The AEC Leadership Evolution: Forward-Thinking Strategies for Tomorrow’s Leaders

AEC leadership evolution forward thinking strategies tomorrows leaders
Emily Lawrence, Jennifer Knox, PE, MBA
January 31, 2024

Our latest episode of AEC Groundbreaking Growth talks about Leadership Evolution in the architecture, engineering, and construction industry (AEC). Special guest Katie Goodman, VP of Education and Learning at ACEC National, joins us to shed light on the transformative strategies shaping tomorrow’s leaders within the ever-evolving AEC industry leadership landscape.

Over Katie’s tenure at ACEC National, she has been focused on creating a pipeline of education to support career-long learning. Katie introduces us to the comprehensive leadership curriculum at ACEC National, which is designed to support professionals at various career stages. This approach is vital as the industry faces a talent gap, with a significant portion of the workforce nearing retirement. By offering tailored development programs, ACEC National prepares a new generation of leaders to fill these gaps effectively.

Adapting Leadership in a Changing World

The AEC industry, like many others, is undergoing significant changes. Rapid technological advancements, evolving client expectations, and a more diverse workforce require a new approach to leadership. Katie emphasizes this, stating, “In general, our firms are investing more in leadership development and the advancement of careers than ever before.” This shift marks a crucial evolution from traditional leadership styles to more adaptive, people-focused strategies.

From Business Focus to People-Centric Leadership

Our discussion with Katie highlighted the critical role of firm culture in driving business success. She illustrates how focusing on people skills enhances client relationships and business outcomes. This approach aligns with recent industry reports showing firms with solid cultures report higher employee engagement and client satisfaction.

Historically, AEC leadership programs heavily emphasized technical skills and business development. However, Katie highlights a pivotal shift towards nurturing diverse teams and fostering a positive firm culture. “We’re spending a lot more time talking about diverse teams and firm culture…” she explains. This evolution reflects broader industry trends, where successful firms recognize the value of inclusive and people-centric leadership.

The Impact of Peer Networks on Leadership Growth

The conversation then turns to the importance of peer networks. “These networks provide not only support but also a platform for shared learning experiences,” Katie remarks. Such networks are essential in the AEC industry, where collaboration and knowledge-sharing often drive innovation and problem-solving.

Katie advises young leaders to engage with local chapters of professional organizations and utilize resources like Harvard Business Review. This guidance is particularly pertinent as the AEC industry becomes increasingly globalized and interconnected, necessitating a broader perspective and continuous learning mindset.

Tune in to Our Next Episode

Our conversation with Katie Goodman reinforces the need for adaptive, inclusive, and continuous learning in leadership within the AEC industry. Her insights offer a roadmap for aspiring leaders in this new era.

Stay tuned to AEC Groundbreaking Growth for more insights into the AEC Leadership Evolution as we continue to empower and inspire the next generation of industry leaders.

Join the Conversation

We’re excited to hear your feedback and suggestions for future topics. Connect with us on social media, and please continue to send us your thoughts on the issues you’d like us to explore in upcoming episodes.

Thank you for being part of our journey towards groundbreaking growth in the AEC industry. Subscribe now, and stay engaged with us as we uncover fresh perspectives on leadership, culture, and success.

Emily Lawrence 2021 square

Jennifer Knox