There comes a time in our career as an architect when we realize many of the issues we encounter are recurring. Though the project and industry may change, many of the problems are similar. At this point we can draw on our experience to provide many solutions quickly, leaving more time to enjoy the challenging issues. We‘re confident in our solutions and we deliver as advertised. We have reached homeostasis. This is the perfect time to make a colossal mistake – like deciding you know so much that it‘s time for you to start talking more than you listen. This poor decision usually comes with a side of cynicism, impatience and general anger towards inferior minds who dare contradict your superior understanding of all things technical and otherwise.
In it‘s worst form this overconfidence bleeds into the business realm. This is an excellent way to land your career on a list somewhere next to the Black Rhino. The business is our reason for existence. That statement probably hurts a little but we must not lose sight of that fact. We live to serve them, not vice-versa. Listening to and understanding the business that employs us to solve problems is the most critical skill we possess. Ever caught yourself impatiently waiting for a business analyst to finish talking so you could make your point? Chances are you didn‘t get theirs. Show the business domain experts the respect you expect to receive, this is the last group of people you want viewing you as unapproachable. If they start avoiding you, you‘re being a catalyst for communication breakdown and sabotaging your own project. Remember; when you‘re talking you can only hear something you already know. Don‘t ever start thinking you‘re so smart that no one else has something valuable to say.
When we are listening we‘ll often disagree with what we hear about how the business operates. That‘s fine. We can make suggestions for improvement and should definitely do so. However, if at the end of the day you disagree with how the business is run and it’s not going to change, that‘s just too bad. Don‘t allow yourself to become a disgruntled genius that spends all of your time trying to impress others by making witty, condescending statements about how poorly the company is run. They won‘t be impressed. They‘ve met that guy before and they don‘t really like him. One of the key ingredients to the recipe for a great architect is passion for your work but you don‘t want too much passion of the angry variety. Learn to accept disagreements and move on. If the differences are too great and you find yourself continually at odds with the business, find a company that‘s easier for you to get behind and design solutions for them. Regardless of how, find a way to establish a good relationship with the business and don’t let your ego damage it. It will make you happier and more productive.