Achieving Higher Performance through Collaborative Engagement

Operating a high-performing architecture and design firm leverages the best collaboration in every team member to achieve optimal results. We may have individual talents or inspiration that arises from solo work; however, building anything great- projects, companies, or communities- is a collaborative effort. The unexpected events of 2020 have given us opportunities to explore new tools for collaboration, even as these events have tested and challenged our established systems and methods in the process. Fortunately, LS3P recently revisited our values and vision in developing the strategic plan that will guide us through 2025; with our new vision statement, we continue to reaffirm our purpose and our process.

In our commitment to the Southeast, we create architecture that enriches community through a culture of design excellence, expertise, innovation, and collaborative engagement.

What does collaborative engagement look like in a firm with deep community roots and a culture of cross-office supportive relationships? Our approach fuels both practice and business as we work together towards innovation, communication, and excellence in all endeavors.

Collaborative Engagement in Practice

Office Leadership: in each of our eight offices, Office Leaders and Operations & Finance Managers set the tone for enthusiastic collaboration among team members, between offices, and with our highly respected community and consultant partners. These individuals provide both inspiration and practical support in their leadership of these efforts.

Practice Areas: Our practice area experts are interconnected across the firm so that our best current knowledge can be shared across teams and across offices, for the benefit of our clients. Practice Leaders in K-12 education, healthcare higher education, and workplace support design, research, and business development efforts in these areas firmwide.

Market Sectors: Likewise, our market sector experts collaborate across offices to deliver world-class results to our clients working in aviation and transportation, civic, faith, hospitality, industrial and manufacturing, living, military and government, mixed use, recreation, retail, and senior living. Our team members regularly support each other on projects with multifaceted programs, such as cross-pollination between healthcare and hospitality teams designing spaces for senior living or other residential care.

Business Development: Our BD teams do the invaluable work of building and maintaining relationships, and seeking opportunities for deeper engagement with our communities, our clients, and our industry partners.

Marketing: LS3P’s firmwide marketing team collaborates on proposals and interviews showcasing the experience of the entire firm rather than focusing on one office. This structure also allows the group to focus on public relations, internal communications, and proactive marketing efforts. Our Practice Leaders and Project Managers are very much involved in the marketing process, and our firmwide Design Leaders often participate in the interview stage to bring an added layer of creativity and vision to the presentation.

Knowledge Teams: LS3P’s internal Knowledge Teams unite interoffice, multidisciplinary teams and lead the firm in initiatives for innovation (Ignite), risk management (Advance), interiors (Image), sustainable high-performance strategies (Integrate), and design (Alchemy).

Collaborative Engagement in Business

Human Resources: Our HR team is dedicated to empowering and educating each team member by sharing knowledge, expertise, and lessons learned across the firm. LS3P Academy works with practice and business team members to provide live trainings and recorded reference tools, highlighting the importance of each role in supporting collaboration across the firm, from summer student interns to CEO.

Knowledge Management: Managing the flow of information for a large architecture firm is a complex task. To help us harness data as a decision-making tool, our data managers’ efforts unite individuals from all offices and sectors around this common goal.

Communications: Information becomes useful when it is communicated to, and received by, those who need it. Our Communications team strives to distill and disseminate real-time information including news, data, celebrations, and action items to keep every team member informed and engaged.

Finance: LS3P’s finance team (Insight) depends upon finely calibrated “rhythms of collaboration” as they navigate complex processes that require constant, consistent communication weekly, monthly, and over long periods of time. Our Insight team collaborates across disciplines to keep information up to date for an accurate picture of current status and long-range financial projections.

Legal: Our in-house counsel and contract coordinators are key to navigating the contract process with our project managers and teams, clients, and consultants on behalf of the firm. This detailed communication and collaboration is critical for smooth project workflows as well as internal knowledge management across teams.

Technology: LS3P’s Technology team makes much of our collaborative engagement possible. When we transitioned quickly to Work-From-Home (WFH) status in March to accommodate “safer at home” mandates, is was our investment in both expertise and infrastructure that allowed us to remain fully operational- and fully connected- as we continued to serve our clients from 345 work-from-home locations instead of our 8 offices. In just about any work environment, we are able to collaborate easily and efficiently, even across multiple generations of tech adopters, facilitated by our technology.

Hybrid Work Flows: We have the best technology available to support our business continuity and perform our work.  We need to find the proper balance in use of technology solutions combined with in-person and virtual collaboration to attain high performance in the engagement, design, and production of our projects.  We are just beginning to learn how to adapt our design and production workflows for WFH/R2O hybrid operations.  Our goal is to look forward for new ways and guidance, not back.  In some cases in the firm we are seeing improved performance from mobile work solutions.  Together, collaboratively, we are moving LS3P beyond good to great, to BEST.

As in any large firm, the success of our work depends upon a complex network of practice and business teams working both independently and collaboratively. Our interconnectedness aims to continuously break down silos to improve outcomes , relying upon our collegial culture to make collaboration rewarding and enjoyable. Even in- perhaps especially in- these strange times, we remain rooted in our values of excellence, integrity, empowerment, collaboration, balance, stewardship, and caring. These values support the vision which propels us forward; each part of this vision is central to our identity as a firm, and working collaboratively with our colleagues, our partners, and our communities, we have every reason to be optimistic about a bright future.

About George

George Temple serves as LS3P’s President and Chief Operations Officer. With a unique background in architecture and technology as well as military service, George brings significant expertise in innovative problem-solving to the firm’s eight offices and over 340 employees. With the mantra “Business supports Practice,” George oversees LS3P’s operations and finance, leading a multidisciplinary team of CPAs and accountants, technology professionals, Building Information Modeling (BIM) administrators, human resource professionals, an in-house counsel, and eight Operations and Finance Managers. He also serves on LS3P’s Board of Directors as part of the Executive Committee.

An honors graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, George served as a regular officer and architect in the Air Force for seven years after graduation. Completing programs at the Air Force Institute of Technology, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and the Defense Intelligence College, George’s integrated design-build process for physical and electronic security was recognized as a best practices program by the Air Force Inspector General.  In his current role, George is inspired by technology research, discovery, design, and application of creative solutions to improve efficiency and service delivery. He is also actively engaged in community and professional organizations including Goodwill Industries and the AIA.