The "Laws of Organizational Physics" - Part 1: Energy

Remember back in your high school physics or chemistry classes when you studied the Laws of Thermodynamics? As a refresher, the Laws of Thermodynamics say, in very general terms, that all things tend to disorder or chaos, unless acted upon by an outside force. While I am constantly reminded of this every time I open the door to my son’s bedroom, I am also witnessing this principle in play when we do a root cause analysis of a problem on a project.

Some Thoughts on Thankfulness

A couple of recent anecdotes...

First, a colleague recently told me about an exchange he had early in his career. His boss, who was a West Point Graduate and served in Viet Nam, had a way of putting things into perspective. After a particularly tough negotiation with an unreasonable and sometimes unprofessional vendor, he complained to his boss how difficult the process was. His boss pointed out that no one was trying to kill him, no one was shooting at him or his colleagues, and at the end of the day he got to go to his family and home.

How to Get That “Ah Ha!” Moment - Broadening Perceptions through Collaboration

Coming out of a meeting with a number of my peers, I was impressed by the various innovative strategies and approaches that many companies are taking. We are all faced with challenges, including new technologies, a changing workforce (especially in engineering and construction), and the agility with which executives are walking the fine line between short term financial goals and long term investing.

What is the "New Normal"?

Back in March of 2009, as the financial and real estate meltdown was occurring, McKinsey & Company issued an assessment where they posited, “This much is certain: when we finally enter into the post-crisis period, the business and economic context will not have returned to its pre-crisis state.” Whatever the “new normal” will be, it will not be the same.

A New Strategy: Embrace Change and Simplify

Over the past few weeks, I have come across a number of talks and articles that promote the idea of simplification in our lives. Futurist author Jack Uldrich has written books on the topic of “unlearning”. In fact, he refers to himself as the Chief Unlearning Officer of his consulting company. He quotes a philosopher who said, “To gain knowledge, learn something new every day. To gain wisdom, unlearn something new every day.”

Always Selling. Always Competing.

Every day, we are consumed by the daily tasks of our lives. For those of us engaged in the design and construction of facilities that will be used to employ people, house equipment and run businesses, our work is complex, challenging and typically, unique. Nonetheless, our daily tasks can become routine and our focus may rest on the tasks, rather than the end result those tasks are organized to deliver.

Be Prepared to Sell: Are you ready to listen?

Good ListeningI recently attended a major tradeshow in Las Vegas, which in terms of potential return on our investment in the show, was probably one of the best I have ever attended. Many tradeshows are attended by the same people, who are there to see what is new, stay abreast of current market trends and do some old fashioned, face-to-face networking.

So, what made this show different?

Corporate Culture - Cult or Cultivation?

Corporate CultureI recently read an article online on hiring people for the “right fit”. Meaning, “Did they fit the corporate culture?” The author’s point was that hiring for the right cultural fit may be the wrong thing to do – that it may promote a lack of diversity in personality types and work styles in the company that may stifle its growth.

Job Trends in Architecture, Engineering and Construction

Job Trends in Architecture, Engineering and ConstructionA recent (September 16, 2013) edition of Engineering News Record (ENR) contained three articles that were fascinatingly related. First, an economics piece stating that the jobless rate in the construction industry has “leveled off” at 9.1%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Keeping Safe at Home - Fire Prevention Week

Fire Prevention WeekSafety is such a critical element to success in business. There is a specific discipline to implementing safe practices - preparation, orderliness, organization, etc., so that an organization that prioritizes safety is bound to be a better run organization. 


The Austin Company

The Austin Company offers a comprehensive portfolio of in-house services, including planning, architectural design, engineering, design-build, construction management, and construction, as well as site location and operations improvement consulting, for commercial and industrial companies throughout North America, Europe and Asia. 

Founded in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1878, we continue to uphold our founder's Core Values and believe in providing, "Honest work, well done." Our facility solutions are developed and implemented to improve your operations and make them more efficient - the results you receive are more than just shade and shelter for your business.

In addition to services for the built environment, Austin offers value-added strategic planning services, such as site location, transportation and distribution consulting, and facility and process audits. Our Results, not Excuses® approach provides you with expertise and innovative solutions for your facility challenges.

Check out our blog for Austin's insights on everything from site location to leadership in the design, engineering and construction industry.   

The Austin Company headquarters remain in Cleveland, with additional offices in Irvine, California; Atlanta, Georgia; Kalamazoo, Michigan; and St. Louis, Missouri; in addition to Mexico City and Leon, Mexico. Austin became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kajima USA Group in 2005 and is a proud member of the Kajima family of companies. Kajima Corporation is a leading global engineering and construction contractor. 

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