, that’s basically what we’re doing.
We’re cleaning it up. We’re expanding where it needs to be expanded. We’re contracting where it doesn’t need to be as long. We’re still maintaining the same, basic format. So, the book isn’t going to really change, per se, it’s just going to be a better version.

Enoch: I know that in the book you talk about the Seven Key Performance Indicators that design professionals should be looking at. You talk about reporting – ways to structure that. We’re going to touch on a lot of that now in this interview.

Steve: Okay.

Enoch: So, just to give our listeners an overview: In this interview today, we’re going to be talking about some common management deficiencies that Steve sees when he works with professional design firms. He’s going to talk about why a systematic approach is important in your business – how that can help you boost productivity and boost profit. Also, we’re going to talk a little bit about, in the next episode, which is going to be next week, we’re going to dive in to the financial management side of things.
So, I’m looking forward to the conversation, Steve. Once again, thanks for being on the show.

Steve: Thank you for inviting me.

Enoch: So, Steve, what are some common management deficiencies that you see when working with professional design firms?

Steve: Well, I don’t know if the word “deficiency” is the right word for describing these things. Every firm is unique, in my opinion. They bring with it their talent, their skill, their abilities, their knowledge, and their experience. It’s all different because of the mix of individuals that are a part of each firm.

In general, just a very general statement – I’m not trying to make a global statement specifically about the whole profession – but, in general, because of the work that I do, I have found that there is really a lack of true understanding and knowledge about financial management systems. This is borne out of what most firms now usually use – some kind of accounting software, i.e. software that every firm isn’t able to purchase because it’s expensive. There are only three of them on the market right now – Deltek, Axium, and the third one, Clearview-InFocus.
Most principals don’t really know what to do with all that material. It’s too much information for them. It overwhelms them. So, they tend to rely upon their accounting people, either their in-house staff who are doing their accounting or bookkeeping, or an outside CPA or accountant, to help them to get through this, but they truly don’t understand these systems. So, that’s one area that is the greatest concern for me. As Principals of the firm, as the CEO, as the people running the firm, they really need to know and understand their financial status; what their condition is, rather than just referring to a report.
The second thing is a lack of awareness about the importance of creating some kind of employee retention policy. By that I mean, there’s a saying in our profession that “our people are our greatest assets,” or “our staff is our greatest asset.” I think that’s just lip service, because I don’t think too many firms really demonstrate that very well. They don’t really look after their staff.
I happen to be fortunate enough to have had an experience working with a firm that did that to the nth degree. They were very focused on the importance of developing and improving their relationship with their staff, as well as giving them the kind of guidance and training they needed so they could begin to be a greater contribution to the firm, and then begin to share in the wealth of the firm that they had helped to create.
The third thing has a lot to do with communication. I would call this a deficiency, because most of us do not know how to properly and effectively communicate in the work environment. Nor do we take the time to learn how to do that in the best possible way. But, I think that learning how to delegate and manage one’s time… the areas of time management and delegation, are two interconnected areas that suffer from a clear understanding about an appropriate and beneficial way of doing those things.
Stephen Covey was probably, for me anyway, the greatest impetus that I could have about learning about how to delegate properly. He kept it really, really simple. There are only two forms of delegation as far as he was concerned…’stewardship’ delegation and ‘gopher' delegation.
In the area of time management, I contribute this to an unknown author who said simply, “Only do what only you can do and delegate the rest”, as a mantra for how to operate if you’re going to be in a CEO position. You can’t do everything, so you have to learn how to delegate.
So, you should learn to t only do what you can do and let everybody else do the rest. Within that comes a whole deal of understanding about how to delegate properly and how to communicate effectively so that the outcomes are what you expect and want them to be.

Enoch: Excellent. So, I’m going to go back to the first point here, Steve, which is that you said you find that a lot of firms don’t understand some of the finer points of accounting. I’m just paraphrasing, so if I misstate you, please correct me. But, I’d like to ask you what is it specifically, maybe give me one or two examples, of what you see that they’re not understanding.

