How do they do it? Alex Yendole

Written by: Jez Abbott
Published on: 8 Sep 2014

yendoleAlex Yendole is planning policy manager at Stafford Borough Council where he is tasked with delivering new development by working with private and public sector partners. He moved to the West Midlands in 1999 where he led strategic planning projects for Cannock Chase Council. At Stafford, Yendole, who graduated in environmental management and then did a masters in planning at Manchester University, has led multi-agency teams to open up development opportunities. 

Q. What are your objectives in your current role and how are you measured against them? 
My objectives are to lead on strategic development, secure funding to deliver projects and take key policy documents such as the local plan through to adoption. I also work closely with neighbourhood partnerships on their plans. My head of service and I go through a personal development review on an annual basis to ensure I'm meeting service objectives set out in the corporate plan. We are also measured on issues such as housing delivery, updating conservation area appraisals and levels of community engagement through the web-site.

Q. What key lessons have you learned during your career that help you to fulfil those objectives? 
A Question, question, question.
Always question everything: the information you are given must be checked to make sure it is accurate and robust – your professionalism is a stake.

Avoid knee-jerk responses to particular issues. Stop, stand back and think through the implications of your response before delivering it. This means keeping calm under pressure; most problems can be broken down to bite-sized chunks that are easier to deal with logically. 

Know which battles to pick. It's very easy to stand your ground when the longer term is better served by not making a big issue of something. You have to know when it's right to dig your heels in and when to compromise. Both require strength of character. 

Alex Yendole is to speak at this month's Planning for Housing conference on 16 September