Two great artists. Two tragic deaths. Two very different styles. Is your style like 2Pac or John Lennon?

2Pac was “Me Against the World” and “All Eyes on Me”. Where John Lennon was “Imagine” and “Instant Karma”.  Where do you fall in this spectrum? You would think the obvious answer should be John Lennon, but note, this industry is not all unicorns and sunshine. Having a positive attitude is a great, but if you don’t have a little precipitation there will be no rainbows. When you begin working with a client everything is “so great, we can do it, we can meet the budget, we can give you everything you want.” While this feels like spreading peace, we all know that no project ever goes perfectly; you might want to pour a glass of Hennessy and get real. John Lennon was an inspiration and uplifting, garner his great qualities, but consider moving to the middle.

You may say 2Pac is your man. Tell it like it is, get out of my way.  Confidence is one thing, arrogance is another.  I about barfed in my mouth when Thom Mayne, in talking about clients to the AIA this last Fall, said “Why should I listen to them? They know nothing about aesthetics.” This style might win awards, but is it really more important than the process and relationship? If it is then, “Shit, I’m wit cha, I ain’t mad at cha” ~ 2Pac. Having an edge can inspire creativity, having an opinion can help inform, and may passion burn bright, but, telling everyone else to back off….that’s just ego.

Both artists are great in their own right and both have a loyal following. If they were architects, each would have a unique set of clients that mesh well with their style. Think about where you fall. Observe yourself in interactions with clients, during meetings with colleagues. How can you improve your diplomacy and still have your message heard? Find your style and stick to it. And, if you need to borrow a tune from the Black Eyed Peas, that’s ok, just make it your own.

~ Paul Wember, Owner’s Representative