Steve: Well, it’s not the finer points. I mean, after all, nothing in our educational process helped us understand accounting procedures.

Enoch: Right.

Steve: We know really nothing about accounting. Everything that I know about accounting is self-taught because I’ve been interested and needed to learn more about it; but I still don’t know what I really would need to know if I was going to become an accountant.

I know enough to be “dangerous,” however, I don’t deal with accounting. I deal with financial management, which is an aspect of accounting, but is more internalized to the firm, and it doesn’t have any impact on a firm’s tax liability and doesn’t have anything to do with whether it meets government standards or things of that nature. It only helps to better understand how the firm is functioning and performing, and how well they’re doing financially on a month to month basis.

So, it’s really a lack of really knowing what accounting offers. We’ve been so tuned in to know that you have a limited number of options about how to get the information out of your system, out of your accounting procedures. Basically, that comes down to those three accounting systems that I talked about or something like QuickBooks, which, in my opinion, is probably the worst of all possible software systems that a service firm could use.

Enoch: Why do you say that?

Steve: Well, because it really has nothing to do with the operations of a professional service firm. Even though they have improved on it greatly – they created a ‘Professional Services Edition’, which I think is an enormous help and a stride in the right direction, but it still contains a lot of the things that are just not helpful and it lacks other things that should be included that they don’t provide.
Those are the things that come out of the work that I’ve been doing for the last twenty-nine years that are all related to, and I refer lovingly to as, the ‘Mattox Format’.

Enoch: Give me one or two examples. I’m sure this isn’t Mattox Format, but give me one or two examples of things that QuickBooks does not provide that are important for a professional services firm.

Steve: Well, there’s no delineation of the difference between direct labor and indirect labor. It’s just labor and they call it “Cost of Goods Sold.” Well, that doesn’t mean anything. There’s no such thing as “Goods Sold.” We don’t sell anything, we sell time. We don’t have a product. All we do is sell our time.
So, in that, they don’t delineate between what we consider to be direct labor (focused on projects) or indirect labor (focused on things that are beyond the project, that are not project-related, that are not chargeable to a project.) That’s a very major area that is not provided.
They also don’t properly format the Profit/Loss statement to reflect the relationship between the firm’s revenue and the revenue that’s created by outside consultants who contribute to a project (those are expenses), and how those expenses should be subtracted from the firm’s revenue'.

Enoch: Well, you talked about direct labor and indirect labor, and you gave us, sort of, a contextual definition. I’m just going to repeat to see if I understand it correctly and you can correct me where I go astray.
It sounded like direct labor is labor that is directly related or billed to one particular project.

Steve: I’ll correct a word.

Enoch: Okay.

Steve: Forget the word “billable”. There’s rarely any such thing as billable time.”

Enoch: Ooh.

Steve: The only true billable time is on a project that has an hourly fee contract without any fee limitation. You just bill for whatever you spend your time on. Those jobs are very few and far between, if they even exist. They usually are the kinds of projects that small firms or individuals have, that operate on a very small basis.
They’re very, very hard to come by – as are any clients who would agree to do that. We have a much more sophisticated client base right now. So you very rarely see an hourly fee without any kind of upside limit on how much you can invoice the client.
So, instead of “billable,” the correct terminology is “chargeable.” In other words, whatever you do on a project is chargeable to the project. Whether it gets billed or not is a different story. If most projects are actually invoiced to the client on a percent of completion, which most of them are because they’re based on a fixed fee, then none of the hours are truly “billable.”
You’re not billing hours, you’re billing a percentage of the fee which is relative to the amount of work completed But, it’s also not directly related to the hours spent because the hours spent may exceed the fee budget. The hours spent may not be controlled or monitored and.the team may have already blown the budget in terms of direct labor. So, it’s simply a reference to time charged to a project.

Enoch: Okay. So, direct labor is chargeable.

Steve: Right.

