Looking ahead, firms want confidence that they have the leadership to grow strategically and be healthier all around. A series of direct questions, interviews, and background checks can reveal the true leaders in any organization.

In our role as leadership consultants we do not remember a period with more disruptive upheaval in leadership positions in design firms and related organizations. Why now? It seems that there are high expectations that firms should be getting extraordinary things done during the recovery. Approximately 25 percent of firms in a recent poll were expected to grow at rates of 20 percent or more in 2003-04. Looking ahead, firms want confidence that they have the leadership to grow strategically and be healthier all around. Leaders who set the example and follow through on what they say they will do are not altogether common. With confidence lacking, firms take on extra risk. The promise of a cohesive and motivated organization languishes.

Greenway Consulting has developed an analysis tool to evaluate leadership performance and/or seek new candidates for managing principal, president, deans, and similar positions.

A series of direct questions, interviews, and background checks can reveal the true leaders in any organization. A 12-point scale called the Greenway Leadership Wheel™ summarizes the findings. These were developed with best-of-class firms eager to discover how to improve leadership and build a cohesive and motivated organization with high-performing human resource strength. In brief, here are seven of the 12 areas of analysis:

  • Challenging the status quo and creating a culture that is dedicated to continuing improvement

  • Vision clarity that permeates the organization and inspires both within and without the firm

  • Systematic priority planning that defines roles and responsibilities, enabling others to succeed

  • A leadership role model who sets an example in both big and little ways and who has stature in the field beyond the firm’s realm

  • They boost morale in genuine and sincere ways, especially during times of stress or economic challenge.

  • A leader who creates an environment where communications flourish internally, and are exemplary externally

  • A steady and strong individual who can be decisive but does not possess alienating egotistic pride

These are the first seven of the 12 key areas of analysis, and all can be measured. Greenway Consulting uses a 100-point scale as a part of the analysis with a benchmark score of 85 and higher for overall leader success.

I honestly believe the biggest opportunities for architects, engineers, and designers and others in the A/E/C industry lies just ahead. We are in the midst of something very big. You don’t have to tolerate being a less-than-great leader or playing on an under-performing leadership team. Don’t miss the biggest opportunities of the century. You may agree or disagree, but we see the future indicators pointing to a context for exceptional forward movement. You can do better than just survive.

–James P. Cramer