As we celebrate yet another anniversary of DI’s founding, based on current trends and our discussions with over a dozen leaders in design firms, we continue to see a lot of emphasis on alliance creation and integration…

As we celebrate yet another anniversary of DI’s founding, based on current trends and our discussions with over a dozen leaders in design firms, we continue to see a lot of emphasis on alliance creation and integration. Consolidation and collective competition is working and alliances are one key factor for the success of many firms.

For example, one small New Jersey firm has established a multi-year alliance with a 350-person Australian design firm to enable them to better compete in the U.S. marketplace. U.S. firms are forming alliances with firms in India, Singapore and China to lower construction document costs and provide literally 24 hour turnaround time on retail rollout packages. In yet another example, a college dean of architecture is mentoring a dozen firms on green design leadership.

We think the secret of alliance strength lies not in size however, but in collective, semi-autonomous business units that are responsive to clients’ daily challenges. The small, flexible teams of some firms (both large and small) are not only responsive but are also accountable with the results easy to measure. There is often more self direction and satisfaction than in the past. This makes firms more competitive.

Here are seven success factors discovered by The Greenway Group as the most important to consider when forming integrated alliances of diverse talents:

  • A shared strategic vision

  • Compatible partners and cultures

  • Attitudes of trust and open sharing

  • Action skills in integration and facilitation

  • Shared understanding and commitment to profit goals and performance incentives

  • High motivation and 95% conflict free behavior at the leadership levels

  • Flexible methods within a disciplined, goal-oriented culture

Think about how you can create new alliances from your position in the firm. We think you’ll find satisfaction in it and also it will bring a new strategy that will make survival easier when the inevitable economic downturn arrives.