After presenting my spotlight during a recent networking meeting, one of the attendees asked me about my architecture degrees. During the conversation that followed I described the project I developed and published in my Master of Science Architecture Thesis, “A Study of a Superframe Building System” (May 1972, Michael R. Breitman, Illinois Institute of Technology, Graduate School of Architecture).

The subject of my thesis is a 150 story, 1,800-foot tall, multi-use skyscraper. Obviously, this was a very complex undertaking. After that conversation, I pulled my thesis out of my bookcase and re-read it. While re-reading my thesis, I realized several lessons about business that are embedded within the project:

  • One Cannot Solve Complex Problems Alone – I would not have been able to complete my degree without the assistance of many advisors. What challenges are you facing in your organization that you could benefit from having an outside (of your company or department) set of eyes looking at? I’ve have found some who believe that seeking advice is a sign of weakness. The opposite is the case. Realizing that you don’t know everything is the first step toward accelerating your journey toward success.
  • Sometimes Part of a Big Idea May Be Where the Value Is – While this proposed building was never built, several of the concepts presented as part of the proposal have become part of many ultra-tall buildings. One proposed concept was to have areas of shelter within the building. Getting everyone out of a building this tall in a timely manner in an emergency is virtually impossible. After the extraordinary situation in the World Trade Center during 9/11, many super-tall buildings have embraced the concept of areas of shelter. This brings two business lessons to mind:
  1. The part may become bigger that the whole – The area of shelter concept illustrates this.
  2. Your Timing May Be Off – Areas of shelter became important due to subsequent events. Do you have product or service ideas that are ahead of the times? Perhaps you need patience before you will reap the benefits of that product or service. If, on the other hand, you have a product or service idea that is late, you may need to consider learning from the early adopters and the re-engineering the product or service to surpass that of the early adaptors.
  • KISS Is Still Important – Although my thesis project appears to be extremely complex, the final solution was a result of my advisor’s constant reminders of the KISS (Keep IT Simple Stupid) Concept. I was advised to simplify the proposed building as much as possible. Constantly ask yourself “Where am I over-complicating my business?”

If you wish to discuss your challenges with any of the above, or you simply would like to bounce some ideas around with a neutral party, please contact me. The first call is always complementary.

Michael Breitman headshot
About the author,

Certified, Award Winning Executive, Leadership and Business Coach - My mission is to assist as many business executives and owners as possible to leverage their talents and experience for the purpose of maximizing the value they bring to their markets, teams, families, and communities.