Archive for January, 2011

I have begun to question the value laden term success after I watched John Wooden and Alain de Botton’s TED talks on the topic. Originally when I thought of success, I imagined heaps of money and recognition or social status and profit, the dictionary definition of the word. Success can’t just be about what you have but about what you have learned. We seem to idolize what is materialistic instead of  what is of value to our self. Both Wooden and de Botton identified ownership, values, and character as important aspects toward your own measure of success. We should be the authors of success and be the best we can be. I agree we must hold ourselves accountable, I should challenge myself and set goals that when are constantly adjusting to what is now a very turbulent and dynamic career environment.

I am writing a paper on success theory in professional practice and I wanted to develop categories of ‘success’ that Architects and Interns fall into. I feel now instead of categories I will have a lexicon of descriptors that certain practitioners will fit into. This lexicon is not value laden as it is sets a framework to understand success, innovation, and methods of career strategy which is an objective laid out with my supervisor.

My own self-discovery of my success values and goals lately has driven me towards the study of success in professional practice. Who I am and what I am looking for leads me to the second part of today’s post as it has been the support of strong mentors that makes me appreciate the practice of architecture. Leadership and developing strong mentorship networks provide support for a protege to enhance personal identity, role, and interpersonal competence. Suzanne C. de Janasz, Sherry E. Sullivan, Vicki Whiting, and Elaine Biech wrote an informative article about mentor networks and its value in career planning and success. Deemed from this article there are three competencies of knowing why, how, and whom that should be sought and developed by a strong mentor network. These competencies are pivotal in career researchers study of intelligent careers where knowledge and skills – the knowing how – are not enough and competency drive firms understand that in today’s turbulent and cyclical global marketplace employees change jobs often. It has become very important that firms find people that understand their beliefs – the knowing why – and have strong networks of mentors – knowing whom – to develop their skills from. With so much to learn a large diverse mentor network seems relevant in today’s practice to become successful and ones own identity – the knowing why again – helps to define what is success to them. It seems that we never stop learning and after I graduate from school and become an intern, my journey to success will be much more important to then the end. I will need strong mentors to develop the competencies I need to give as much as I take from a firm and my mentors.


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Success can be measured many different ways, from a cultural impact on society (Bilboa Effect) to the more conventional measures of financial wealth, size of firm, etc. There is an array of definitions of success and a spectrum of metrics for acknowledging progress. For the architecture profession, success tends to be a very contentious notion – rather ill-defined and somewhat elusive. To better grasp the notion of success in architectural practice, I have begun to critically analyze relevant prevailing literature and will review and assess several practitioners deemed to be ‘successful’ within the industry.

This post will become part of a much longer thread of ideas and concepts as I delve into success theory in professional practice and how it applies to successful Architects and Interns.

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