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The Business Behind Design

Behind all great architecture and engineering work there needs to be an efficient, effective business operation in place. In his Business Behind Design blog, Steven Burns, FAIA, Chief Creative Officer for BQE Software—the company behind Core—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-tos, plus advice for maximizing meetings, business software, recruitment and retention, and strategic planning. For more on BQE Software, visit:
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 returns above their national industry med...

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. SPONSOR CONTENT

December 19, 2014 | Steven Burns

There are many reasons why people quit: employee mismatch, work/life balance, co-worker conflicts, relocation, family matters, lack of good communi...

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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 in their roles when they had position...

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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 challenge to achieve in the fragmented AEC...

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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 foundational principles. SPONSORED CONTEN...

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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 encourages their progress will. SPONS...

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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 bring in new perspectives? SPONSORED CO...

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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 endure, leading only to temporary improv...

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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 that it’s been reduced to pithy sayings. Bu...

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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 firms in new directions. SPONSORED C...

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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 consultant Brook Manville, is his or her ab...

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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 professional services firms toward “decou...

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Architects | August 04, 2014 | Steven Burns

Transforming your firm into a “digital business” is particularly challenging because digital touches every function while also demanding the rapid...

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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 the number of proposals won. Here ar...

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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 determining the gap between a firm’s curren...

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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 continuously shown that money isn’t the t...

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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 in a recent blog post, except the onl...

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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 strategy. Here are five strategies to mak...

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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 characteristic that can predict which le...

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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 Scott Simpson, a senior fellow of the D...
Architects | May 22, 2014 | Steven Burns

Measuring what matters is essential for professional services firms, says author and consultant Tim Williams, particularly as firms continue to exp...

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Architects | May 08, 2014 | Steven Burns

Though strategic planning has helped many businesses move forward, its time has passed. So says Economist and Author Bill Conerly. SPONSORED CONTEN...

Image: courtesy BQE Software

Architects | May 03, 2014 | Steven Burns

Managing a team of people, especially creative people, is a task that not everyone is up for. Keeping your team on the same page while maintaining...

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Architects | April 15, 2014 | Steven Burns

Regardless of the fee you charge, clients and prospects decide the value of your professional services based on their experience with your firm. ...

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