This might be an unpopular idea

Putting something out in the world that others might not agree with or vehemently oppose can be uncomfortable. It’s also an act of leadership.

When Construct the Pantomime hits the stage, it’s either the architect or the developer who’s the villain of the piece, depending on your perspective. Black cape, pencil moustache, creeping in from stage right to the jeers and boos of an audience taking great joy in theatrical vilification. It’s a classic, right?

That’s the scene.

A moment of empathic understanding.

And depending on who you are, acknowledging you could be the bad guy. Or the good guy.

The other day I found myself radically rethinking how architects might position themselves in order to better address the housing crisis. As you might have anticipated, my idea is architects might be better off working with developers, as allies rather than enemies. As I ruminated on it, I also reflected how unpopular this idea might be amongst some architects and/or developers.

I’ll post more about it in the future when I better develop my thinking around it.

And it’s not the subject of this post.

And in a way it is.

Bottom line,

Knowing it might be unpopular, I’m uneasy about where I might post the idea and the reaction. I don’t want to be a pantomime villain. I also don’t want to be the person that sits in the wings, unseen and unheard. Creeping in the shadows. Waiting for someone else to enter the spotlight.

I could write the script for someone else to speak, but I’m still the author. I’m still the one the trolls might come looking for!

Some times you have to step into the spotlight. To take a position of leadership.

“The world is changed not by the self-regarding, but by men and women prepared to make fools of themselves.”

P.D. James

We need leaders to help change the world.

We need those willing to make fools of themselves.

And propose potentially unpopular ideas.

Because maybe, just maybe, they’re the ideas that will bring constructive change. And lead us to something better

It’s the different perspective that helps us to see anew. We don’t need to agree in order to begin to rethink our position.


Pantomime villains are freaking awesome. We love to hate them. But they also entertain and make us think. Without a villain there’s no counterpoint. There’s no insight into an alternative narrative or point of view.

It might be an unpopular idea, but a villain can be as good a leader as a warrior for good.

Image by Architects Journal [edited]

Hi! I’m Michael

I’m an architect and coach, helping the professional culture of the architecture profession. I believe the best way to do this is support leadership development.

I’ve worked in architecture for almost 30 years, and ran my own practice for 14 years. I understand architectural practice from the inside out. Fun Fact: my NSW architect’s registration is #10 007 and I have a license to skill.

I help practices work on their leadership team and strategies. Supporting practices to become more open, fluid, and adaptable. Realising the collective energy, passion, and capabilities of their people.

Interested in hearing I can help? Let’s chat about the leadership development of you or your team.
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