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Fast and Somewhat Furious

Talk about a fast start for 2016! It has only been three weeks since the farewell to 2015, I had been on two business trips, one to Chicago and another to Atlanta. Last year, I had only one… that’s correct, one. Numero uno. In general, I enjoy traveling for work. It gives me the opportunity to see the world beyond the semi-chaotic place I called the office. So I am quite happy to be on the road except I do miss Winsten and Karen, my nine-year-old son and my wife of 15 years.

The reason my travel already surpassed last year’s record is due to the systematic changes I have been putting in place since last November. As much as I love what I do every day, running an architecture practice can be extremely challenging at times. Just a frame of reference, architects are generally pragmatic people who happen to start their career as dreamers. While organizing spaces based on the client’s wish list or coordinating engineer’s design with ours is in our DNA, avoid the making of a dysfunctional office is quite another. This is especially true for small firms which, according to a 2011 AIA report, made up roughly a quarter of the architecture firms in the United States. Being the head honcho of a small practice means I have to be efficient on running all aspects of my business so I can get back to quietly figuring out how to magically create a squash court in the middle of a floor in a highrise office building for my client, Lewis. (Disclaimer: Some characters appearing in this blog are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.) wink.

With so much on the plate, even consuming a dozen of Red Bulls on a daily basis was not enough. Then I read The ONE Thing by Gary Keller. This is a book given to me as a gift by Enoch Sears, who I regard as a mentor. As an architect, he taught me a lot about the business side of being an architect. Soon after the “ta-da” moment from reading the book, it became clear to me that I must make the changes so I can serve my clients and my staff better while still finding quality time to spend with my family. The fact that I have already completed two business trips while still able to maintain my sanity to write this blog is a testament to the effectiveness of how one can achieve more by doing less. By the way, that squash court was never built, it only got as far as a nice rendering, an interesting thought nonetheless.

Photo Credit: Leandro Gomes Moreira

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