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Mentorship. To me, it seems like the most natural, sensible, necessary idea around. After all, if you have children, you’re imparting knowledge and wisdom to them every day. If you own or work for an architecture firm, you may be doing the same for your younger colleagues.

Somewhere, somehow, for better or for worse, we’re “mentoring” every day.

In case you haven’t noticed, there is a group of my friends from the architectural community that gets together every month to ‘talk’ about architecture.

We call this conversation #ArchiTalks. It’s pretty simple, really. Every month, someone picks a topic and we all wax poetic (more or less) on the subject.

You can find a complete list of everyone participating in this month’s #ArchiTalks conversation below.

Did you miss last month’s articles? My latest contribution was “Advice for ALL Clients.”

This month, the #ArchiTalks conversation centers around: “Mentorship”

At one point in my career, I was part of the leadership of a small, relatively young architecture firm that had just hired our first intern. It was a good time because we had finally passed the point where our collective overworked selves couldn’t keep up with all the work that needed to be done. An intern would certainly be the way that we’d retain our sanity and our clients.

The problem was, we failed as managers and mentors. We did a terrible job of assigning tasks, of teaching and training, of explaining and of follow up. We did a terrible job of everything, so not only did our intern (let’s call him Bryan) not complete work, but he didn’t learn and he didn’t grow.

It may be one of the biggest failures of my career. Not only did we not help our firm, but we didn’t help Bryan and we didn’t help our profession. Lose. Lose. Lose.

I was recently invited by Darryl Warren of Crestcom International to sit in on an AEC Industry Roundtable. The discussion revolved around the “Millennial Challenge” and the “Boomer Cliff.” What I learned is that you don’t have to dive too deep into Boomer or Millennial stereotypes; you don’t have to calculate too many statistics to realize that we have a serious need for mentors in our profession.

There are lots of young people coming into our profession every year. From what I’ve witnessed going to Career Fairs, hosting AIAS Firm Crawls and speaking to Pro Practice classes, these young people are passionate about our profession, just like us. They want to change the world, just like we wanted to. They are limited, just like we were.

Most of these Interns and new Design Professionals have spent years learning about architecture and how to be an Architect, but they don’t have much experience in the business of architecture.

They need our help. We need their help.

Going back to the roundtable discussion, the “Boomer Cliff” concept is staggering. Digging into the statistics, you’ll realize that in a very short period of time we will witness drastic change in our profession. Many of the people with the experience and leadership and wisdom we rely on will retire en-masse. Without mentorship, how will we preserve these qualities?

Our profession is changing and Bryan is the future. Don’t fail Bryan the way we did.

 

Please take the time to take in the rest of the #ArchiTalks conversation:

Bob Borson – Life of An Architect (@bobborson): This is NOT Mentorship

Marica McKeel – Studio MM (@ArchitectMM): ArchiTalks: Mentorship

Mark R. LePage – EntreArchitect (@EntreArchitect): Influence

Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC): ArchiTalks: Mentorship

Collier Ward – One More Story (@BuildingContent): Mentorship

Jeremiah Russell, AIA – ROGUE Architecture (@rogue_architect): teach them the way they should go: #architalks

Eric T. Faulkner – Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome): Bad Mentor, Good Mentor

Stephen Ramos – BUILDINGS ARE COOL (@sramos_BAC): The Top 3 Benefits for Architects to Mentor and to be Mentored

Brian Paletz – The Emerging Architect (@bpaletz): I’ve got a lot to learn

Emily Grandstaff-Rice – Emily Grandstaff-Rice FAIA (@egrfaia): Gurus, Swamis, and Other Architectural Guides

Jarod Hall – di’velept (@divelept): The Lonely Mentor

Drew Paul Bell – Drew Paul Bell (@DrewPaulBell): Advice From My Mentor

Jeffrey Pelletier – Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum): Mentoring with Anecdotes vs. Creating a Culture of Trust

Samantha R. Markham – The Aspiring Architect (@TheAspiringArch): Why every Aspiring Architect needs SCARs

Nisha Kandiah – ArchiDragon (@ArchiDragon): Mentorship : mend or end ?

Keith Palma – Architect’s Trace (@cogitatedesign): Mentor5hip is…

Jim Mehaffey – Yeoman Architect (@jamesmehaffey): My Mentor

Tim Ung – Journey of an Architect (@timothy_ung): 5 Mentors that are in my life

Mark Stephens – Mark Stephens Architects (@architectmark): Mentorship

Gabriela Baierle-Atwood – Gabriela Baierle-Atwood (@gabrielabaierle): On Mentorship

Ilaria Marani – Creative Aptitude (@creaptitude): Mentorship

About Jeff Echols

Jeff Echols is the creative Storyteller for Award-Winning architecture firms and the Social Media Campaign Manager for industry professionals. He is a graduate of Ball State University with over 20 years’ experience in the marketing departments of firms ranging from three to three thousand employees.

Jeff spends countless hours studying, developing and implementing strategies for insuring marketing success for Architects and other business owners in the online arena. He documents the good, the bad and the ugly in Social Media at Architect of the Internet and speaks about Conquering Social Media in venues ranging from the Board Room to the Convention Stage.

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