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It’s About Time

By Mickey Jacob, FAIA

Time is a very valuable commodity. All of us face the daily challenge of how to best use this fleeting resource. And I’m pretty certain that more than once we have each said in exasperation to ourselves, or even out loud, that there simply aren’t enough hours in the day.

As this year’s AIA President, I have a whole new perspective on the value of efficient time management. Trying to juggle the responsibilities of service to the profession, running a small business, managing projects, building client relationships, developing young talent in the firm, generating new business, all while trying to maintain an important balance in my personal life—well, if I’m not careful, time can easily slip away from me. That’s why I have set a high price on just how and where I invest my time.

Each of us struggles to find the time to do those things important to us. That’s why our participation in CRAN and the AIA has to be seen as a smart use of time, and that what we get in return is real value. If it’s not, then we can’t expect our organizations to grow and prosper in a world that makes increasing demands on us 24/7.

In this and many other respects, CRAN has much to teach. It has created a model for participation where success is built on the ability to meet both creatively and innovatively the interests of its members. It brings value for the time spent by presenting the latest information about a rapidly-changing industry and facilitating the exchange of knowledge and expertise to promote the professional development of its members.

As important as this is, CRAN’s greatest value is without question derived from a strategy focused in the one place where the public is most passionate about—the home. It’s here where design affects the quality of life. The work that CRAN does is the “tip of the spear” in any effective effort to elevate the public awareness of the importance design and architecture play in the healthy, safe, sustainable, and prosperous communities. That work doesn’t just create value for the people who choose to spend time to be involved in CRAN, it also creates greater value in the marketplace for what architects do.

The AIA is also striving to find creative and innovative ways to elevate the value of membership, and simultaneously advocate for the value, indeed the necessity of member participation. These two objectives—elevating the value of membership and encouraging participation—are why the AIA has embarked on what has come to be called our “Repositioning Initiative.” It began with taking a cold, hard look at what we have been doing, who we are, what we think we should be, and how best to achieve the goal of being an essential resource for a prosperous profession that makes a positive difference in people’s lives.

It’s an ambitious agenda, one that could not move forward without leadership. Recently, the AIA Board rose to the challenge of leadership by ratifying a new statement of purpose to support the Repositioning Initiative and to show a new commitment to a focused strategy for the Institute to be the professional community our members want us to be. It reads:

Together, we agree that the time is now to change the way we think and behave in order to shape our future.

To become a more valued, relevant organization, the AIA will focus our priorities to:

    Elevate public awareness

    Advocate for the profession

    Create and expand the sharing of knowledge and expertise to ensure a prosperous future for our members

Never before have we needed this level of bold, visionary leadership to inspire architects to work together and build a better world for everyone—through architecture.

It’s a bold concept, one that advances the profession through the efforts of AIA members investing their time, energy, expertise, and knowledge to shape the future direction and value of this, their professional community. Clearly, CRAN is positioned to be an important player in implementing this initiative. Our common task is how to better work together to encourage and empower AIA and CRAN members to take on leadership roles that will build more value in both organizations.

Relationship-building is an important, if not a key dimension of leadership. Our ability to advance positive change depends on finding and building a community of shared interests. It’s where ideas turn into action. The AIA’s Repositioning strategy, in partnership with CRAN, opens new opportunities for members to tell our stories.

I am very excited about these new opportunities to invest in the future of the profession. Only through our collective commitment to lead the efforts to tell our stories, to advocate for the profession, to share our knowledge and ideas, can we be successful. The public is depending on us to lead with decisive action. Through the partnerships created in implementing the Repositioning Initiative we will step forward to accept these challenges through architecture—and it’s about time.


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