Resilience: the hallmark of a successful practice

The key to a firm’s future success has less to do with avoiding trouble than bouncing back from it. 

July 25, 2013 |
Steven Burns

Editor's note: This is a sponsored article. All text and images were provided by the sponsor company.

 

The key to a firm’s future success has less to do with avoiding trouble than bouncing back from it.

Ongoing research from Harvard Business School Professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter illuminates that resilience is a fundamental differentiator between companies that thrive and those that falter.

Because misfortune is universal, an organization’s ability to move beyond – and learn from – a fumble or unavoidable misstep is what differentiates the firm from its competitors.

Unfortunately, hardships are inevitable. Client relationships go south. Talented people leave. The economy throws you a curveball (that lasts years). Even the most “successful” practices are beset by unexpected setbacks.

Whether the event is avoidable or completely beyond your control, what matters most is how – and how quickly – you react to it.

Kanter writes: “Resilience draws from strength of character, from a core set of values that motivate efforts to overcome the setback and resume walking the path to success. It involves self-control and willingness to acknowledge one's own role in defeat. Resilience also thrives on a sense of community – the desire to pick oneself up because of an obligation to others and because of support from others who want the same thing. Resilience is manifested in actions – a new contribution, a small win, a goal that takes attention off of the past and creates excitement about the future.”

Three common factors underpin resilient people, teams and organizations, according to Kanter:

  1. Accountability: taking responsibility and showing remorse.
  2. Collaboration: supporting others in reaching a common goal.
  3. Initiative: focusing on positive steps and improvements.

Not surprisingly, these are the same traits that often distinguish high-performing architectural and engineering practices from their peers.

So in the end, mindset really does matter.

Read more from Harvard Business Review.

Steven Burns | The Business Behind Design

Steven Burns, FAIA, spent 14 years managing the firm Burns + Beyerl Architects, during that time the firm’s earnings grew at an average rate of 24% per year. After creating ArchiOffice®, the intelligent office, project management and time tracking solution for architectural firms, Steve took his management expertise to BQE Software, where he is refining their business strategy and product development.

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