Workshops, Meetings, Seminars and Publications

New Ideas:

Why Strategic Plans often fail ( to produce results ) …

Firms that develop worthy written goals and action plans, then fail to achieve credible results, may be handicapping their own efforts and good intentions for one or more of the following reasons :

  1. An overdependence on an annual retreat to create measurable results.
  2. Leadership’s lack of commitment to invest in change, as demonstrated by an apparent unwillingness to spend the time and money to get the results they have announced that they support. 
  3. Goals are unrealistic and may be driven by expectations and peer pressure.
  4. Lack of an agreed upon process for following up after the retreat on performance and dealing with obstacles.
  5. Disagreement, sometimes open, sometimes concealed, between firm leaders, about the direction the firm should be going in.
  6. Lack of preparation, in evaluation of past performance, researching current trends, assessing strengths and weaknesses, etc.… all of which may lead to reaching superficial and unsupportable goals.
  7. Failing to involve, or consult with key staff who will be responsible for carrying out critical aspects of the plan …

For those firms who are looking for ways to improve the effectiveness of their strategic planning process, it may make sense to consider the above as a check list of possible areas to choose from, to do things differently, before planning next year’s retreat. 

Programs and events that Teambuilders has organized, presented or participated in : Teambuilders has provided its time and expertise in assisting the design and construction community by developing and providing seminars and workshops, and participating in panel discussions, that have contributed to the understanding of the challenges that face the profession today, and in developing new approaches to improving the practice of architecture.

  • At an SMPS Professional Advisory Rountable held at the Center for Architecture, on September 29th, 2006,  for senior managers and marketing professionals, Teambuilders facilitated an interactive workshop on “Motivation,” that focused on identifying and understanding the role that motivation plays in individual and organizational effectiveness.  
  • Developed and helped organize “Getting to Great …  A regional conference on achieving firm excellence.”,  held on Oct 26th, 27th and 28th, 2005, and jointly sponsored by the AIA/ Practice Management Knowledge Committee, and the AIA/NYChapter ;  including seminars, workshops and panel discussions in leadership development, marketing and management skills.

  • Moderated an interactive panel discussion ( at the above conference ) on “Growing Leaders : How a mentoring program can help firms succeed by promoting leaders from within”. Panelists included Walter Hunt, FAIA, managing principal at Gensler, Richard Southwick, AIA, managing principal at Beyer Blinder Belle, and Susan Boyle, AIA, managing principal at HLW.

  • Presented and facilitated an interactive seminar, ( also as part of the above conference ) on “Understanding Group Dynamics : The key to a team’s effectiveness”, on Oct 28th, 2005.
  • Facilitated a Professional Practice Committee roundtable discussion, on “What are the challenges in architectural practice today ? , sponsored by AIA/NY’s Oculus, and Professional Practice Committee, on  May 5th, 2005.
  • Organized and moderated a  roundtable discussion on “The education of architects in business” , on May 18th, 2004, at the Center for Architecture,  with George Ranalli, CCNY Dean of Architecture School, Robert Hillier, founding partner of Hillier Associates, Bruce Nichol, principal of Front; and Gerry Gurland, Architect.

  • Organized and moderated a roundtable discussion on “Managing parenthood and the architectural profession” , on Jan 27, 2004, at the Center for Architecture, with Susan Doban, principal in Susan Doban Architects ;  Robin Komita, associate at Becker Winston Architects ( Philadelphia ) ; Rachel Frankel, of Rachel Frankel Architect ; Steve Mitchell, associate at Goshow Architects.
  • A workshop for AIA and SMPS members on “Closing the deal without giving away the store” , on March 28th, 2003, provided insights to participants on how to negotiate successfully with clients and colleagues. The 4 hour session, attended by 50 principals, marketing directors and project managers, used the “Thomas Killman Conflict Style Inventory” ( TKI ) to help participants discover how they most often deal with conflict, and how they can learn to use more effective approaches. A case study gave everyone an opportunity to test new skills and to compare results,

