01 - StrategyStrategy is the most abused and misunderstood word in our profession. Definitions are multiple and confusing, and often don’t mesh with the day-to-day of architects and those who work with them. To succeed—firms must understand and celebrate their specialty and bring that unique value to the market. Strategy is more important than ever—a way to understand the outside world, celebrate the firm and its strengths, and chart a very specific course forward.

At the most elementary level, strategy means: ‘This is what we’re doing, and this is what we’re not doing’. Strategy is both creating: analyzing, determining, charting—and living: shouting, organizing, and choosing tactical actions. Many firms have Strategic Plans but during the recession they got stale or outdated—now is the time to refresh and re-ignite that firm future.

The 2 Stages of a successful strategic planning process are:

Create It
Discover your potential | Analyze opportunities | Synthesize direction | Declare you soul

Creating or refreshing a strategic plan starts with gather objective and subjective information, then creating scenarios of where you might fit, making decisions on your particular path and finally creating your vision, mission and values that will take you there.

Live It
Structure your enterprise | Connect with clients | Channel aspiration | Audit performance

Making sure it is ‘lived in your firm’ includes building an operational plan, marketing plan, action plans and monitoring system that inspire and gives all leaders and staff energy to be a part of the direction and results on a daily basis.

A strategic plan is not something that is created in a day. You must work at it, sleep on it, fuss with it, and argue against it — until all stakeholders build consensus toward success. And even then, it will not be complete, it is a living document after all—and it should be.