Enoch: Indirect labor is labor that…

Steve: Everything else.

Enoch: I guess, anything else.

Steve: Any other time spent that’s not project related.

Enoch: Okay. Alright. So, when you mentioned that QuickBooks has no ability to differentiate between direct labor and indirect labor, what does that mean for an architecture firm? If they can’t tell, if they can’t delineate those two, how does that affect their business?

Steve: It doesn’t mean that they don’t have the ability to. I’m just simply saying they don’t do that. They could do that. Just as easily as the other three accounting system software do it, so could QuickBooks, but they don’t happen to include that function right now, as far as I know. To my knowledge, they have yet come to that level of sophistication in their Professional Services Edition of QuickBooks.

Enoch: What does that mean for architecture firms if they can’t tell how much time was spent through their accounting software on direct labor versus indirect labor?

Steve: Well, they’ll never be able to ascertain the true level of their profitability. They’ll never be able to ascertain a true overhead rate or breakeven rate, which means they’ll never be able to calculate a reasonable, or accurate, or beneficial billing rate.

Enoch: Sounds important to me.

Steve: Yes.

Enoch: Alright. So, that’s a good example.

The second thing you mentioned was “No employee retention policy.” You said some firms don’t take care of their staff. What did you mean by that when you say you see some firms that don’t take care of their staff?

Steve: Well, I’m simply saying that there isn’t a focus on their internal resource; their great resource of labor that they have – to nurture them, develop them, train them, and try to encourage loyalty and an ability to contribute to the firm’s growth, and development, and profitability through that kind of development. They just seem to take them for granted.

It’s like they are the drones. They’ll feed them information. They’ll give them only what they need to know and not anything more than they need to know and yet expect to get the best out of them. Well, that’s an unreasonable expectation.
They are valuable to the firm, every single one of them right down to the individual who sits at a desk and does nothing but administrative duties, even if they don’t have any project related duties. They are all an essential part of the firm. Respecting them and what their needs are to be successful in their job and helping them to be successful at their job is the best kind of a policy to have, because it will help to retain the best of them.

Enoch: I’ve talked to…

Steve: Sorry. I just want to say that I believe employees never leave a firm because they’re happy there. They leave because they feel like they’re not getting what they need and want to advance their careers. A firm needs to develop and grow the young architects who are just coming in to the industry and are looking for greater knowledge and improving themselves; so it’s not surprising if they’re going to look for something else if their firm isn’t meeting their needs.

Now, the staff may also feel that they’re not getting paid enough; which is another factor rampant in our industry. I happen to believe that there is not enough of a distribution of the wealth, as I call it, between upper management and the staff.

Enoch: So, how could that be fixed? Let’s jump on to that topic for a minute. Let’s talk about some staff who feel like they’re not getting the pay that they would like.

Steve: Okay. So, you come back to an essential ingredient: Do you really understand what you have in the way of financial resources to be able to provide the best possible compensation for your staff in order to retain their services and to make sure that you get the best out of them so that they help to contribute to that resource each and every year? If you don’t have the right tools, which is your financial management system, then you’re not going to be able to come up with a good sound business decision that’s based on reality. You’re not going to have some indication of what that is and it could lead to problems.

Most firms are small firms, which means less than ten people. The preponderance of the 80,000 architects in AIA work in firms with a staff of less than ten people. If that’s the case, then you understand that there’s not going to be a whole lot of dollars flowing in to these small firms. Every dollar that comes in has got to be managed, properly accounted for and used as effectively as possible to generate the best possible return.

Enoch: So, in your experience, when you say that you see firms aren’t taking care of their staff, do you see it as a conscious choice or more of a matter of ignorance?

