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Episode 083: How to Lead and Succeed with “SFA”: Success from Anywhere

Today’s episode of the AEC Leadership Today podcast is another special solo episode walking us through how to lead and succeed with what’s being called “SFA”: success from anywhere – the idea that our success both now and moving forward should not be limited to being in an office or being fully remote. We also dig in to better understand the sometimes justifiable ‘resistance’. 

How to Lead and Succeed with “SFA”: Success from Anywhere

“SFA”, success from anywhere, is the idea that our success in terms of work, both now and moving forward, is not just based on succeeding in the office or in a remote setting – it’s about thinking about and redesigning our work to succeed ‘anywhere’ and, by extension, with ‘anyone’ at ‘anytime’. Anything less than that, is likely already falling short. 

The question many leadership teams and firms are facing now is: how to make this happen in a way that’s best for us? 

In this episode, I break down what SFA is and what’s needed to make it work. 

I also dig into the ‘resistance’, because better understanding what the concerns are and why they exist is essential to moving our both our teams and our organizations forward at all levels, faster and more effectively. 

“The fact is, the very things that will make us successful in the office will make us and our teams successful from anywhere.”

— Peter C. Atherton, P.E.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Why SFA should be at least a familiar concept for engineers and architects given the fact that our practice-centered business model at its core relies on distributed talent.
  • The three elements needed SFA: having a meaningful mission and vision; clearly defining and communicating success; and establishing and maintaining team and organizational trust.
  • The five elements critical to establishing workplace trust: competence; acceptable actions and behaviors; motivations beyond self; impact; and having the right responses to the expected and intended. These are also the exact same elements we’ll want to teach, incentivize, and reward throughout our organization no matter where our talent resides. 
  • The three ‘places’ where I see resistance to SFA come from: one of innocence in terms of leaders and leadership teams not knowing how best to act in the face of so much change at a time when we are (and have been!) so busy and consumed with work; one of a lack of awareness in terms of being truly dialed in to the full scope and magnitude of all the changes happening; and one of fear
  • What’s behind the three types of fear playing a role in the resistance: fear of change; fear of loss; and fear of exposure – and the fact that some of this fear may be ‘justifiable’, at least short-term as we work to overcome them. 

“If we’re able to establish and maintain trust, clearly define and communicate what winning looks like at all levels and for all functions, and have an inspiring and unifying mission and vision, we will never need to limit our success to any single or set of logoed buildings.”

— Peter C. Atherton, P.E.

There’s certainly more to this and, like all meaningful change and team and organizational success, it does take work. 

My goal with this episode is to help develop a greater understanding so that the right choices can be made – or allowed – to increase your prospects for success in both the office and beyond. 

See Bio Below to Learn More About and Connect with Pete

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About the Host

Peter C. Atherton, P.E. is an AEC industry insider having spent more than 20 years as a successful professional civil engineer, principal, major owner, and member of the board of directors for high-achieving firms.  Pete is now the President and Founder of ActionsProve, LLC, author of Reversing Burnout. How to Immediately Engage Top Talent and Grow! A Blueprint for Professionals and Business Owners, and the creator of the I.M.P.A.C.T. process. Pete works with AEC firms and leaders to grow and advance their success through modern and new era focused strategic planning and implementation, executive coaching, leadership and management development, performance-based employee engagement, and corporate impact design.

Trace the steps to preventing and reversing burnout in you and your team.

Trace the steps to preventing and reversing burnout in you and your team.

Episode 083: How to Lead and Succeed with “SFA”: Success from Anywhere