The four-point push

Jan 29, 2018

Do you want to make 2018 a great year of growth and prosperity? Pay attention to, and act upon, a four-point plan to get the best out of your firm.

To prepare for a successful new year, I wanted to share four New Year’s resolutions with you. As I am responsible for the top-line growth of our firm, I have found that prioritizing the following four items has been instrumental in our continued and steady growth.

  1. Actively seek and embrace innovation. Pennoni has embraced an “all-in” approach when it comes to innovation. Today’s technology is almost impossible to keep up with, making it even more important to implement and track. We follow the trends; we implement smarter technology at every turn. We’ve hired a chief innovation officer to be devoted to this effort. We design smarter and more efficient communities by being mindful of things like digital infrastructure, climate change, sustainability, design visualization, and more. Doing what you have always done is unacceptable this coming year! Stay ahead of the curve and seek innovation. Buy and/or develop the software, hire the experts, and say “yes” to embrace all things innovative. It is the future of our industry.
  2. Recognize and recruit your thought leaders. Do you know who your thought leaders are within your company? If your answer is no, you have a new “to-do” list. Find them and recruit them! Thought leaders are vital to your firm’s ideas, creativity, and future. These are the employees who are thinking creatively in their area of expertise and they are the ones returning from events with fresh ideas and important information. Figure out who they are and arm them with the tools they need to succeed.
  3. Understand the generational diversity in your workplace. There is a difference between generations! Boomers are different than millennials. Gen Xers are different than Gen Edgers. You can continue to treat every person the way you are personally used to or you can embrace the differences in work preferences and routines. Once you start to adapt and manage their differences, your employees and business will thrive. For an industry where we will need to hire and train new talent, it will pay dividends if you understand how to inspire and motivate across all age groups.
  4. Manage clients’ evolving expectations. Just as your workforce is changing, so are your clients. They are receiving information and data in a much different way than they did even five years ago from every direction, including your competition. As an industry we must acknowledge how our deliverables need to change in both form and substance. Refer back to my first resolution: innovation and technology are changing exponentially. A two-dimensional blueprint is like delivering your plans by horse-drawn carriage. Clients want information in the easiest-to-decipher format and they want it sooner than yesterday.

I know we tend to be perfectionists. For what we do, that’s not bad. I know also that our clients hold us to a higher standard. We can’t sacrifice quality under any circumstances, but we must adapt and evolve. To quote Bob Dylan, “The times, they are a changin’!” Happy 2018!

Joseph Viscuso is Pennoni’s senior vice president and director of strategic growth. He can be reached at

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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.