Steve: No. I think it’s not conscious at all. I don’t think it’s deliberate, I don’t think it’s malicious. I don’t think it’s anything more than a lack of focus, a lack of recognizing that there are things that could be done.
It isn’t brain surgery. It isn’t going to take a whole lot of money and effort to correct this situation. It just takes caring about making a change in your mentality and mindset about understanding the value of your people, and then helping them to help you to get what you want. They’re there for that very purpose – to produce the product that you want to produce for your clients, so your clients are happy and they keep coming back. But, if you don’t treat them well, they’re not going to stick around. That’s the way a lot of firm lose some really good talent.

Enoch: Give me an example of something that a firm could do to differentiate themselves and flip that on its head, and retain their employees, their good talent.

Steve: Alright. Well, that could go back to one thing that a lot of firms do – some do it well , some don’t do it enough, some don’t do it at all – that is, a performance review for each employee.
The question, then, begs: How often to do an employee review? Is it an annual review? Is it semi-annual review? It’s up to the management of the firm to decide what works best for them.
It’s time consuming. There’s no question that it takes time to do a good performance review. That will play in to the frequency of doing them. It could mean that it will be limited to once a year or twice a year at the very most; but it’s the content of the review, the focus of the review that could lead to this kind of change.
It’s not a review to discuss the mistakes made for the last twelve months. It’s better as a tool to set goals for accomplishments in the next twelve months so that at the end of that year they can go back and review those goals and see if they were actually achieved.
But, if you don’t set goals in the first place for these people, if you don’t help them to understand what you’re expecting of them, if you don’t give them a path to follow that have clear guidelines and they understand what is expected of them, how can they possibly succeed?
So, it’s not hard to believe that these kinds of reviews turn out to be more a matter of disgruntlement, after it’s over, on the part of the employee, because all they got was a lot criticism. . They were told what was wrong with them, instead of focusing on what they did well and there wasn’t any direction provided for helping them to improve.
Now, again, I’m not condemning my profession. I’m not condemning every firm. I’m just simply saying that this is something that’s rampant in far too many firms. There are a lot of firms that do reviews really, really well, but it takes an understanding of what needs to be included, what’s its purpose. Why do you do it? What are you trying to accomplish? What’s your objective? What’s your intention? That has to start, in my opinion, with caring about the individuals in your firm and helping them to do the best they possibly can so they can help you.

Enoch: Excellent. So, we’re talking about employee retention here, and you talked about changing the way we do employee reviews, giving them a clear path, and goals to strive forward, and then measuring that. Now, I know, Steve, that you are working on a new book that’s going to be talking about the culture of accountability in professional design firms.

Steve: Yes.

Enoch: What are some other ways that professional design firms need to have more accountability?

Steve: Well, I even question the word “more accountability.” I’m sorry, but with all due respect to all of my professional colleagues, and understand, I don’t have full knowledge of every single firm in the United States.

Enoch: Sure.

Steve: But, it’s been my experience, being exposed to a great deal of my colleagues’ operations over the last twenty-nine years, that there is precious little in the area of accountability established in a firm as a culture, as a value. I don’t think it’s done because of any kind of malicious intent. I think that it’s just a lack of focus. It’s a lack of recognizing what is the purpose of such a thing. Why would you do such a thing? What’s the benefit that comes from it?

It is just another part of this employee retention program. It is about creating an environment in which everybody is going in the same direction for the same reason with the same goals in mind, and then being rewarded as they do perform, and they do create, and contribute to the kind of environment that is desired by the firm’s Principals. So, that requires everybody, from the Principal down, the CEO, the Partner, the Owner, the single one Owner of the firm, all of them being willing to be held accountable.
For me personally, in my opinion, therein lies the problem. Very few Principals that I’ve been in touch with are willing to be held accountable for their behavior. In fact, they think that they are above being held accountable because who is going to question them? Who is going to look at them objectively and give them objective feedback about my accountability? Who’s going to hold them accountable?
Well, that’s a narrow-minded thought process, in my opinion. That’s not seeing a bigger picture. That’s not recognizing the possibilities and the potential for what’s available to you if you became more knowledgeable about the process and learned more about it. This is one of the reasons that has stimulated me into believing that I need to write about this subject; that I need to put out more information about this subject because I am not aware of very much of anything that’s available in the marketplace about this subject that pertains to our industry.

