EXCELLENCE is a beginning point
INTEGRITY is at the core of our decision making and actions
EMPOWERMENT with accountability makes better decisions
COLLABORATION leverages the best in everyone
BALANCE gives us fuel to do our best
STEWARDSHIP ensures a future
CARING for each other is what holds us together

As we move through the world in our physical bodies, we experience balance every time we play a sport, hold a yoga pose, or just get dressed to go to work.  Most of the time, we’re blissfully unaware of the constant calibrations required to hold a cup of coffee without spilling it or walk up a staircase while chatting with a coworker. Our ability to balance comes from a healthy body, particularly a strong core. We may take this ability for granted when it’s working, and become acutely aware of it when something is out of alignment.

Balance, of course, is not just physical- it applies to our lifestyles, our work, our relationships, and our organizations. Just as core strength is the key to balancing in the body, the core strength of each of these larger systems- embodied in the values that anchor us- is critical to helping us manage changes, surprises, and challenges. When we are guided by core values, we are stronger, healthier, and more resilient. We talk often about work/life balance, which is essential to our wellness and happiness. Beyond that concept, what does balance look like in our work? How does it support an individual, a team, or an organization in achieving shared goals?

Balance in Our Perspectives

Our work can be viewed through the lenses of practice, business, and relationships. Practice encompasses everything that goes into the design, from visioning to research to construction documents. Business considerations include staffing, productivity, performance, and profitability. Relationships include our clients, our consultants, our colleagues, and the communities our work impacts.

While we all realize that each of these components is a vital part of our collective work, it is easy to become laser-focused on our individual roles, particularly in the heat of deadlines. We must each focus on the task at hand while resisting the tendency to be one-directional in our efforts, remembering that it is the balance among these priorities that leads us to success.

Balance in Our Teams

A successful project is made up of many team members, each contributing the best of their talents and abilities. It’s “strength in numbers,” but more importantly, it’s having the right people on the right projects, and having the right balance of diverse skills and multiple levels of experience. Each of us brings a unique set of abilities and when we are partnered with those who complement our skills, we become a more successful team. Acknowledging our strengths and limitations helps us to develop a better work/life balance, and allows all team members to thrive and contribute to the firm’s as well as their personal success.

How can we best harness the power of a balanced team? We can ask others for ideas, opinions, and assistance when we need to get the wheels turning, or when we are tasked with something that is out of our comfort zone. Collaboration with others blends multiple viewpoints on how to achieve a unified goal, giving our projects the best chance of achieving design excellence as we filter through these ideas. A balanced team helps to avoid wheel-spinning so everyone can use their time effectively, raising the level of performance for the project.

Balance in Our Firm

Balance at the firmwide scale is equally important to success. We can think in terms of “resource allocation” as we strive for good stewardship of our time, energy, and talent across multiple offices, practice areas, and states. When we balance the talent and abilities of everyone in the firm, we are more likely to achieve higher performing projects, more consistent design excellence, better engagement for all team members, and project profitability which yields benefits for all. With balance, staff members are appropriately utilized but not overburdened; level staffing utilization leads to a better work/life balance. Combined, these benefits help to preserve the health and wellness of our firm and alleviate both “burnout” and “boredout” for the wellbeing of the members of our team.

Balance in Our New Ways of Working

Times of change call for a renewed focus on balance, and on the core values that enable us to be resilient. Balance requires constant adjustments as inputs change and as new and different external factors are introduced. This is true in our day-to-day lives, but is especially evident in times of rapid evolution. In the face of new and unique challenges, and often in the midst of adversity, leaders continually weigh a variety of macro-to micro- level inputs as they develop both real-time and long- term guidance for our firm.  Likewise, all team members must balance a multitude of factors from a variety of distances and directions in our everyday problem solving. To make the best, balanced decisions requires a solid foundation and a strong core, especially when there are multiple factors acting at once. It takes strength and focus to withstand the tendency to head in the direction of a dominant influence (or the loudest voice). We must consider all contributing factors in charting a path forward, but using our core values as touchstones, we will be able to navigate times of change with grace, resilience, and yes- balance.

About Lizzie

Associate Principal Lizzie Daniel brings over two decades of design experience in the Myrtle Beach area. With a Bachelor of Arts in Architectural Studies from the University of Pittsburgh, her expertise includes design, planning, and zoning requirements, particularly relating to oceanfront and second-row mixed-use developments.

Lizzie serves as Operations and Finance Manager in LS3P’s Myrtle Beach office. She has an extensive portfolio of work at all scales from programming through bidding and negotiations, with a focus in planning for high-rise and mixed-use oceanfront projects. Her work includes significant experience in the hospitality, commercial, and retail markets.