The power of a community or tribe is well established. Architects, Landscape Architects, and Interior Designers are already a community albeit a loosely defined one. I would like to change that by leveraging our similarities, which I believe are numerous. When I discuss business, career, values and mindset with an Architect or Interior Designer there is as much common ground there as there is when talking to another Landscape Architect.
As with other communities, there are shared experiences that the up and comers can learn from to avoid the same mistakes and missteps their predecessors made. That can speed up the progress towards professional development, which is something we can all appreciate. There is also the support we get from a community. That can be sharing a resource, referring business, or collaborating on a project. For me though, the feeling of human connection with those I share common interest and experiences with is the main driver for creating this community of Design Professionals.
Sharing and Connecting
One of my favorite experiences is socializing with a group of Landscape Architects and discussing the different things that come up in our working lives. Our significant others get tired of hearing about things they never deal with, so having that outlet with someone that understands, is interested and can empathize can be very meaningful. They may even have an answer for something I can’t figure out because of their similar situation.
The Share button on Facebook was the reason they leaped in to the stratosphere early on. There was a competitor that had many of the same features but they didn’t have the Share button. We want to share the most meaningful parts of our lives with those who we feel best understand us. The Like button is confirmation that someone out there is listening and resonates with us, or at least part of our experience. Who amongst us doesn’t love when we post something and we get a bunch of Likes in response? Come on, you know you love it. It’s validation that something you thought or did had an affect on others, you made a connection.
My graduating class of 1986 in Landscape Architecture from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo had a five-year reunion every year for the first 20 years. Getting together was great whether we were still practicing Landscape Architecture or not. Over half were not! We had been through such an important part of our lives together that it created a lasting bond. Like with any group, there was a stronger bond for some more than for others. Some even found a stronger bond later because they chose similar paths.
Making New Friends – Post College Life
All of these years later, 28 at the time I write this we still have those connections. One of my best friends is a classmate that at the time we were in school I was not close to. Our friendship really began at one of the reunions because we discovered some common ground. When we get together now we still discuss different parts of the business. We are both focused on Residential design but very different market sectors. We still have a lot in common in our businesses and that is part of what made me realize how much we can all benefit from hearing other’s stories and the things they have worked out to be successful, how ever they define that.
Just like my friend being in a different sector but still having loads of similarities, so too are Architects and Interior Designers. There is so much in common that for me it became a no-brainer to open this community up to all three professions. The huge multiplier affect of three times more people to learn from is very exciting to me. I also like to hear how others see a world I am so connected to. We all have our blind spots so getting perspectives that aren’t too close to our own can be a great opportunity for growth. One company that thrives on this approach is IDEO. They take people from all backgrounds and solve some of the planets biggest problems using diverse perspectives.
Professional Growth Through Shared Experience
I am extending this invitation to all Architects, Landscape Architects, and Interior Designers to become an active participant in this community. The more you put in the more you get back. We can all teach others something about success as Design Professionals. It can be as small as a great little app you discovered to mark up drawings, a way to deal with distractions at work, a source for E & O insurance, or a really great software for cost estimating a project.
Toyota has a system where all employees are encouraged to give input on how to continuously improve all parts of their system, (kaizen). It doesn’t matter how big or small your roll is in the company you are expected to give suggestions. They are acknowledging that everyone has a different perspective that allows them to see things that others don’t. Because we are all having a different experience we focus on different things and make different distinctions. Seemingly small, some of these can be game changing for another professional because it may solve the very problem that is keeping them from moving to the next level.
You get it! So chime in, give your two cents worth. We want to hear your comments, your ideas that will make us better at serving our clients, be more profitable, enjoy our day to day, build stronger design teams, and on and on. If you feel you have a story that teaches us at the same time please contact us about being interviewed for the podcast. I look forward to hearing from you.