Downturn Economy: Strategies that Don’t Work

Distributing Coordination Responsibilities
When you take responsibilities that really are best done by one person, say managing a Samples Library, writing AIA contracts or organizing and distribute it among multiple people, problems will happen. It’s a simple case of no leadership and central decision making. How one person goes about it will undoubtedly conflict with another person’s strategy. In the end, unless you set ground rules (not guidelines, but hard rules) on how tasks are to be carried out, you’re asking for a complete collapse of a system your firm likely spent many hours and dollars to make right.

Waiting for the perfect RFP
Let’s face it, RFP’s are in short supply today. Striking a balance between what you go after and what you decide is a “No-Go” just got a little more difficult. For firms that don’t go after anything under $5 million, let’s say, may find themselves hurting to find RFP’s to go after. Consider the market and react, don’t wait. If you need to go after the little $1-2 million projects, do it. You might be surprised how often you win these.

Putting Technology Development Projects on Hold
There are probably a few development projects you have that really only benefit one person, department or group. These can go on hold. Take a look at everything else and look at it closely. The firms that survive this recession must stand out. Technology is a critical component for development in these uncertain and slow times. Your ability to meet client needs with technology will impress and could be the difference between your being selected or your competition.

Spreading Everyone Too Thin
After a layoff, the questions of who will do the work that former employees did is perhaps the most perplexing to answer. The bottom line is, don’t ask one or two people to shoulder the load. Use the whole office, make it clear what everyone is now responsible for handling, and set some ground rules for how it’s done (remember, it’s not a democracy – it’s YOUR firm). Likewise, don’t assign marketing tasks to a design Architect that hates marketing (hard to believe, but there are those who are just that arrogant out there).

Change Everything
It’s easy for an Executive to decide to change everything that the firm does to try and “Re-invent” the firm. Don’t do this. Change that is managed and done incrementally is the most successful, particularly when it impacts day-to-day routines that are long established.

Greg

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