September 3 2020
Driving Performance with The Entuitive Mindset
Originating from a desire to be better tomorrow than we were today, the Entuitive Mindset necessitates collaboration and compels creativity. It is the manifestation of three common attributes found in every member of our team: empathy, humility, and courage.
We talk about The Entuitive Mindset a lot. You may have seen it referenced on our web site or in various stories about our people.
Lately I’ve been contemplating the best way to help others understand this mindset, considering how foundational it is to the way we approach our work.
Where did it come from?
In 2019 we embarked on a yearlong journey to refresh the Entuitive brand to a state that was more reflective of the firm we have become over the last decade. It was the kind of project that couldn’t have been successful without many conversations with our clients and our own team members.
We asked several questions of both:
- What makes Entuitive successful at projects?
- As a client, what do you like about us?
- Why should someone work with Entuitive?
- What have been the most important projects to you, and why?
- Do you see a uniqueness to the way the people at Entuitive think?
Both groups shared many of the same sentiments, like:
- Entuitive believes in the existence of a viable solution and our ability to find it, because we are willing to spend the time asking the right questions and understand what is really needed. (Empathy)
- Entuitive believes there is always room for improvement somewhere. (Humility)
- Entuitive does not say no and believes anything is possible. (Courage)
And even in how we view competitors; not as an adversary, but as a partner to embrace to fulfill our purpose:
- Entuitive knows how and when to collaborate with others – often even competitors – to make sure that things are done right to ensure our clients’ success (Humility, when Courage alone is not enough.)
We captured all of this and more and distilled it into what is known as the Entuitive Mindset.
And then 2020 happened.
In the earliest days of the pandemic, it felt like all uncertainty, all the time. We understood it was imperative for us to react quickly and be as agile as possible. First, how do we ensure our people are safe? Second, how do we continue to deliver for our clients?
And finally: what can we do to help our partners and communities endure and better yet, thrive? What can we do with what we do to bring it forward in a way that is relevant and helpful during what is undoubtedly the strangest year for every human alive?
We started to use the term “new normal,” and virtual tools accelerated the level of intimacy we have as a team when spouses, dogs, and overgrown beards became regular guests at our daily meetings.
Empathy for each other grew even deeper as children threw tantrums and interrupted presentations to request a snack. Longstanding racial and ethnic inequalities were finally given a deserving global spotlight with Blackout Tuesday and ongoing protests, and we had to admit that we don’t know what we don’t know, but we are ready and willing to learn.
The Marketing & Communications team began working with our leaders to uncover how Entuitive can use our skills and services to deliver solutions to some of the pressing inequities of the built environment being highlighted by the pandemic.
Our engineers raised their hands to talk about modular solutions to long-term care facilities, suggestions to solve the disparities in affordable housing, and helping people safely begin to commute again. They shared their vision for communities with ready access to transportation as well as work and play, and their call to action to not let the environmental benefits of a slower economy end when the virus has finally subsided.
The resonance of this content and the internal ideation it’s built, including COVID brainstorming sessions for our teams, has led us to make this a permanent feature of our communications. When we reflect on what makes our solutions human-centered, it pushes us to stay the course of fulfilling Entuitive’s purpose.
What our people think.
Earlier this week, I posed a question to the Entuitive team. “Will you share with me some examples of how our mindset comes to life in your day-to-day work?”
Below, a few of the responses:
“In order to help build a better and more sustainable world, it’s important to understand where we are now and how we, as inhabitants of the planet, are experiencing and affecting climate change. At Entuitive we seek to understand the lived experience of those who are most affected by the catastrophic effects of our warming planet and changing climate. We empathize with their experience in order to inform our design decisions to build something that will last longer and have less impact on our beautiful planet and on all the beings who live here. We strive to contribute to a world that does not take from future generations, but instead leverages technology, science, and the vast sets of skills out there to build something truly sustainable for all beings and for our planet to thrive.”
Emily King, Sustainable Performance Group Lead
“Humility is another way of describing that we know the best solutions are found together – not alone. It is both an argument for providing multiple services and integrating them to design a resilient, sustainable asset, but also to not be afraid to partner when we know it will ultimately benefit our clients.
The client and end users of our projects are always in mind when I make a decision. It is they who will experience how a building performs and be left to use and operate it. When we deliver pedestrian modelling on a job, what we are trying to capture in our models is how the end users will actually experience a space but then superimposing the design team constraints onto that to arrive at realistic designs. That, to me, is empathy. We place ourselves in the shoes of the end user to understand if the models are behaving properly and how the physical design or operational procedures may influence their movement patterns.”
Matt Smith, Associate
“…all of these hit home. Our approach and mindset permeate almost everything we do, so it’s hard to distill it down to a specific example.”
Monique Miller, Senior Engineer
“Those three words speak to the kind of people that we work shoulder-to-shoulder with at Entuitive and for me, the one that resonates the most is courage. The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart, and you must have heart to make tough decisions, to take risks, and to allow yourself to be vulnerable.
I have seen many examples, both small and large, of our people having the courage, the heart to put their hand up for something they feel passionately about and want to see carried forward to make our world a better place. I have seen courage in the way we are managing the discomfort of Covid and when our leaders stand in front of us saying, ‘Here’s what we know. Here’s what we don’t know. And here’s what we hope, and together we are going to thrive.’
I have seen the courage in daily connections with people, whether it’s playing soccer for the first time or singing in front of the rest of the team. Everything Entuitive stands for is rooted in the heart of our people.”
Michelle Cogan, Senior Manager, People & Culture
“Entuitive’s work in the existing structures field requires courage and empathy. I am reminded of one of the first projects I worked on after joining Entuitive. A luxury townhouse condominium had engaged us to investigate and deal with leaking that had originated in the attic spaces. Unfortunately, the problems were much more serious.
It’s not always easy to let a client know that something more serious than a leak is at play. We must always empathize with our clients, who may be feeling extremely stressed out with these issues, especially when we’re talking about their homes. We must guide them through the situation, the challenges, and the solution. In this case, our testing revealed perhaps the worst failures ever encountered in a wood-frame condominium complex.
We could have fixed the leak and gone on our merry way, but that is not the Entuitive Way. We had the courage of our convictions to solve the issues, along with improving the physical health and safety of the residents, and we had the empathy to understand and work with them through a stressful time.”
Brian Shedden, Principal
It’s clear to me that the Mindset is deeply embedded at Entuitive. I’m incredibly proud to be a part of a team who, when faced with deep uncertainty, has the empathy, humility, and courage to lean into our own resilience and uncover our potential to thrive while helping others do the same.
I lead a group of highly creative and talented Marketing & Communications folks at Entuitive. Questions? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.