Market-based, or something in between

Nov 16, 2010

John Drinkard thinks Mark Zweig, ZweigWhite CEO, had CJMW Architecture in mind when he recently made the case for organizing firms by market sectors. CJMW, a Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based 97-person architecture, engineering, interior design, and planning services firm, overhauled its operational structure earlier this year, moving from an entrepreneurial organization structure to a market-based structure. CJMW had operated the “old way” since 1906. “The recession’s impact on the design/construction environment has had the net effect of reducing project budgets and lowering architectural fee structures,” says Drinkard, CJMW’s president. “This was evidenced in our declining fee revenue and dictated the fact that CJMW Architecture needed to respond in a manner that promoted a more efficient organization. Our charge was to define that organizational structure that would move us forward to profitability in 2010 without sacrificing design integrity.” So, CJMW embarked on the process of redefining itself (see sidebar on the components of that process) that resulted in an organization by market sector. The firm serves the corporate, education, museum, health care, mixed use, and senior living sectors. So far, results are promising. “It was encouraging to read Mark Zweig’s recent editorial about firm organization around market sectors as it affirmed the decision that our firm had made,” he says. “Change such as this cannot happen overnight, but the effort was worth it and the results appear positive.” Zweig believes market sector organization is the best solution for A/E/P and environmental firms, making that case again during the The Zweig Letter 2010 Hot Firm Conference in Washington D.C. in late October. ZweigWhite defines market sectors as a group or group of clients with similar needs, such as higher education clients, health care clients, and hospitality clients, for example. A market-based organization will likely have groups dedicated to each sector— health care group, hospitality group, etc. The needs of each group should dictate where a firm operates geographically and what disciplines need representation within the group. To read the full story, subscribe to The Zweig Letter here

About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.