WHEN reflecting on a year it is easy to get caught up in the numbers. After all, we are only as good as the P&L sheets say we are. But the differing reports kicked out by our accountants do not really tell the story of how or why a business has become more (or less) profitable.
At MBA we have been taking a good hard look at 'the culture' of our business. Spurred on by a number of business-related awards, we wanted to see what would happen if we took time away from the spreadsheets and reaffirmed what was important to us. A great quote that we have used a few times in the office this year is 'chase the dream and the paper will follow'.
By confirming our values as a business, we were able to define our mission statement:
"We want to create beautifully engineered and carefully considered buildings that help to shape the future of British architecture. We want to inspire generations to come, through socially responsible and ethical design. We want people to be proud to own, live in or work within one of our buildings. We want to leave a legacy."
It might sound like a load of rubbish to some, but for us it was a turning point for the team. We now have a position to benchmark all our decisions against and ask ourselves 'will this align with our mission statement?'
This work allowed us to completely change the way we undertake internal staff reviews. Instead of getting bogged down in the boring 'I work well in a team, but I am also great at working independently - score four out of five' rubbish that we have done year on year, we asked 'what have you done for our clients that shows you understand the company values?' The conversation and more importantly, the innovative ideas, that have grown from those conversations are beyond anything we could have ever hoped for.
So, looking back on this year from a numbers perspective, it has been fine. We are happy with our growth, somethings panned out well, others didn't. But looking back at our culture shift, this year has been a revelation and so next year, and all those that follow are going to be great because of how we have changed over the past 12 months.
MBA is based at Strixton Manor, near Wellingborough, telephone 01933 698001 or see the website at www.matchboxarchitects.co.uk