With a couple weeks until AIASF's 4th Symposium — Equity by Design: Metrics, Meaning & Matrices, EQxD Blog will be featuring "behind the scenes" interviews with the facilitators of the Symposium Break Out Sessions for Career Dynamics and Pinch Points. Nancy Alexander shares her insights on working with the Thought Leaders to shape this Career Dynamics session.
Culture with Intent: Recognizing and Shaping your Office Culture
It is said that “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”. Office culture matters – in producing quality work, in defining and expressing a brand, in employee retention. Knowingly or not, we live, breathe, and feel our office’s culture every day. Each office has its own values, traditions, ways of communicating and leading. Understanding your culture helps you gauge fit and manage performance. Through panelists’ examples, guided exercises and break-out groups, you will identify the hallmarks of your office culture, evaluate it through the lens of your personal values, address any incongruity, and develop strategies to effect change if needed.
Why were you interested in being a facilitator?
Facilitation is all about drawing out the group wisdom, finding the common threads, and seeing a co-created product emerge. It’s one of the most fun things I get to do! And as possibly the only non-architect in the crew, despite decades of learning about architecture, architects, and practice, I combine an outsider’s perspective with huge appreciation for what you all do and the impact your work has on the world.
How have the Equity pinch points and/or dynamics informed your session?
I was surprised that the survey so vividly captured elements of firm culture that matter, in particular: alignment between firm values and personal values; the work relationships that develop as a result of that alignment; and individual control, autonomy, and involvement in decision-making. Understanding these points, I think, affirmed the direction our team was intuitively going in, and it is giving us something of a framework and starting point for the facilitated workshop.
Are there any a-ha’s that emerged from the process of working with your team?
This is not a new a-ha, but a renewed one: you architects work a lot! Also you are super-smart and very skilled at processing the big picture and the details simultaneously. It’s always a privilege to work with architects (and dare I say, especially women architects). This team, like many teams of women architects that I’ve observed, is driven by the client (i.e. the audience) and the project goals and not egos.
AIASF Equity by Design Symposium Sponsors
Special thanks to our amazing sponsors for their dedication and support. We look forward to seeing you there!