The Business Behind Design

Behind all great architecture and engineering work there needs to be an efficient, effective business operation in place in order to maximize profits. In his Business Behind Design blog, Steven Burns, FAIA, Director of Product Strategies for BQE Software, creator of ArchiOffice, and long-time managing director of an architectural practice, offers valuable advice about running a design firm.Topics include project management tips, financial best practices, marketing how-to, advice for maximizing meetings, business software, recruitment and retention, and strategic planning. For more on BQE Software, visit:
How to earn respect as a leader
Building Team | June 18, 2015 | Steven Burns
Employees will give you minimum effort if the only reason they respect you is for your authority
Is your firm social enough?
Building Team | June 09, 2015 | Steven Burns
The overwhelming majority of A/E/C firms are engaged in social media. But to what end? 
Succession planning starts with developing your leaders

A leadership-succession process should involving mentoring and coaching. Photo: HA0521-021/Flickr.

Building Team | June 03, 2015 | Steven Burns
Two-thirds of U.S. companies still admit that they have no formal succession plan in place, a 2014 survey cond...
Why it’s so hard to figure out what to pay top talent
Building Team | April 03, 2015 | Steven Burns
Is your firm’s approach to compensation effective in today’s rapidly changing talent market?
Are face-to-face meetings still important?

It’s particularly important for sensitive communication, when having tone and body language for context makes a difference.

Building Team | March 17, 2015 | Steven Burns
One CEO looks pass convenience and advocates for old school, in-person meetings.
How to give feedback effectively

If initial feedback doesn’t resonate, effective leaders also know how to turn up the pressure in a way that is progressive, but not too sharp.

Building Team | March 06, 2015 | Steven Burns
A great feedback-giving leader evaluates the individual
What your employees really want

Employers can support employees' personal growth by encouraging them to take courses online or be mentored by more senior employees. Photo courtesy of Evan Bench/Wikimedia Commons.

Building Team | February 24, 2015 | Steven Burns
Here are key aspects of a job that keep employees happy
Why diversity at work matters

In the U.S., there is a linear relationship between racial and ethnic diversity and better financial performance, a study by McKinsey found. Photo: Monisha Pushparaj/Wikimedia Commons

Building Team | February 17, 2015 | Steven Burns
Companies in the top quartile for gender or racial and ethnic diversity are more likely to have financial retu...
The 4 leadership behaviors that really matter McKinsey & Company

Using a comprehensive list of 20 distinct leadership traits, McKinsey surveyed 189,000 people in 81 diverse organizations around the world.

January 30, 2015 | Steven Burns
It includes seeking diverse perspectives and supporting others.
December 26, 2014 | Steven Burns
Successful innovators care about solving interesting and important problems — innovation is merely a byproduct...
December 19, 2014 | Steven Burns
There are many reasons why people quit: employee mismatch, work/life balance, co-worker conflicts, relocation,...

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December 16, 2014 | Steven Burns
Replacing the names on the door can be tricky for AEC firms. SPONSORED CONTENT

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Architects | November 26, 2014 | Steven Burns
A recent study published in the journal Psychological Science revealed that employees were 26% more satisfied...

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Architects | November 12, 2014 | Steven Burns
A collaborative planning and design process may seem like a common-sense goal, but the concept can be a challe...

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Architects | November 06, 2014 | Steven Burns
To attract and keep talented individuals who are different than you, Entrepreneur magazine suggests a few foun...

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Building Owner | October 29, 2014 | Steven Burns
Telling your employees to become more engaged and productive won’t work. But putting mechanisms in place that...

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Architects | October 19, 2014 | Steven Burns
Another brainstorming session, another slew of tired ideas. How can you push your team to be more creative and...

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Architects | October 13, 2014 | Steven Burns
Kristof De Wulf, CEO of InSites Consulting, argues that the effects of customer-centricity typically don’t end...

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Architects | September 25, 2014 | Steven Burns
By now, the idea that organizations must adapt to maintain both relevance and market share is so ingrained tha...

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Architects | September 13, 2014 | Steven Burns
Asking the right questions can help business leaders to anticipate changes, seize opportunities and move their...

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Architects | September 13, 2014 | Steven Burns
An oven-overlooked factor in assessing the success of a leader, according to organizational development consul...

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Architects | August 16, 2014 | Steven Burns
Business consultant Tim Williams authored a recent LinkedIn post that highlights the emerging trend among prof...

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Architects | August 04, 2014 | Steven Burns
Transforming your firm into a “digital business” is particularly challenging because digital touches every fun...

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Architects | August 04, 2014 | Steven Burns
Most AEC leadership teams are fastidious about tracking their hit rate–the number of proposals submitted minus...

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Architects | July 21, 2014 | Steven Burns
Transition planning can be one of the more complex challenges that firms face. Effective plans begin by determ...

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Architects | July 07, 2014 | Steven Burns
The secret to keeping your best employees productive and happy isn’t throwing money at them, as studies have c...

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Architects | July 07, 2014 | Steven Burns
Companies seem to try everything imaginable to fix their workplaces, says Gallup Chairman and CEO Jim Clifton...

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Architects | June 22, 2014 | Steven Burns
Establishing, conveying, and maintaining a powerful brand is a critical component of an AEC firm’s marketing s...

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Architects | June 03, 2014 | Steven Burns
While it’s often said that strong leadership is an organization’s competitive advantage, is there a single cha...

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Architects | May 27, 2014 | Steven Burns
The price, cost, and value of design services are explored in a recent Design Intelligence article authored by...
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