Geography graduate John Cooper did a two-year masters degree in planning at University of Manchester, which he completed in 1998. He then joined the graduate programme of Drivas Jonas, where he has been ever since, being part of the business when it merged in 2010 with Deloitte. Deloitte Real Estate in the North West is led by five partners, with Cooper in charge of planning.
What are your objectives in your current role and how are you measured against them?
I run the regional planning business with people in Manchester and Leeds. I get involved in big strategic projects and I'm responsible for managing the team. We have a sophisticated performance management system, with annual and intervening appraisals throughout the year.
Q. What key lessons have you learnt in your career that helped you fulfil those objectives?
A. Approach everything you do with energy and optimism. There are plenty of people who can do all the technical bits, but it's often the softer skills that make the difference and make a really positive impression – how you are perceived is vital.
Take learning very seriously. No matter how hard something is, take the time to research and get to grips with the subject or you won't make an impact.
Be prepared to challenge yourself. Edging out of your comfort zone from time to time will really accelerate your development – successful people are those willing to challenge themselves.