Tag Archives: learning

Mastering the BIM Mindset

There’s one simple thing you can do for yourself today that will completely, radically and forever change the way you experience working in BIM. This post explains what that is.

Have you ever noticed some people are really excited about working in BIM?

While others dread it – or worse, are indifferent, neutral or less-than-enthralled?

This post explains why.

And better yet, will help you overcome the latter response.

People have 2 different settings.

According to Carol Dweck, author of Mindset, people are in one of two modes.

They’re either in the performing mode – where they’re expecting to perform.

Or else they’re in the learning mode – where they’re expecting to grow.

Growth types

Mindset has a simple premise:

The world is divided between people who are open to learning and those who are closed to it, and this trait affects everything from your worldview to your interpersonal relationships.

Those who work in the performing mode see themselves as fixed – I know what I know and every day I come to work to prove what I know.

They’re primarily concerned about looking good.

Those in the growth or learning mode work in BIM expecting to grow, change or learn from their experience.

They’re Always-Adding-to-their-Toolbox-types (2A4Ts or 2A40s.) We all know them.

We might be a 2A40 type ourselves.

Fixed types

Others believe their intelligence is capped. Fixed.

There’s a limit – its set – their mind’s set. Mindset.

They won’t be the ones taking themselves – or BIM – to the next level.

Not by choice anyway.

But rather kicking and screaming.

They’re happy treating BIM as the next generation CAD.

Stuck in this-is- just-the-next-software mode.

Do not pass go.

Do not cross the chasm to 4D, 5D or D’yond.

These two modes – performing and learning – may go a long way to explain how motivated you will be to work in BIM.

Without a growth mindset, there’s no mastery.

As posted in these pages, Mastering Autodesk Revit Architecture 2011 comes out this month. (I can’t wait!)

And yet there is no mastery without the growth mindset.

You have to be able to imagine yourself improving, growing and changing – in order to master a skill.

Otherwise you’re fixed. Like a dog.

Which one are you?

Are you here to show us what you can do?

Or do you arrive in the morning to discover something new?

Here’s a test:

When you come home at night does your partner/roommate/spouse ask you how did you do today?

Or what did you learn today?

And which of the two do you ask yourself?

Judge & Perform or Learn & Grow

I don’t divide the world into the weak and the strong, or the successes and the failures… I divide the world into the learners and non-learners. – Benjamin Barber

People with a growth mindset constantly monitor what’s going on.

They’re attuned to its implications for learning and constructive action.

They’re constantly on the inquiry, asking:

What can I learn from this? How can I improve? How can I help my teammate do this better?

One Simple Thing

There’s one simple thing you can do today that will make all the difference in the world.

That will vastly change your life and the experience you have – your satisfaction and fulfillment – at work.

It’s not enough to say change your attitude when the program is driving you bananas.

It’s not helpful for someone to tell you to change your mindset when no one has ever bothered to explain what one of those are or how you might go about doing that.

The one thing is free.

And best of all it is easy and painless.

This is it.

You ready?

What we need to do while working out the kinks in BIM and plowing through the barriers, roadblocks and obstructions that naturally arise in the program is this:

Change your internal monologue from a judging one to a growth-oriented one.

That’s it.

So stop beating yourself up over changes to the user interface, families from manufacturer’s content and working with nested groups.

And approach BIM as a learning tool.

When you go to work – while performing your duties – you’ll be secretly attending the University of BIM.

Practice acting on the growth mindset.

And ask yourself this:

  • Will you allow yourself to be in the BIM mindset where you approach working in BIM in terms of learning and professional growth?
  • Will your employer enable you to work in a learning mode without negative repercussions or feeling that you are being judged and evaluated?
  • Is it realistic, in this economy, to expect anything but 100% performance from our workforce – that learning on the job, when it happens, is a bonus but not a necessity?
  • Will we work all the harder and more effectively if we feel that we are learning and growing on the job?
Advertisements

5 Comments

Filed under BIM, education, impact

All I Really Need to Know about BIM and IPD I Learned in Kindergarten

“The architect who combines in his being the powers of vision, of imagination, of intellect, of sympathy with human need and the power to interpret them in a language vernacular and time—is he who shall create poems in stone.”              Kindergarten Chats on Architecture, published in 1901 in which Louis Sullivan, as a master architect, teaches a fictional student his principles of architecture and philosophy. 

Maybe it’s time we have a kindergarten chat? In a recent online group discussion, I asked two questions:

            What is the right place to learn the habits, mindsets and attitudes required for design professionals and others in the construction industry to work effectively in an integrated environment?

and

            If the current generation of emerging design professionals didn’t learn the habits, mindsets and attitudes critical for working effectively in a BIM and IPD environment in kindergarten, when will they pick it up?

