We all know social media is a bin fire of opinions and reactionary posting. I’m nevertheless curious about what percentage of posts stand in favour of something rather than against something. One is constructive whilst the other is destructive. I start here not in an interest in social media but to pull a thread from a previous post, Architects finding their seat at the table. The thread, Stand for something, not against something.
Today I was witness to an act of generous leadership by architect Stephen Collier, speaking about his struggle with mental health issues. He stood in front of a “virtual” room of architects and publicly shared these challenges for the first time. It was moving, powerful and incredibly insightful. I learnt more in those 15 minutes than I had from numerous articles I’d read and impersonal talks I’d heard.
It took an act of great vulnerability to do this. He has lead example, and in doing so encouraged others to also share, giving them implied permission to follow. He’s made it…
One of the hard unspoken and neglected parts of architectural practice is challenging the way we do things and the assumptions that accompany this disregard. This happens for a number of reasons. It might be that if the practice is going well there may be no need to challenge your practice. Practice success may be due to luck, hiding unchallenged thinking, or indeed you might have a well honed practice. The thing is, how do you know whether your practice is lucky or well designed unless you ask questions and identify areas that might need to be rethought? Is your…
Last week I wrote a blog post I had titled What architects can learn from super heroes. It’s a reasonable post, perhaps not my best but certainly not my worst. Very few people read it. That wasn’t because it wasn’t good and they didn’t like it, it was because they didn’t even visit the post’s page in the first place. It’s likely that there are some people that had read previous posts of mine and simply aren’t interested in what I have to say and that’s fine. The issue is that those that might normally read what I have to…
“Our ways of thinking become habits that can weigh us down, and we don’t question them until it’s too late.” — Adam Grant
Our ways of thinking are tied up with how we perceive ourselves and what we do. They’re part of our identity. It’s uncomfortable discarding one part or other of your identity, your way of thinking. It might challenge what you do, why and how you do it. You might ask, what fills the void left by shedding a part of your thinking? …
There’s an old saying that change happens when the pain of changing is less than the pain of staying the same. I think that’s true, I also think that it’s not the only reason change happens. It can be motivated by ambition, a desire to be better or do better.
Change might relieve pain points or be driven by ambition. It’s aspirin v aspiration and a choice to be reactive or proactive.
Architects are paid to think in the service of others — creatively, critically, analytically, systemically, strategically, etc. I’m curious why they often don’t take enough time to think…
As the regular reader of my blog may have observed, I’m keen on questions.
I’m also as scared of a hard question as anyone too, whilst mindful of an old proverb,
“Better to ask a question than to remain ignorant.”
What’s worse ignorance or a scary answer? For those that want to get better at their work, make change happen or uncover new and helpful insights, ignorance is not an option.
“Courage doesn’t happen when you have all the answers. It happens when you are ready to face the questions you have been avoiding your whole life.” Shannon L. Alder
Whether just starting out on your practice journey or well into it, it is always worthwhile to take time to stop and evaluate how it’s going. What’s working? What’s not working? What could be better? What’s the general feeling?
It’s too rare for architects to do this. They might be too busy to make the time. Some might not think to ask questions of their practice. For others the sense that all is going well (or well enough) might mean they don’t feel it’s necessary. And more often than not there’s potential for the answers to be a little too…
“We need a seat at the table!”
It’s oft heard amongst architects.
My first thought in response is usually to question. Where is this “table”? Who’s also at the table? What’s the conversation they’re having? Do architects really want a seat there? Any reasonable answers to these questions might give clues as to why architects are missing, how they might go about finding said seat, or indeed whether it’s a table worth sitting around. It’s also not really the question they’re asking.
I typically translate this question to,
“Why don’t architects have more power?” …
I’m not sure architects are entirely right. For the purposes of the exercise, I’m going to assume they are and explore where they might start to set things to rights.
Starting with a quote ,
“Marketing is our quest to make change on behalf of those we serve, and we do it by understanding the irrational forces that drive each of us.”
The thing I like about this quote is there’s two parts. The first part is about making change. The second part is about (cognitive) empathy.
Starting with the change architects seek to make on behalf of…
| Not inclined to stay inside the | lines.