25 Years, 25 Principles

As DMA celebrate 25 years in business, Dexter shares his 25 principles that shape the practice’s growth and success;


1. Honesty and integrity are the most important values, and the foundation of our practice.
2. Enjoy what you do and do the very best you can – no half measures or you cheat yourself.
3. Don’t mix office and family life, or compromise the uniqueness or importance of either.
4. Be respectful and you will be respected.
5. Errors are human, apologies unexpected and forgiveness rewarding.


6. Our team is our most valuable asset.
7. No one emulates what you do. Recognising that others achieve the same or better result in their own way is how to let go and grow.
8. Encourage a healthy work / life balance for all.
9. Give all team members a long string, the inspiration to pull it and the support to fix it if broken.
10.Don’t be self-important – value your significance as the space left when withdrawing your arm from a bucket of water.


11. Everywhere is an idea and all ideas are valuable.
12. We value bespoke design over house style, derived from a unique response to each client and site, interpreted by the inspiration of the design team leader.
13. There is no place for arrogance and prima donna attitudes, which lead to design that values personal ego over client need.
14. To quote Le Corbusier “The Plan is the Generator”. No elevational creativity can mask a bad layout.
15. Be open minded and never stop learning, adapting and growing.


16. Order followed by counter-order leads to disorder. Provide consistent direction.
17. Communication is king. Most problems arise from miscommunication and misunderstanding.
18. Sustainability is about building and maintaining successful relationships.
19. Mistakes happen – admitting and dealing with them is the only way forward. Every failure is a building block for the future.
20. Rome was not built in a day – building a practice and a reputation takes time – 25 years at least!


21. Money is never the right or sole motivation. Short term greed is the greatest obstacle to long term success.
22. Keep financially liquid at all times – many great businesses have failed by simply running out of funds.
23. Collectively celebrate triumphs and achievements – however big or small.
24. Covet nothing and no one, and always be thankful.


25. The book “What’s so amazing about Grace” by Philip Yancey, and the person who I feel most exhibited those principles of grace within my lifetime: Nelson Mandela.