AEC Professional Growth Fueled by Curiosity

AEC professional growth fueled curiosity
Jennifer Knox, PE, MBA, Emily Lawrence
January 4, 2024

In our last episode of AEC Groundbreaking Growth Podcast, we explored talent acquisition strategies with Aly Wade, Manager of Talent Acquisition at Stambaugh Ness. As we discussed, a hot topic of conversation in the AEC industry is the ‘missing middle’ – the 15 to 20 year professional who seems to be somewhat of a unicorn in today’s employee pool. As a potential solution, our conversation has now turned to how young emerging leaders can accelerate their growth and gain a holistic business view to broaden their skill set and drive firm growth, readying themselves to fill key middle management roles. Building a well-rounded business perspective is often fueled by curiosity and is the main topic of our next episode of AEC Groundbreaking Growth.

The Role of Curiosity in Gaining a Broad Business Perspective

Advancing from an individual contributor to a business leader can be daunting for many mid-career employees. Still, growth is exciting and rewarding when the challenge is tackled with curiosity. In the AEC industry, whether from an engineering, marketing, or financial background, advancing into leadership requires a broad understanding of the business. That’s why expressing curiosity, raising your hand, and gaining cross-functional experiences early in your career is vital.

Building Trust through Collaboration

To truly understand the business, we must be willing to spend a ‘day in the life’ of our colleagues in various business functions: Marketing, Finance, HR, etc. As young leaders are exposed to these critical functions and can collaborate with other team members, they understand the business better and build foundational relationships and trust for future business management. This collaboration serves the development purpose and can help all team members better empathize and look for ways to support one another.

How to Leverage Curiosity as an Emerging Leader in AEC

So, what does leveraging curiosity look like in practice? Ask insightful questions – dig deep to understand how processes work, why things are done the way they are, and if things can be done better. Be humble and willing to learn – raising your hand to assist with initiatives outside your ‘normal lane’ will show your interest in being a future leader, and you will learn the aspects of the business side you are most passionate about. Share your perspective – often fresh eyes can see the clearest – we each bring a unique point of view to solving a problem, and as an emerging leader, it’s your responsibility to share it and draw it out of others as well!

Tune in to Our Next Episode

Keep your curiosity alive by tuning into our next episode, where we continue exploring stories and insights from industry leaders in AEC.

In episode 11, we will feature Kevin Hebblethwaite, Director of Business Development at Stambaugh Ness. Kevin has deep AEC experience, leveraging his relationship-building and storytelling talents to drive business development success for professional services firms.

Hear how Kevin has leveraged curiosity, stepping outside the traditional BD lane, to build his holistic business view and advice for young emerging leaders looking to do the same.

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.

Jennifer Knox

Emily Lawrence 2021 square