Since working at a large Architectural and Engineering firm I made some great connections and friends who are young, innovative, and eager designers with more talent in their little pinky than most people I’ve ever met.  I have spent time talking with them and hearing their goals for their career and where they see themselves in 10, 20, even 30 years. 

I am struck by their desire to be well-rounded full business leaders.  Not just excellent designers, but excellent in the building of their business.  There is an interesting transition in young professionals who understand the power and importance of marketing and business development.  Even as they have pursued their firms for employment, they have learned and understood the power of relationship and personal branding. This understanding lends itself to their current positions and futures in their respective firms. 

I had a phone conversation the other day with a very bright and talented Engineer-in-Training who is passionate about his position and the work he produces.  We were discussing his frustrations over the process of getting things designed right in the first place and working together with different disciplines.  As we talked about learning marketing and business development he mentioned the need for a designer to be versatile and well versed in all aspects of design and business.  “It’s the only way to set yourself apart and position yourself as a true asset to your firm,” he told me. 

It’s important to train the next generation of business leaders in the power of business, and teach them how to market themselves and their firms.  Marketers, communications people, and business developers are an asset to your firm and can be a resource to strengthening a firm’s base.  It’s necessary to strengthen the base when you build anything and use the resources you have at hand. The same is true in building business.  Are you using what you already have in house to get the most out of the talent you hired?  There is more to a person’s talents and abilities than the role you initially hired them for.  Are you sitting on a well spring of untapped opportunity in the people under your roof?  It may be time to sit back and take a look around at what you may be overlooking in your team.  

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