How do they do it? Craig O’Brien

Written by: Jez Abbott
Published on: 18 Apr 2016

Craig O’BrienCraig O’Brien did his urban and regional planning degree and bachelor of town planning postgrad degree at Coventry Polytechnic, graduating in 1990. His degree involved a year out at London Borough of Barnet and his first job was at Hillier Parker in London, now CBRE. He joined Turley Associates in London in 1996 as a senior planner and moved through the ranks to become a director, having moved to and opened the Bristol office with two colleagues in 1999. O'Brien joined Savills as head of planning in its Bristol Office in 2009.

What are your objectives in your current role and how are you measured against them?

I manage a team of 11 people and help coordinate and run numerous projects throughout the year. I have specialised on various urban regeneration projects in my career including Butler’s Wharf Estate in London, Cabot Circus in Bristol and the Herefordshire Livestock Market. I am currently working on a number of regeneration projects in Ashford, Peterborough and Belfast, as well as a tall building in Bristol. We are measured on targets, mostly financial, such as turnover and profitability, but also the quality of our work.

What key lessons have you learnt in your career that helped you fulfil those objectives?

Tenacity. Tenacity is a key attribute for a successful consultant and for the most part, cannot be taught - keep going until you have a solution or answer to the question.

Be concise. Don’t write 10 sentences when one or two will do because it is easy to lose your point in a mass of unnecessary words. There is a beauty to relatively short, clear advice.

People think differently. Our brains operate differently; tuning into your co-workers' mental strengths and channeling them is very important to building an effective team.