Stop looking in the rearview mirror

Apr 10, 2017

Too many owners/managers/leaders in AEC firms are obsessed with looking in their rearview mirrors when instead, they should be looking far down the road. Doing that – as I was taught at Freddie Spencer’s Superbike School in Las Vegas years ago – will cause you to crash! You’re moving fast. Look where you want to go and you will soon be there. Look down – or look in your rearview mirror – and bad things will happen.

When I say “rearview mirror,” what do I mean? I mean this:

  • Stop being obsessed with past financial performance. You all spend half of your board meetings looking at what happened versus what is going to happen. Big mistake. Big waste of time, too. Focus on the forecast and projections and what you need to make them happen. Head off problems that are looming ahead. Look out versus back!
  • Stop worrying so much about your competition. Who cares what meetings they were seen at or whether or not they are getting a new office or different company cars – or pay their people differently from you. Look at how YOU want to do things versus how they do them or you’ll always be a step behind them. They lead and you follow. It should be the other way around.
  • Stop having stupid personality conflicts. Get over your past slights and offenses and move on. You cannot run a business if you cannot get along with your other partners and key people. Sometimes that takes a lot of forgiveness and even a little forgetting or you won’t have the mental capacity and energy to deal with what you need to be doing and will instead be dwelling on the past.
  • Stop talking about what the firm used to be or was at one time. You cannot go back to yesterday no matter how badly you might want to. New day. New world. Things aren’t the same. Be a better company for TODAY instead of a warmed up recreation of what you once were. This is important!

Look up – and out to the future. You will find it’s not only more productive – it’s more fun! And everyone will even like you more!

Mark Zweig is Zweig Group’s chairman and founder. Contact him at

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.