Responses kept coming, dozens and dozens of insightful comments in all. One thing that is clear from the comments is that we should have learned these basic habits, attitudes and mindsets such as trust, sharing and collaborating in kindergarten. But it has become apparent to many – especially to owners and contractors – that these values weren’t picked up by their design professionals in kindergarten –or any time since.

So what to do?

Before we all take crash courses to rekindle these basic – but critical – values and practices, it makes sense to address what needs learning and when best to learn it, so that we remain relevant and effective practitioners for those we work with and advise. To this point there are roughly three schools of thought.

BIM and IPD: Three Schools of Thought

            Integrated project delivery (IPD) integrates all team members–owner, architect, construction manager, engineers, and subcontractors–to form a collaborative effort, seeks input from project team members at the onset of the project, allows team members to leverage Building Information Modeling (BIM) by creating a virtual design of every element of a construction project as well as its process.

As a school of thought is a collection or group of people who share common characteristics of opinion or outlook, this might be an effective way of categorizing the range of attitudes we carry about what’s important for design professionals to know – and when they need to know it.

BIM/IPD School of Thought 1: All I Really Need to Know about BIM and IPD I Learned in Kindergarten

My 14 year old son is learning BIM software this year at his high school. He and his peers find the software intuitive and pick it up quite readily.

With IPD, the focus is usually on Early Goal Definition, Intensified Planning, Appropriate Technology, Organization and Leadership. While these are important, as a process IPD is based on some very basic values and principles that unless mastered by all involved, the project will fail. These include: Mutual Respect and Trust, Mutual Benefits and Rewards, Collaborative Innovation and Decisions, Open Communication and Sharing of information.

An early reviewer of my in-progress book on BIM and Integrated Design summed it up this way: “Perhaps one of the most important benefits wouldn’t even cross your mind, and this book attempts to explain it succinctly: Integrated Design and BIM require a much different mindset, and this mindset requires collaboration, coordination, team work, and knowledge sharing in order to succeed. This is not an option, this is a prerequisite.” 

Some feel we should have picked-up these principles and values in kindergarten but either didn’t or weren’t paying attention. More likely, we did learn – but unlearned them in the years since – especially once we left the cocoon of school and embarked on the hard knocks of a career in architecture and construction. There we learned to be mistrustful, skeptical, competitive, secretive, working independently out of silos. In other words – we unlearned all of the critical habits, attitudes and mindsets necessary to work on an integrated team – and be effective practitioners today for those who need us most.

This line of thinking is perhaps best exemplified by this comment from a recent discussion:

            “Modeling/BIM as a craft/technical skill should be taught freshman year, just as pre-arch curricula traditionally taught drafting and rendering. As far as integration/collaboration goes, however, that’s a skill students (and professionals) should have picked up by         Kindergarten…”

BIM/IPD School of Thought 2: All I Really Need to Know about BIM and IPD I Learned in College

For others, college is the best time to address these work habits and attitudes. One commenter put it like thus:

            “This whole ‘change’ which is coming in our world has to be based on a foundation of trust, respect and a willingness to let one’s ego take a back seat to the ‘team’, the project and the client. If you can get the students & future architects to embrace this new way of working and thinking, early, I feel that they would be starting out on the right foot towards this new way of working.”

BIM/IPD School of Thought 3: All I Really Need to Know about BIM and IPD I Learned in the Workforce

While many comments stated that school was the ideal place to learn the technology and work processes to work together in an integrated fashion, others thought that this scenario was at best unrealistic, opting for this learning to take place after school – as summarized by this comment:

            “As a 50 year-old returning to school for a Master’s in Architecture, I would hope that the program exposes me to the core principles and concept being used today. It is important for students to have an understanding of IPD/BIM and the role they play in our profession. But, the true training will come as they enter the workforce. As mentioned in an earlier comment, many students are still graduating with little to no understanding of the business side of architecture, but, are well versed in the latest computer programs. I think the student should be exposed to what is currently being used in the profession. And then, allow their employment and progression toward licensure to hone those core principles that were taught in school.”

Whatever school of thought you belong to, I am not suggesting here that we return to school to relearn what some of us have unlearned – the hard way – in the midst of our careers during heated discussions, presentations and negotiations.

The hard truth is that owners need more commitment to collaboration – and with that trust and respect – from their architects and general contractors.

Perhaps it is time for a kindergarten chat – starting with one that we have with ourselves and then perhaps branching out to chats with our colleagues – where we refresh our memory and recommit ourselves to the basic but all-important values and principles that IPD is based on: mutual respect and trust, sharing, open communication and cooperation. Perhaps this is one all-critical commitment we can keep in what promises to be a pivotal year for our industry and profession. 

4 Comments

Filed under BIM, collaboration, education, Integrated Design, Integrated Project Delivery, IPD, people, process, Uncategorized