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Key Idea: Recognize That You Need Others

Today talented people can quit working for you and go someplace else, therefore, a  leader must win the hearts and minds of employees. Meet partner Carl Meyer. Homepage

Key Question:


It has been said that arrogance is that strange disease that makes everyone sick except the guy who has it.

Q:  Why is Altoon + Porter able to attract and keep talent?

A:  The corporate culture is based upon the thinking that every person is key to the success of the firm.  This goes back to the reason Ron and Jim left Frank Gehry to launch out on their own.  They wanted to work at a place that did not focus on the star power of one genuis; they wanted a place that put the projects at center stage.

Ron is thinking outloud in this interview about the future of the firm and its leadership which was even more than we asked him to do.  We sensed his concern about the next generation and got the feeling that he may need to push those who are great team players to take on more leadership.

Think about it

Do you think you have a top-down leadership mentality?  Do you think you listen to the people who work for you?  Do you think they think you listen to them?  What can you do to make every person on the payroll feel important?  

Clip from: Architects Altoon + Porter

Los Angeles, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Amsterdam : They worked for Frank Gehry and found that it had limits. So, architects Ron Altoon and Jim Porter started their own firm and today they are quite literally changing the world.

They do not try to cultivate "star power" but brain power. The result? This professional practice went global virtually overnight. Brain power translates into  extraordinary product power in any language!

Every customer and every architect is a star. Keep your egos in check.  Focus on customers and  growing your team. The result?  This firm now has ongoing work in 16 countries with more international work on the drawing boards for the future.

Like so many of our businesses that go global, they have proving that the world does want American products and services!

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Altoon Partners

Ron Altoon, Senior Partners

617 W 7th St #400
Los Angeles, CA 90017

Visit our web site:

Office: 2132251900

Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1984

Recognize That You Need Others

HATTIE: Anything you want to say about why this partnership works?

CARL: I think it works because we all perceive the need for each other. If you took the range of personalities in--that humans have, that people have and divided them up into quadrants that all intersect, you would find that partners here, partners here, partners here, but nobody's the same. And we seem to fill in all the gaps for each other.

JIM: The challenge for me is I'd like to see us have a bigger impact. I think there's enough talent here in this pool of six partners and our senior people that we should be able to produce more work at this same quality level. That, for me, is where--my challenge, where I've set the challenge.

HATTIE: What is it that occupies your mind? What are you thinking about now?

RONALD: What I've come to realize is we have to breed leaders in our firm. It's not just leaders of projects, or how we conduct our practice, but it's creating leaders in the greater community. Leadership demands of an individual three things: It demands that they can vision, that they can induce others into embracing their vision and that they have a willingness to take risks. Without those three, you can be a great manager and never a good leader. The most important one is the willingness to take risks.

HATTIE: And that stimulates your imagination for what you're going to build there?

RONALD: Yes, absolutely.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) I learned that building a business is even harder than building a building, and these two have succeeded at both.

JIM: We can do anything. I mean, I feel we have literally done the largest projects that ever get built. So we--you know, our size is not a handicap there. It's--you know, to me, it's a challenge of actually having a bigger impact, you know; not from an ego standpoint, but just from a fulfillment standpoint that, you know, just feels right.

(Graphic on screen)

HATTIE: Ronald Altoon talked about the American Institute of Architects. You can learn more about the organization by going to its Web site,

Just as Altoon and Porter are working around the world, you can, too.

To read about others who do business internationally, click on 'owners,' ) then click on Jimmy Fand.  He has great advice about going global.

HATTIE: Remember, like Altoon and Porter, you don't have to be big to think and act big. We'll be back next week.

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