  • "Marketing and Managing Strategic Alliances that work."
    An AIA/NYC Chapter Program jointly sponsored by the Marketing and Professional Practice Committees. Ralph moderated a two part panel discussion on September 10th and September 26th, 2002, that focused on the following questions :
    1. How do firms that work in the same marketplace, with clients in common, often providing similar services … overcome competitive issues in forming strategic alliances together ?
    2. How can you successfully develop a strong, unified image with two firmsthat have significantly different values, organizational systems, and approaches to design ?
    3. What are the key ingredients of a successful strategic alliance ? " Teamwork … where has it gone ? "

  • A round-table discussion, sponsored by The Structural Engineers Association of New York ( SEAoNY ) was moderated by Ralph, on April 2nd, 2002 ; that addressed the increasingly frenetic pace that is resulting in more adversarial relationships and less teamwork on projects. The panel, included representatives of the design team, including architect, engineer, contractor and owner, and discussed ways of improving collaboration.

  • A key-note address to the Alberta Association of Architects, at their annual meeting in Calgary, on May 6th, 2002, was presented by Ralph on “The Formation and Management of Strategic Alliances that Work. ”

  • Participated in a panel discussion on "How to build a successful local alliance," for the Boston Society of Architect's, "Build Boston" conference, November, 16, 2000.

  • Presented a workshop on change management called : "Beyond Resistance : Strategies for Organizational Change" at the AIA's Professional Practice Conference in Portland, Oregon ; October 14th, 2000, with Rena Klein, AIA, MSM, of Seattle, WA.,.

  • Facilitated an "open space" strategic planning retreat for the Directors of SEAoNY ( Structural Engineers Association of New York.); September 22nd and 23rd, 2000.

  • Organized and presented an interactive seminar on "Creating and Managing Strategic Alliances," at the AIA / NY State Convention in Brooklyn; September 22nd, 2000.

  • Gave a two day workshop, on "Negotiation Strategies in Public Construction", to managers at NYC's Department of Design and Construction, provided by the Program on Negotiation of NYU's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service ; August 29th and 30th, 2000, with NYU's Professor Alan Zerkin.

  • Facilitated monthly "Green Building Tax Credit Advisory Committee" meetings for NYSERDA ( N.Y. State Energy Research and Development Authority ), to develop new regulations to implement New York's "green building" incentive program ; June thru December, 2000.

  • Facilitated a special meeting of the Board of Directors of AIA / NY State, on developing proposed legislation that would provide guidelines for a Design/Build project delivery process, and for corporate practice for architects, in New York State ; May 15th, 2000.

  • Facilitated a full day interactive workshop on "Mergers, Acquisitions, Joint Ventures, Associations and Other Strategic Alliances" for the Boston Society of Architects/ AIA, in Boston, MA.; May 12th, 2000. · Participated in a panel discussion on "Doing well by doing good : Social responsibility and the bottom line," at the AIA Convention in Philadelphia ; May 4th, 2000.

  • Facilitated a retreat of the Board of directors of the AIA's New York Foundation of Architecture, to develop a long range plan, as well as specific action to be taken during the current year, that would further the foundation's mission to promote scholarship, research and education, in architecture and the designed environment ; February 4th, 2000.

  • Served on a panel discussing " Managing Design : Best Practices ", sponsored by the AIA/ NY Chapter's professional practice committee ; January 20th, 2000.
  • Moderated a panel discussion on design/build, in May 1999, sponsored by AIA/New York State, and GBC (General Building Contractors) of NY.

  • As a continuing education provider for the 1999 AIA Convention in Dallas, Mr. Steinglass gave a seminar on "Negotiating Strategies in Public Construction."

  • Worked with the AIA Committee on Design in facilitating its first Collaborative Design Charette, in Cincinnati, Ohio, in April 1999, focusing on the process of collaborative design.

  • Provided a seminar for facility managers at Columbia University , in April 1999, on new approaches to negotiating and building consensus among stakeholders.

  • Worked with New York University's Wagner School of Public Service to develop and provide a course, in October 1998, in mediation and conflict resolution techniques for public-sector project managers.

  • Organized and moderated a roundtable for the NY Chapter of SMPS , in March 1998, on "Building Successful Design Alliances," and facilitated a follow-up master's seminar on "Design Team Formation : A Workshop for Principals."

Articles and publications :

  • Why Strategic Plans often fail ( to produce results ) : SMPS/NY, Feb 2007 'E' Letter.
  • Mentoring;  the key to leadership development : AIA, Oculus ( Quarterly AIA/NY publication ) , Spring 2006


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