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A Guide to Planning a Roundtable Education Program on Navigating the Economy

The following articles can form the basis for an education program focused on managing a practice in a difficult economy. The articles appear in the Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice (14th edition, 2008; reprinted with permission of John Wiley & Sons Inc.).

Create and market a dynamic program:

    • Determine the program’s focus by selecting an article (see titles below).

    • Advertise the program.

    • Ask attendees to read the article in advance.

    • Decide how the program will be moderated/facilitated.

    • Choose a subset of the sample questions to guide the program. For a 60-minute program, use three or four questions. Think about which questions will be the most popular with your audience. You may want to distribute the questions in advance.






Strategic Planning for the Design Firm

Jack Reigle

Practice, Business planning, Business plans, Business structure and scopes, Strategic planning, Firm development


Establishing a Niche Practice

Jack Reigle

Practice, Business planning, Business plans, Business structure and scopes, Strategic planning, Firm development, Firm identity and expertise


Practicing in a Global Market

Roger B. Williams, FAIA, JIA, and C. Richard Meyer, FAIA

Practice, Business planning, Business plans, Business structure and scopes, Strategic planning, International procedures, International communications, International relations, Financial management, Risk management, Client relations, Global, Culture


Marketing Strategy and Planning

David Koren, CPSM, Assoc. AIA

Practice, Marketing, Marketing plans, Strategic planning, Budget


Seeking the Project

Howard J. Wolff

Practice, Business planning, Business plans, Client relations, How architects choose clients, Strategic planning, Proposal


Staff Development and Retention

Laurie Dreyer-Hadley, Kathleen C. Maurel, and Debra Fiori

Practice, Personnel management, Employment, Professional development, Talent retention plan, Supportive employment methods, Personnel performance, Personnel evaluations, Job training, Human resources, Strategic planning


Resignation, Termination and Staff Reduction

Debra Fiori

Practice, Personnel management, Termination, Resignation, Staff reduction, Employee termination, Firing, Layoff, Turnover, Retirement, Checklist, Template, Human resources, Strategic planning


Maintaining Financial Health

Peter Piven, FAIA

Practice, Financial management, Financial planning, Project financial information, Financial statements, Project financial planning, Project expense records, Cash receipts and disbursements, Billing, Cash flow, Strategic planning

Sample questions to spark discussion

1. How relevant are the author’s recommendations to your work?

2. Identify a key point in the article. How can architects and allied professionals apply it effectively?

3. What resources do you need in order to apply the concepts in the article?

4. What resources and services can you offer to your colleagues about how to apply the concepts in this article (e.g., lessons learned, templates, a follow-up conversation to delve more deeply into this topic)?

5. What are the opportunities for architects in this economic climate?

6. What are the challenges for architects in this economic climate?

7. Define your situation and describe how it compares with the author’s assessment of current professional practice issues.

8. What are the author’s key points? Which of the key points resonates most with you and your situation?

9. What is the key takeaway from this article?

10. What did you learn from this article? What are you most likely to do differently now?

11. Provide a real-life example that builds on the practice issue highlighted in the article.

12. What are the top three factors that will influence how easily the author’s suggestions can be implemented?

13. What is a barrier to implementing the author’s recommendations? How could you surmount that barrier?

14. What are you already doing well that is based on the ideas presented in this article?

15. What does this article tell us today that we can apply tomorrow?

16. Who can you work with to apply what you’ve learned from this article?

17. Explain how the author reinforces the knowledge you already have (in order to move forward in addressing the concerns presented in the article). Gives you a fresh perspective? An insight?

18. State in one word your gut reaction to this article.

To learn more about The Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice, and to purchase a copy, select the link for Store at the top of And, visit the Architect’s Knowledge Resource!

(Prepared by the American Institute of Architects, February 2009)


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