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Practice : Fall 2008
ere is no escaping what James P. Cramer, Editor of DesignIntelligence and Co-Chair of the Design Futures Council has lain on the table for us all to grasp and act on: "collaboration will de ne the new professional." but cooperatively for the overall good of the rm." ---Clark Davis, " e Signi cance of Culture and Collaboration" Learning to consider rm pro t- ability as a collective versus individual e ort was convincingly put forth by Bill McCarthy when speaking as directing partner in charge of Ropes & Gray's Associ- ates Training program. " e organization must believe that the service it renders to its clients is made better by reason of the collaborative e ort of a number of persons." He then asked the audience, "How can a law rm encourage its professionals to work together without rivalry or disagree- ment? It must rst embrace collaboration as a core value. It must state publicly that e ective collaboration is one of its core objectives... . When recruiting out of law school, you look for personality qualities that suggest that the person can subordinate ego to the team, and for successful team experience." The Critical Importance of a Flat Organization " ...open dialogue and communica- tions as well as face-to-face encounters must span all levels of the organization, and are greatly facilitated by a at rather than a hierarchical organization." ---Gordy Mills, "Common Aims, Common Knowledge: Best Practices in Firm Collaboration" As Vice-President and Principal at Odeh Engineers, Inc. David Odeh is responsible for a wide range of structural design and analysis projects, and oversees many major projects executed by the rm. Over the last year, he has helped manage the rm's transition to BIM technology for most of its design work. As he framed his comments about the culture of collaboration, he obser ved, "the way that leaders behave de nitely lters down to everyone on a tea m." He then went on: "Many times you interact with more junior sta in a company and you note their excellent abilities to listen and cooperate. ey are willing to take risks by asking questions and showing a penchant to be mentored, as well as speak up and o er their own opinions. Later on you might meet senior manage- ment or even the principal and notice that they are acting in the same way. You can't help but realize, so that's where the junior person gets it from. He's learned it from observing his boss and it has become an infectious way of relating to others. While I might not know if this way of working has ever been formally taught, it is infused into the culture of that rm." Imitating and Emulating the Behavior of Others Architect and educator Carol Burns showed her meaningful ties to studio teaching when she o ered the audience an interesting twist to leaders modeling behavior to junior sta , by drawing a connection between collaboration and an early childhood development concept known as "parallel play." is perfectly normal and healthy PRACTICE ] EFFECTIVE COLLABORATION left to right: Student Center, Bennington College VT, Taylor and Burns ; BAC Student Sarah Howard McHugh; Bill McCarthy, Ropes & Gray retired PRACTICE 32