Enoch: Yeah. I’m really looking forward to reading it when it comes out, Steve.

That’s an interesting concept – accountability for firm Principals and firm Owners. Tell me what that looks like and in what way would they be accountable? What status would they be measured on? Help me understand how that would be applied?

Steve: Well, I’ll give you an example that goes back to the performance review. By the way, it’s not accountability just for firm owners and firm Principals. It’s accountability as a culture of the firm.

It’s not less important than any one thing that the firm does or has as a value, as a system, as a way of operating. It’s just an integrated part of it all. It’s how they operate. It’s how they function. It’s how they work together. What is the environment? That kind of an environment will promote a greater sense of ‘ownership’ by every employee, a greater sense of being a part of the whole, a greater sense of contributing to the whole, and then being properly and appropriately rewarded for their efforts.
So, I think the purpose here is to bring this concept forward… Let’s go back to the employee performance review. That, in of itself, could be a way to help begin this process, because it becomes a place in which a dialog that’s open, candid, and sharing, could go both ways. In other words, the process would include subordinates contributing to the review of their supervisors. A review process that allows both upward and downward feedback.
What I’m basically saying, is that it shouldn’t be a top-down management policy, which is the way most firms function. I’m not talking about a democratic, across the board, everybody’s equal kind of thing, no. I’m not suggesting that. Everybody has their place in the firm. Everybody has their responsibilities in the firm, but those things have to be clearly delineated.

Enoch: Can you give me a practical example or tactical example of what that would look like? Maybe a change that people listening today could go back and implement in their firms to foster this kind of accountability culture?

Steve: Sure. Let’s just start with one, little basic thing that has to do with communication of expectations to your employees.

Let’s say that I’m a ten-person firm. I’m a single owner. Nobody else but me. I’m the boss. I’m the top guy. There’s no one else but me, and the rest of my employees – great employees.
Now, I don’t know how widespread this is. I don’t have any statistical data that tells me what this is, and I’m not making any claims one way or the other. But, it would be so helpful to my nine employees if I can define for them their roles and responsibilities within the functions they are best suited for. In other words, creating a position description for how they are expected to work – what their roles and responsibilities are within that role.
That’s clarifying for them a pathway – a way of getting to the kinds of results that one is shooting for that allows them to then look at it, read it, understand it and if they have questions about it, if they do question things that they don’t think are appropriate, to be able to discuss their concerns. It’s an open dialog when you present it. It’s just not implemented as “This is the policy.” “These are the rules.” “This is who you are.” “This is the niche you fall in to.”
That, by the way, is not a niche. You’re not just assigned this label that you are a Project Architect, or you are a CAD Designer, or you are a Project Manager, or you are a Construction Administrator.. You are whatever you are needed to be, as long as you are qualified for the assignment. –You may wear multiple hats. Most small firm employees have to wear multiple hats. That’s the natural function and operation of a small firm.
So, you have to define those positions clearly so they understand what’s expected of them. Some of them will know clearly. Some of them will have the experience to automatically understand. But, you can’t assume that they know. You want to develop the best possible resource for them to understand and to perform to the expectations that you have for your firm.

Enoch: Okay. So, delineate a very clear expectation and goals that employees can then, and even firm Principals can use to guide their behavior. Am I understanding correctly?

Steve: I wouldn’t just use the word “expectation.” I would say to define for them the roles and responsibilities of their position, the things that they do, the activities that they are most likely to be engaged in on a regular basis…

Enoch: Okay.

Steve: …periodically and routinely.

