I like to define my role as an architect and consultant much more broadly than many do… what I have decided I want to be is a problem solver. I like to solve problems for my clients, and I like to take on the most challenging items internally as well. Most everyone in business solves problems for a living, but many people like to have the problem be consistent so that they can get comfortable finding the solutions to similar problems over and over. This is called specialization, and it does lead to efficiencies.
However in a business, any business, challenges arise weekly if not daily, and someone has to address those “opportunities.” Truly they are opportunities, because the way those are handled will determine the ultimate fate of the business. Our clients also run businesses, and they face challenges. They come to us for a building solution and that is our primary tool to address their challenges. Taking this viewpoint helps our clients to have greater success and it also allows us greater satisfaction. Every structure is not going on the front page of “Texas Architect,” but every structure that solves an important problem for our client is one we can be proud of.
I think that there can be a disconnect between the designer and the client in terms of how they view themselves. The client often comes with very real needs and challenges and they come to the architect to help them meet that goal. The architect however may view this as an opportunity to advance a design agenda of their own. To the extent that the architect can work in creative aesthetics or clever arrangements while meeting all the needs of the client this is OK, but the architect must never start to advance their own agenda at the expense of the client. Sadly, this happens often. And I believe that happens because the architect does not view themselves as a business consultant, but an Architect with a capital A. If the architect feels that in all cases they know best and cease listening to the client they fall into this trap.
As a business consultant, we go back to the basics. Try to find the correct problem(s) to solve. Don’t invent problems to solve that aren’t there. That is a distraction and will lead to client dissatisfaction. Maybe the right problem to solve is not directly architectural. Maybe it is schedule related, or budget related. Architects have a lot of experience observing the process of building and can contribute ideas and solutions all throughout the process. Lets take the blinders off and make our clients better. If our clients are successful, we will be successful.
More to come soon. If you want to get in touch please let me know! Thanks for reading!