What are some of the most important business management lessons you have learned?
At the core, managing a business is about managing people. We have members in our team who started working with the firm 30 years ago. Nurturing, encouraging and celebrating the skills and talents of our people has played a defining role in our success.
What have been the biggest challenges and successes in recent years?
One of the biggest challenges the practice had was to endure the GFC. During this period we had to reduce all staff to short working weeks, but we were able to trade out and retain all staff. In retrospect, we have come out of this period with our positive culture intact and seasoned staff being available to mentor the next generation.
We continue to deliver projects throughout Australia and find that the red tape, from all levels of government, continues to be a challenge. The red tape often bottlenecks or stops projects. No consideration is given to the economics, nor the benefits to the community, of delivering a well-considered outcome. But these challenges are part of the job, and lead us to problem-solve unique solutions for our clients, who often ask us how we can stomach dealing with all the bureaucracy all the time.
What are the ambitions for the practice?
We are five years into our succession process with founding partner Alan Hayes and next-generation Directors Nik Mitens and Aaron Beattie now steering the ship. Collectively we have a diverse range of skills and experience, which complements the firm’s service offering in a broad range of sectors.
With the next generation of developers coming through, our succession plan enables us to match the right Director with the client’s expectations and requirements. Our ambition for the practice is to keep attracting the kinds of projects that require innovation and push our creative limits. There is certainly a demand for more sophisticated design with the migration of people from NSW and Victoria seeking warmer climates and a more relaxed lifestyle, and with that comes opportunities to create more courageous solutions.