Most design and construction firms are enjoying robust revenues, profits, and backlogs as we begin 2017. Many companies are growing at a record pace, now thriving after surviving the Great Recession a few years ago. It looks like good times will continue in the new year, but uncertainty lies ahead. What’s brewing with the economic, political, and social ingredients we mixed in 2016?

What’s brewing with the economic, political, and social ingredients we mixed in 2016?

Here are five ideas to help us keep our balance in 2017:

1. Focus on clients, not yourselves.
Clients and projects are the fundamental business units for every firm in this industry. It’s every leader’s job to understand clients, anticipate their needs, and serve them well with the best that our organizations can offer. Stay engaged, and don’t let your own structure get in the way of doing the right thing.

2. Think small. We’re working with successful firms to streamline their governance – how decisions are made and how things get done. In two recent benchmarking studies we conducted on this topic, a common theme is that small groups work better than big ones – so firms are distributing leadership responsibility and limiting the size of boards and management committees.

3. Maintain commitments to sustainability and environmental performance. The AEC industry has led substantial reductions in energy consumption and the carbon footprint of the building sector – and we’re already demonstrating significant results. This may not be a priority for the new U.S. administration, so it’s up to us to maintain the momentum.

4. Demonstrate responsible project planning and cost accountability.
Our industry has done a poor job of budgeting and cost management, which need to begin with adult conversations about uncertainty and ways to mitigate it – under any project delivery strategy. We’re now working on new planning tools which will help. Let’s agree: no more budget-bust headlines in 2017!

5. Keep your people. The competition for talent remains more intense than competition for work in many areas. The best professionals demand clarity and transparency: how does the organization work, and what opportunities does it offer for leadership and growth? Tell them! When departing employees are told how much they’re valued, the most common response is “I never knew.”

What are your resolutions for 2017?