"A professional services business like ours largely equals “the sum of the parts”. Brand. Yes. Niche Expertise. Yes. Experience. Yes (we’re coming up to 30 years!). But the key ingredient is people. Without key people, with their own experiences, talents and learned know-how, you don’t have a consulting business. You don’t have anything to sell," says TwentyTwo Managing Director Dean Croucher.
"Getting the right people with the right aptitude for consulting is not easy. The fluid nature of consulting, including projects that often lack a clear script, suits a certain type of person. So, when you find one of those people you try to nurture and grow their consulting craft and capability over time.
Chris Ware is one of those people. We’ve recently recognised Chris’ efforts and attitude by elevating him to an Associate Principal. These are a handful of people in our team who take more responsibility for leading projects and leading people. And who have the inherent traits needed to lead the practice in time."
Chris has been with TwentyTwo for over five years and has grown to be an integral part of the Advisory Team. TwentyTwo's Marketing Manager, Emma Barker sat down with Chris to discuss his career journey, what he’s learnt so far and where he thinks the property sector is heading.
“I’ve been working in the commercial property sector since 2008. Those early years I spent working at Livingstones (who were later brought out by Colliers) gave me a good grounding in the property sector and the knowledge that property, as a business enabler, had much more to offer organisations.
I came across TwentyTwo while I was working in-house at the Ministry of Health. We brought their expert knowledge in to help with some complex commercial negotiations. For a young guy I was really inspired to see how the TwentyTwo team worked. Working alongside Dean, watching how he managed himself and the negotiation process made a long-term impact on me. So, when it was time to move on from the Ministry of Health, I approached Dean and Duncan to see if there might be an opening at TwentyTwo - that was over five years ago now.
It’s been a great journey. As my knowledge has grown so has the sophistication of the sector and recognition of the value in bringing in an expert property consultant at the beginning of a project or where a business is undergoing some form of transformation.
Too often we’ve seen clients rush into decisions and into project implementation mode without understanding ‘why’ and ‘how’ this initiative fits with their organisational and strategic goals. Linking your investment (whether this is an owned or leased initiative) to back to your business strategy is the ultimate test. That’s were TwentyTwo adds value over and above our property expertise. We look past the property problem/solution to see how it can support the wider business. That’s something I’ve learned working here that I now try to apply to each of my projects. We don’t want to be just “order takers”. We see part of our role to challenge and to help clients make sure we are solving the right problem – and not fixing one problem with another!
More businesses are recognising that independent advice is important, not only to provide expert advice at the right time but often to provide assurance to management and Boards.
While it is often tempting for an organisation to manage it all themselves, most can really benefit from some independent specialist advice to help navigate through these decisions, extract the most value from their negotiations and to ask the right questions of the right people in the right way. And professional expertise is becoming more and more specialised. Most businesses can’t justify having the breadth of expertise needed in-house.
Looking forward I can see the need for our services and advice growing. It’s great to see the diversity of our clients grow. These days I’m working with clients in Whangarei and Christchurch and from a variety of sectors including large private businesses, local authorities, energy providers and government organisations for example. We’ve realised that out expertise is relevant to a much wider range of businesses, than just Wellington based office users (which is where the roots of the business lie). We are invoved in representing clients with industrial, retail, manufacturing, health and special-purpose requirements, in addition to office remaining our core market sector. I’m excited for what the future holds for me and for the business."