1. a person who engages in the profession of architecture

2. a person professionally engaged in the design of certain large constructions other than buildings and the like

3. the deviser, maker, or creator of anything

verb (used with object)

4. to plan, organize, or structure as an architect


A mentor once said I was “cross brained." He said that I had a highly analytical (even mathematical) side but was very creative as well.  He said that that I operated simultaneously in both hemispheres comfortably rather that predominantly residing more on one side of my brain or the other.  That was helpful and clarifying.  It helped give language to some of the traffic constantly going on in my head.

It’s pretty noisy up there.

Maybe that’s why I’ve always been fascinated with architecture.  I’ve often said that if my university of choice had offered a degree in that discipline, I might have found my way there.  When we lived in Chicago, I took the famous architectural boat cruise several times and studied Frank Lloyd Wright and other great architects that hailed from there. 

I still use a heavy metal drawing pencil for everything I write.

The first sign that any of my children possessed the slightest bit of interest in that arena had me purchasing software, a drawing board, and offering to take them down for a visit to Overland Partners, where my friend Madison and some other guys I knew were architects.  None of the older kids ever really took to architecture, but I’ve still got three “littles” at home.  I am keeping the hope alive.

In terms of my own work, I guess I do get to “architect” (see verb above) on a regular basis.  We help construct teams, purpose, core values, visions, and strategic plans.  I guess that sort of scratches that itch.  Lately, I’ve been spending some time around Overland.  Their architecture offices on Jones Avenue, at the edge of San Antonio’s downtown, are some of the more invigorating I have ever experienced.  

Another friend and I were waiting to meet Madison at the coffee shop next door to their offices and were admiring their mission statement.  After arriving, he told us the beautiful story of how it was created.  Turns out the partner’s didn’t really participate in the creation of that statement.  A group of their younger associates were given the task, and when they emerged from the designated meeting room, they offered:

“Our Mission is to model how we should live and to influence the world.” 

Interestingly enough, their mission statement didn’t even mention architecture!  It was a beautiful and poignant oversight.  And it was an honest mistake.  If you have spent any time around their firm, you would know what many of us have come to believe…their mission statement may be truer to who they are than almost any I have come across.  

Modeling how you should live and influencing their world is what they are all about.  Architecture is merely the medium or the vehicle for doing so.  Before they memorialized that statement, however, they actually addressed the missing element of what they do in order to accomplish that beautiful mission statement:

“Our Mission is to model how we should live and to influence the world through the practice of architecture.

Even though they added that addendum, the point had already been made...

It really isn’t about the architecture, it's about changing lives and changing the world. 

May that be the same for our companies, our families, and any other group of people we lead.  May that be the case regardless of what we do.

For Overland, focusing on the right thing first seems to be working pretty well.  Focusing on the “why” has made them extraordinarily successful at the “what."  Over 200 design awards internationally would attest to that fact.

  • Are you clear on what you do?
  • Are you clear on why you do it?
  • Could you honestly say that why you do what you do is more celebrated, true, and focused on than what you do?
  • Are you ready to start changing that?