Lessons I have learnt: Matt Clarke

Director of LSI Architects
LSI Architects is an architecture practice with around 70 people based in Norwich and London. We work across various sectors and for diverse clients, although most of our work is in the healthcare and education sectors. Our stated purpose of ‘Life Touching Design’ is to create opportunities to improve lives and enhance society through our work.
Published in Norfolk Director Magazine Winter 2023

We asked Matt, who is a Director at LSI Architects, to look back and reflect on his younger self.


How would you describe yourself at 18?

At 18, I was at Art College and, if I’m honest, feeling a little bit lost. Having experienced a really difficult time in my personal life at 17, I was still trying to get back on track. After dropping out of college I tried various jobs; cleaner, labourer, factory worker, and dump truck driver, to name a few. 

A chance meeting with somebody who had looked after me during my high-school work experience placement at a local architects inspired me to look at my options. Later that year, I went to university to study for a BA in Interior Design.

If you could go back knowing what you know now, what three things would you tell yourself to do before becoming a director?

  1. It is OK not to know; everyone out there started out in a similar place.
  2. Attitude and hard work can count more than qualifications.
  3. Back yourself, and don’t give up.

If you could relive one day, what would it be and why?

I’ve had some amazing days; child number one being born, child number two being born, and wedding day in Vegas. I don’t think I can pick one. I’d love to go back and relive each one of those.

What are the biggest lessons you have learnt about running a business?

To be kind. Kindness doesn’t cost anything and makes a massive difference. Gain as many life experiences as possible; it helps you gain perspective. Operating on the edge of where you feel comfortable impacts the progress you make.

How did you deal with a big mistake, and what did you learn from the experience?

I can’t recall a specific mistake but think it’s important to deal with mistakes calmly, quickly and fairly; mistakes are part of how we learn. People don’t set out to deliberately make mistakes; as frustrating as they can be, they always offer a learning opportunity. What’s important is that we don’t make the same mistake again. 

What does the future have in store for your company?

It’s clearly a challenging time for business right now. We are fortunate to have a really strong forward look, but it is going to be very important that we do not become complacent. We plan to stay focused so that we can come out of this period, in a strong position and push on. We have some exciting projects in the pipeline, and we will continue investing in developing our people.

What does the future have in store for you personally?

I will continue learning and developing. We have a great board of directors and a fantastic team that I am really proud of. I’m excited about being able to play my part in leading the business over the coming years.

For more information, visit www.lsiarchitects.co.uk

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