AIA Practice Management Digest – May 2019

By Sara R. Boyer AIA posted 05-30-2019 11:40 AM


The only thing that is constant is change

Letter from the editor

By Sara R. Boyer, AIA, LEED AP BD+C

Sara Boyer headshot

Whether you embrace change, run from it, or oscillate between those two ends of the spectrum, what remains true is Change. Is. Constant.  

This quarter’s issue focuses on change… BIG change. I am particularly grateful to the contributors to this issue and their forthrightness on these big, and at times intimate, topics. Learn how to plan for big change in “Strategic planning: Using vision, values, and mission as a firm foundation.” This article provides the framework to solidify the foundation for your firm and its desired future.  The AIA Trust provides an easy-to-follow article “Leadership succession is the future” with several references for continued reading. Read about a recent and first-hand the experience of firm transition with an eye towards retirement in “Convergence: Leadership and ownership transition through the merger acquisition experience.” Follow along with one firm’s business and cultural journey to strategically expand with its first satellite office in “Preparing to launch: Keys to success in a new geographic market”.

If your firm is about to implement BIG change, check out the additional resources below and referenced within the article concerning leadership succession.

I hope you enjoy this quarter's edition of Practice Management Digest focusing on BIG change, and please consider the environment before you print.


Leadership succession is the future
Contributed by The AIA Trust 

Leadership succession is the future. Fostering staff development, identifying and grooming future firm leaders requires long-term planning to achieve successful continuation of a firm based on a productive, thriving, and successful staff. Succession planning has long been a measure of good management – and it involves an investment of both time and money.

Convergence: Leadership and ownership transition through the merger acquisition experience 
By Betsey Olenick Dougherty, FAIA, LEED AP

All firms have or will face the quandary of evaluating the best option for transition with retirement looming for its founding partners. Design prowess, business administration, and firm culture are all factors particular to each entity and their journey towards transition. Here's the play-by-play process that one firm went through.

Strategic planning: Using vision, values, and mission as a firm foundation
By Karen O. Courtney, AIA, FSMPS, MBA

Just like a building has a strong foundation, an architecture firm should have a strategic plan upon which to build its desired future. The critical foundational elements of vision, values, and mission are described and used to set the goals, strategies and tactics needed for success.

Preparing to launch: Keys to success in a new geographic market
By Jonathan Lusin, AIA, LEED AP

Jonathan Lusin, Principal at IKM Architecture, shares his lessons learned as his firm embarks on growing the firm’s first satellite office, launched earlier this year.

Further reading and resources

The New Competitiveness in Design & Construction by Joe M. Powell

Art's Principles: 50 Years of Hard-Learned Lessons by Arthur Gensler & Michael Lindenmayer

The AIA Foresight Report

Contribute to the Digest

The future issues of the Practice Management Digest are currently planned to cover topics such as firm management, talent management, and architectural writing. If you have topics related to practice management that you'd like explored or articles you would like us to consider, please contact Sara Boyer, AIA, at