Are you the type of person who loses sleep over the lone poor grade your AEC firm received on a client perception survey? Are you mortified when your firm’s proposal to the state DOT has the name of another client on one of the footers? Do you feel compelled to return a client call about a simple request in a matter of minutes as opposed to days or weeks? Do you find yourself scrubbing out the coffee stain on the rug in front of the reception desk (assuming you are even in an office these days) before it has time to set?

If you answered “yes” to those questions, then we’ve got just what the doctor ordered. If more industry professionals instilled a detail-oriented mindset into their corporate culture and AEC leadership development plans, we’d see more examples of excellence in all facets of our businesses. Your clients would experience far better service, and your employees would be more engaged

That’s not to suggest that becoming a carpet cleaner is the highest and best use of your time — in fact, chances are, you probably need to get out of the weeds and delegate more. Nevertheless, these five little things are worth sweating over:

  • Slow responses
  • Typos
  • Missed information
  • Website errors
  • Lonely first days for new hires

Addressing these five small missteps can improve not just your own personal performance — but that of your architecture, engineering, or environmental consulting firm. 

Slow Responses

How many of you have the discipline to quickly respond to a request from someone inside or outside your AEC firm? We don’t like it when we have to call our attorney three times to get a simple document finalized or ask an employee five times to return a client’s call. It’s a huge time-waster and incredibly frustrating. Those who depend on you or want to reach you don’t like it any better when you take two weeks to respond when they bring an important issue to your attention.

What’s in it for you: If you incorporate responsiveness into your firm’s core culture and AEC leadership development plan, your clients will simply be blown away — and you’ll leave your competition in the dust.


Whether it’s a proposal, report, or presentation, make sure the folks in your firm get in the habit of proofreading documents before they go out the door. 

This is especially true when it comes to boilerplate copy. Mistakes are often buried in boilerplate because they usually need to be slightly altered in between versions. Typically, a client name needs to be changed or a sentence modified to fit a specific situation, but these minor edits get missed. An out-of-context paragraph here, a wrong client name there — it all adds up to: “We don’t care.”

What’s in it for you: By taking the time to review documents before you send them, your firm will be seen as reliable, professional, and conscientious. There is a major need to set the standard in leadership in order for leaders to serve as examples and promote quality and accurate materials, no matter what they are. When you prioritize accuracy and consistency in all areas of your work for AE clients, you become the low-risk choice.

Missed Information

It’s astonishing how few firms take advantage of the fantastic, user-friendly, off-the-shelf CRM solutions out there. Client intel is gold. Load in contact information and anecdotes, track your leads and proposals and update new information. Assign a dedicated resource to review the status of leads and proposals with project managers at least once a month.

What’s in it for you: Capturing more information results in more informed interactions with clients and potential clients who see that you understand and care about their needs. It also fosters more grounded assessments and sound decisions about which opportunities to pursue and which to bypass.

Website Errors

You don’t have to search far and wide to find glaring errors or typos on websites. Don’t make it easy for your competition by stumbling here. Your website is one of your AEC firm’s most powerful marketing tools and often the first interaction a prospective client will have with your company. Making small website mistakes will make prospective clients wonder if you’d make even bigger blunders on their projects.

What’s in it for you: You make a good first impression with clients and potential recruits, and you don’t chip away at your own staff’s pride in your firm. Companies that are attentive to the small details signal to clients that they will be vigilant about the big picture as well. 

Lonely First Days for New Hires

Given how hard it is to find and keep good people, the last thing you want to do is send lousy signals on an employee’s first day of work. Ensure that new hires have consistent contact with their supervisors right out of the gate. Lunch on the first day with a senior manager and direct supervisor should be a given. If your new hire is working remotely or in a satellite office, it’s all the more important to make sure the welcome wagon is ready and waiting.

What’s in it for you: Giving new hires warm welcomes from day one will validate their decisions to join your firm and make them feel like their future contributions will be appreciated and rewarded.

Morrissey Goodale Is Here to Lead You Through Management & Leadership Development Changes to Improve Your Firm!

Big rewards come to AEC firms that sweat the small stuff. The experts at Morrissey Goodale are here to assist your firm in making real changes — both big and small — and overcoming any challenges you may be confronting.

With our exclusive focus on the AE and environmental industry, Morrissey Goodale’s team of expert consultants has helped hundreds of clients transform and grow their businesses into high-level performers through strategic business planning, mergers and acquisition advisory, marketing and business development, executive search and human resources, and business valuation and financial advisory services.

In addition, Morrissey Goodale’s AEC industry experts can improve the skills of your current executives and rising stars with our leadership development consulting services that include one-on-one executive coaching, customized leadership development programs, and the AE Leadership Academy, an on-site professional development program that prepares entire teams of next-generation leaders. 

We can provide you with leadership development plan examples that will deliver better business results for your architecture, engineering, or environmental consulting firm. Are you ready to set your firm on a path to improvement? Contact us today to find out how Morrissey Goodale can help your firm through management & leadership development changes.

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