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, and during that time the firm’s earnings grew at an average rate of 24% per year. After founding his own software company, Steve took his management expertise to BQE Software, where he is refining their business strategy and product development for the company’s groundbreaking project accounting solution, BQE Core.

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