How do they do it? Graham Stallwood

Written by: Jez Abbott
Published on: 9 Nov 2015

Graham StallwoodGraham Stallwood studied planning at the University of Sheffield in the late 1990s before working mainly in development management in local authorities. He became a Royal Town Planning Institute trustee in 2011, completed a MBA in 2012 and is currently executive director of planning and borough development at the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

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

My main objectives include preparing the early work for the regeneration of council-owned housing estates and, right now, securing a Crossrail station in Kensal and a Crossrail 2 station in Chelsea. I am also currently updating our 38 conservation area appraisals, implementing our 2015 basement policy and starting a review of our local plan. We deal with 6,500 applications a year; I am measured through appraisal and performance related pay.

What key lessons have you learned during your career that help you to fulfil these objectives?

A. Choose your battles. You won’t always agree with everyone, but carefully pick the things you want to really fight for and you’re more likely to win them.

Surround yourself with the best people you can. You’ll get better results and it will be more enjoyable for you all - give people opportunities and they will generally rise to the challenge, and develop your people – yes they might leave, but if you don’t develop them they’ll probably leave anyway.

Always look years ahead. If you are only business or career planning for next year you will miss opportunities and never achieve what you really could.