Thursday, January 26, 2006

Common Traits of great ARCHITECTS.

In a previous post, titled "Architect vs Builders"-- I wrote extensively about the differences between someone who is a visionary, -- as well as a person who can execute.

What makes a GREAT architect? (see link above for clarity, on defintion of "architect")

There are certainly traits of great leaders, leaders who create, conceptualize - and inspire others to follow them. Are there "commonalities" in these characteristics?

Every person has a different barometer by whch they measure "greatness" - but I'd like to share with you, what I think the common traits are based on what I've experienced, and from my perception.

* Putting their EGO, and personal needs, a distant second in their lives for a short period of time.

This is often underlooked, but most great leaders early on in their process, have a vision -- and in order to begin to build on it often place their immediate needs, EGO, and relationships -- in second place -- in order to to further their ultimate goal. They have a goal, and in order to fulfill it, they make sacrifices that most of us cannot understand nor fathom, -- and most will not be placed in a scenario to fully comprehend it until they are well beyond it, and can look back and go, "whew...I was crazy, I don't know if I'd do that again......"

* Not Afraid to Fail

Not afraid, and "wanting to" fail are different. But, ask any visionary early on....90-99% of the people just DONT GET YOU. I love the story of how Bill Gates pitched his concept and idea to a company early on, and the EXEC said to him, "what are you crazy, there will never be a day when workers will have computers on their desks..."
As a sales guy, I can only imagine what he was thinking on his walk out the door, another failed appointment --- yet he stayed at his task -- failed - yet he believed. Case closed.

* Creating a Personality - and Sticking to it

This is as important as the product itself, getting BUY IN, and acceptance from your early supporters. This is not done through the gadget, but the SELLING of your passion and personality -- everybody has to sell at some point -- these special people SELL MORE, and have a personality they have developed to convince others that not only are they the best, but their idea is to -- and, they stick to it.

Utterly Convincing in their Dedication and Comittment

This should go under - GET ON THE BUS, or get off. I remember a interview I had where a boss jumpred on the desk, (he was wearing a suit) -- and stomped onit 3 feet above me, I thought it would collapse. He flung his arms wildly -- and made his case. I said, " if this cat was willing to do that - stand on a rickey desk, make a looney bin out of himself, yelling at me in the interview, well that was A GUY I COULD WORK FOR, and be inspired by"--- ( I won't tell you who it is until he gives me permisssion) But, that story basically was a lesson to me in how to inspire my group, and convince a staff that the only way to success was dedication and commitment. He taught me this, and how to COMMUNICATE it. This is critical.


This is simple, yet hard--- and seperates many from the pack. Telling everyone within earshot early on, "I cannot do this...." And, making it FUN for others to pick up and run with the weakness..... AND MAKE IT A STRENGTH.

Being exceptional at "Watering their Plants"

I use this phrase often. It means that a architect "gives love to key people and resources" making them feels as they are critically important. (even if they are not) But making EVERYONE feel as though they are "part of the process" -- inspires action and implementation of the vision. Early on -- the architect needs to execute, yet their are NO processes in place....the WATERING of the plants, insures that measures get taken, and tasks get completed.


Show me a architect without a healthy dose of paranoia, and I'll show you a pretty good "builder" -- but not a TOP (high echelon) architect.

Willingness To Gamble at LEAST ONCE, Jeopardizing it all

On the way up, usually early on, taking a HUGE leap of faith...(gamble) on something, trusting, a client, a relationship, a investor -- but something that they look back on as the "big break that coulda gone either way..." This usually is called failure if they make a bad call, but I call this partially BLUFFING your way to the top -- and staking out ground, putting in the flag....and hoping you win. The flip side of winning is utter disaster, and decimation of the new idea -- and usually the architect understands the consequences...and is willing to take them to succeed.
If this does not happen (gambling, at least once early in the process) we are probably NOT talking about a architect.

Knowing When to Walk away

Probably the most overlooked, but critical. Being focused enough to move on. It's a special trait - and requires a whole different set of skills than most people possess.

There are certainly more, but this encompasses pretty well the framework of a GREAT architect in my world....any more suggestions or addtions feel free to contribute.


Blogger Jarrod said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5:29 PM  
Anonymous Malik Gaston said...

Do not be afraid to fail. To fail is to be human. :) Just remember that failing is part of learning. Don’t let it get in the way. Instead, think about it as your motivation so that you can achieve your goal and succeed in the world of architecture.

9:55 AM  

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