Think like an architect, execute like a builder

Hunt For Greatness Milton Kamwendo BUILDING greatness — be it in business, personal life or any other endeavour — requires a strategic vision and meticulous execution. The master key is thinking like an architect and executing like a builder. Architects envision and design grand structures, while builders bring these visions to life through hard work […]

Think like an architect, execute like a builder

Hunt For Greatness
Milton Kamwendo

BUILDING greatness — be it in business, personal life or any other endeavour — requires a strategic vision and meticulous execution.

The master key is thinking like an architect and executing like a builder.

Architects envision and design grand structures, while builders bring these visions to life through hard work and with precision.

Integrate these two mindsets, and create great things that stand the test of time.

Vision of an architect

  1. Strategic planning and vision: Architects begin with a vision; a blueprint.

They meticulously plan every detail, considering both the immediate needs and long-term sustainability of the structure.

Similarly, to build greatness, you must start with a clear and strategic vision.

This involves setting long-term goals, understanding the broader context, and foreseeing potential challenges and opportunities.

In business, this means developing a comprehensive business plan that outlines the company’s mission, vision, values and strategic objectives.

It requires market research, competitive analysis and a deep understanding of customer needs and journeys.

  1. Creativity and innovation: Architects are not confined by the existing structures.

They push the boundaries of creativity and innovation.

They embrace constraints as stimulants of creativity.

To think like an architect, embrace innovative thinking. Be open to new ideas and approaches.

Innovation drives progress and sets apart great achievements from mediocre ones.

Apple Incorporated transformed the technology industry by thinking differently. Mr Steve Jobs was a visionary.

He consistently pushed for innovative products like the iPhone and iPad. He thought about the intersection of technology and art.

He pushed boundaries to create products with simple, elegant and natural ease of use.

  1. Attention to detail: Great architects pay attention to minute details.

This ensures that every aspect of their design is flawless. Everything is intentional.

Every element of the plan is well thought out, and aligns with the overall vision.

In personal development, this means setting detailed and specific goals, rather than vague wishes and suggestions. Instead of aiming to “get fit”, an architect-minded individual would set specific targets like “exercise for 30 minutes, three times a week”.

Execute like a builder

  1. Hard work and discipline: Builders change blueprints into reality through hard work and discipline.

They follow a systematic process, ensuring that each step is completed before moving on to the next. Executing greatness requires the same relentless effort.

It calls for a disciplined approach to achieve the envisioned goals.

Entrepreneurs like Mr Elon Musk, Mr Aliko Dangote or Mr Strive Masiyiwa exemplify this mindset.

Mr Musk’s success with SpaceX, Starlink or Tesla is a result of his unwavering work ethic and disciplined execution of his ambitious vision.

He has grand dreams, and this matches with the radical focused execution of a builder.

  1. Problem-solving and adaptability: In construction, unforeseen challenges are encountered. This ability to adapt and resolve issues is critical in executing any great plan.
  2. Collaboration and teamwork: Builders work with a team of professionals, each contributing their expertise to the project.

Effective execution relies on collaboration and leveraging on the strengths of each team member. Building greatness is not a lone task. It requires the collective effort of a dedicated team. The success of a major project like Joina City in Harare involved the collaboration of architects, engineers, project managers, plumbers, electricians and other construction workers, all of them working towards a common goal, through a trying period in Zimbabwe.

You do not stop building because the environment is tough.

You toughen up and solve the problems presented to you.

Architect and builder mindsets

  1. Bridging vision and execution: To truly build greatness, bridge the gap between vision and execution.

Develop a grand plan.

Also ensure that there is a clear, actionable path to achieve it.

The transition from planning to action must be seamless. In project management, this involves creating detailed project plans with timelines, milestones and deliverables.

Break down the grand vision into manageable tasks. Ensure that each task is executed effectively, brick by brick.

  1. Continuous improvement: Both architects and builders strive for excellence through continuous improvement.

This involves regularly reviewing progress, building on success, learning from mistakes and making necessary adjustments.

Greatness is not achieved overnight. It is a result of constant refinement and enhancement. Toyota’s success with its manufacturing processes is attributed to the principle of “Kaizen”, or continuous improvement.

By constantly seeking ways to improve efficiency and quality, Toyota has built a reputation for excellence.

  1. Big-picture thinking and ground-level action: Thinking like an architect requires big-picture thinking. Executing like a builder demands attention to ground-level actions. Both are required.

Balancing these two perspectives ensures that the grand vision is grounded in reality, and can be achieved through practical steps.

In leadership, this balance is crucial.

A great leader must inspire with a compelling vision, and also provide clear guidance and support to ensure that the vision is delivered through daily actions. Building greatness is about thought and action. You think like an architect, and then you execute like a good builder. This is how great things are built.

Milton Kamwendo is a leading international transformational and motivational speaker, author and accomplished workshop facilitator. He is a cutting-edge strategy, team-building and organisation development facilitator and consultant. His life purpose is to inspire and promote greatness. He can be reached at: mkamwendo@gmail.com

 

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