Architecture of the People for the People: Part 3/12 of the 12 P’s–– A Guideline of Design for Architects and Other People Who Want to Save the World and Design Like an Architect #ilmaBlog #ArchitecturePosted: September 14, 2019
A 12 part series on the 12 P’s Doctrine: A Guideline of Design for Architects & Other People Who Want to Save the World and Design Like an Architect; developed by Frank Cunha III, AIA, NCARB, MBA.
Architecture of the People for the People
Culture of Stakeholders: When project stakeholders do not share a common culture, project management must adapt its organizations and work processes to cope with cultural differences.
The following are three major aspects of cultural difference that can affect a project:
- Decision making
Communication is perhaps the most visible manifestation of culture. Architects, owner representatives, project managers, and contractors often confront cultural differences in communication in language, context, and candor. Language is clearly the greatest barrier to communication. When project stakeholders do not share the same language, communication slows down and is often filtered to share only information that is deemed critical.
The barrier to communication can influence project execution where quick and accurate exchange of ideas and information is critical. The interpretation of information reflects the extent that context and candor influence cultural expressions of ideas and understanding of information. In some cultures, an affirmative answer to a question does not always mean yes. The cultural influence can create confusion on a project where project stakeholders represent more than one culture.
Some tips for effective communication
- An intention for connection.
- Listen more than you speak.
- Understand the other person first.
- Understand needs, wishes and values.
- Begin with empathy.
- Take responsibility for your feelings.
- Make requests that are practical, specific and positive.
- Use accurate, neutral descriptions.
- Be willing to hear “No”.
- Ways we communicate other than words.
Without the people on a project a great building will never be built. We need to empathize with all the workers and consultants that help make a project a reality and see things from their perspective and find common ground to develop solutions that work for the overall good of the project.
If you are dealing with toxic individuals consider the following advice:
- Set limits. Take it from me, toxic people do not do well with boundaries.
- Pick your battles wisely. It’s tricky to balance being cordial with not wanting to normalize someone’s emotionally abusive behavior.
- Recognize and distance yourself from their behavior.
- Focus on the positive.
- Utilize your support system.
More advice on tackling problematic individuals is available by clicking here.
The skills which are needed to take on task-focused team roles include:
- Organizing and Planning Skills. Being organized is essential to getting tasks done.
- Communication Skills.
- Persuasion and Influencing Skills.
- Feedback Skills.
- Skills in Chairing Meetings.
- Conflict resolution.
Who is Going to Use the Architecture You Create?
Finally, and most importantly it is important to consider the occupants who will be using the space. As most of the work I do is in the public realm, I always consider how best to create spaces that are accessible and inclusive to everyone. It is important to always focus on the people who will be using the spaces that you design and create.
Hopefully, the analysis provided in this post will help you start to think about ways that working with others can help you build a strong team to help you accomplish your project goals. Without people, architecture cannot be designed or constructed on a large scale.
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