In bigger firms, it’s more segmented, it’s more horizontally set. It could be any number of things. Project Managers do project manager work. Project Architects do project architect work. Project Designers do project design work.
Well, in small firms that’s not the case. The Project Designer could be the Project Architect and the Project Manager. So, what are the roles of those three kinds of titles? This isn’t something that you’re going to put on a business card – “I’m a Project Manager,” not if you wear three hats, you’re not.
It’s just one thing you do, but the question is: What are the goals for doing what you do? What does it include? What does it entail? What’s needed from you.in terms of functioning as effectively as you possibly can in each role?
That becomes a dialog between you and these individuals, so in a collaborative way you develop a position description for these roles that anybody in the firm might assume, including you, the owner. You might have to be the Project Manager on a number of projects or a Project Designer on a number of projects, and likely are.

Enoch: Thank you, Steve. Let’s talk about remuneration because you mentioned that part of this process is being able to reward. I don’t know if it’s monetary or what other ways, but tell me your insights about how to retain good talent through rewarding them for their performance, I guess.

Steve: Okay. Well, for me it’s about human nature. Every one of us, myself included, certainly, always will ask this question: What’s in it for me? When I’m asked to do something that I’m not accustomed to doing, or is different, or there’s a change that’s expecting me to do something that I’m not accustomed to doing, that I need to learn to do, my question, whether I ask it out loud or I think it to myself is: What’s in it for me if I do this? That’s a natural response.

So, in order to overcome that, that inertia that’s created by that question, you have to be able to think about the answer to that question before you ever begin one of these processes. It’s important that you recognize that you you come up with a game plan for creating an environment in which that will be fully answered.
For some people, money is the answer. You know, what’s in it for me? “More money”. Okay, great. For some people, money means nothing. For some people it means more responsibility. “I want greater responsibility in my work”. Great. That’s another way to do it. What’s another way? “Well, I want a title”. Okay, great. We’ll find a title that works for you; whatever it happens to be.
So, in a small firm it’s real easy because you can just ask Mary and Jack, and Bill, and Fred, and Diane exactly what their needs are in that area. What stimulates you? What gets your hot button pushed? What are you striving for? What do you want to be known for? What do you want to accomplish?
Those are the questions that bosses don’t routinely ask their employees, but that’s a part of an employee review process. Part of the goal-setting process is to start with those things. Sure, the firm has requirements of what they want for this person, goals that they want that person to achieve, but we ought to ask the person: What do you want to personally achieve in your day to day activities throughout the course of the next twelve months? So, it’s about understanding each of them and what motivates them.
Now, when you get to a bigger firm… Understand that I’ve worked for the largest firm in the world for eleven and a half years. I was the Director of Operations for half those years. You can’t possibly do that with every single individual. So, you can define a process that systematizes, that addresses those questions, in general.
Then, as you have these conversations, because it’s going to be spread out over the group of project managers who are going to conduct these reviews, they ask these questions. So, you spread the responsibility for leading these reviews. You spread it out to a group of people and you’ll begin to get the feedback that you want that will help build the system.

Enoch: Excellent. Got it.

So, we have covered a lot in this segment, Steve, about employee retention, about some of the deficiencies, or oversights, or however we tend to look at it in financial management in small firms. One thing you didn’t mention is that – it’s your feeling, and I know a lot in the industry feel like sometimes salaries are depressed or there would be an opportunity for better recompense or better pay in the industry. So, in the following episode, will you reveal some of the secrets of what firms can do to find some of their hidden dollars and manage their money better?

Steve: Yes, but they’re not secrets.

Enoch: Okay.

Steve: It’s all out there for everybody to learn.

Enoch: That’s right and next week we’re going to dive right in to that. So, Steve, it has been great having you in the show today. I feel like I’ve learned a ton.

Steve: Thank you for the opportunity, it’s been really great.

Enoch: Excellent. Thank you.

Steve: Okay.


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Enoch Bartlett Sears is the founder of the Architect Business Institute, Business of Architecture and co-founder of the Architect Marketing Institute. He helps architects become category leaders in their market. Enoch hosts the #1 rated interview podcast for architects, the Business of Architecture Show where prominent guests like M. Arthur Gensler, Jr. and Thom Mayne share tips and strategies for success in architecture.


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