In an ever-evolving and challenging industry, it is important to work hard to meet business goals and objectives on an ongoing basis.
There are several impactful factors (i.e., employees, company culture, and reputation) that play a major role in the success of a firm and this holds true in AEC firms as well. The key is to recognize what it takes to be successful in the industry and to avoid the pitfalls causing growth to plateau.
Best Practice #1: Provide consistent client service
Most AEC firms are prideful in providing excellent customer service. Client experience can vary widely between offices, teams, and individuals
Ongoing learning for all employees is a must. This requires an AEC firm to have the appropriate documentation, onboarding, and management practices to ensure consistency no matter who is providing the service.
It is also necessary to perform regular quality assurance checks to make sure all employees are on the same page. Customer service monitoring ensures clients always receive the best service possible.
Mistake #1: Misaligned mission statement, vision, and values
Often, AEC firms fail to get a leadership team to agree on the mission, vision, and values of their organization. A leadership team needs to agree on a proper course of action to see growth and success. Lack of alignment can stall decisions and sabotage the execution of a strategic plan.
The inability of a leadership team to reach a consensus on a firm’s mission, vision, and values also impacts how employees view these objectives. This may lead to a toxic culture causing loss of employees and clients. Make an effort to maintain a leadership team who is committed to the AEC firm’s goals and culture.
Best Practice #2: Adhere to a strategic plan
It is likely an AEC firm has developed a strategic plan either annually or bi-annually. Unfortunately, after it is developed, some firms put the plan away and forget about the progression plan amid day-to-day operations.
A strategic plan which guides decisions, hiring new employees, opportunities, and long-term growth is key to success. An AEC firm needs to stay dedicated to a strategic plan in every situation whether that is focusing on new markets, pursuing projects, acquisitions, or offering new services.
Do not let old habits hinder potential growth because time was not spent implementing a strategic plan. Instead, make it a top priority for the leadership team and ensure meticulous oversight until objectives are met.
Mistake #2: Open communication among multiple locations
Many firms have multiple offices, teams, and business units. Clear communication is often a common problem for these types of firms. Each location develops separate business practices and culture to best meet its on-site employees. This causes a lack of adherence to company goals, policies, and systems as a whole.
To retract this problem, create a company culture where all teams work together. With clearer communication channels and a common desire to grow together, employees will be more apt to follow companywide policies. This requires a direction from leadership teams to set internal best practices for communication and how best to work as a single unit.
Best Practice #3: Adopt automation software
There are dozens of automation systems available to assist AEC firms in manual or tedious work such as:
- Data entry
- Adhering to project budgets
- Maintaining updated schedules
- Improving firm profits
When adopting an automation system, set aside time for sufficient training, updating processes, and accountability monitoring. The key is to implement the automation system to the fullest extent. Place focus on proper implementation methods to fully benefit and utilize automation systems.
Mistake #3: Too slow to change
The AEC industry is a fast-moving environment that requires attention to detail and keeping an eye on the moving target. That is why an AEC firm cannot afford to be slow in implementing change.
An AEC firm needs to be willing and able to implement new technology and adopt new human resources or recruiting practices to optimize business. Failure to invest in the future and the constantly changing nature of the industry can radically affect long-term execution and ability to compete.
It is the everyday behaviors and choices that have a significant impact on the success of an AEC firm. By following best industry practices, an AEC firm will see fewer mistakes and maximize profits to stay ahead of the competition.
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