How do they do it? Phil Jones

Written by: Jez Abbott
Published on: 14 Aug 2015

Phil JonesPhil Jones has more than 25 years experience in the planning of development infrastructure and is an expert on Home Zones, being part of the team that produced Manual for Streets and Manual for Streets 2. He has researched residential parking for the Department for Communities and Local Government and was a member of the enabling panel of CABE Space before it was wound up in 2010. He set up his practice in a back bedroom in 2003 and now employs around 30 people working for private and public clients including Bloor Homes, St. Modwen, Birmingham City Council and Hertfordshire County Council.

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

Being at the top of the company my main role is growing the business as well as tackling day-to-day planning. Ultimately my performance is measured by the state of our annual accounts but we also have one-to-ones between the senior staff to look at business targets and company direction.

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

Focus outwards not inwards. Too much time obsessing on internal meetings and time management is time lost focusing on the planning job in hand the next one to come.

Scrum-half is the place to be. I'm not very tall and was therefore always scrum-half on the rugby field, which has professional analogies and is a good place: grab the opportunity, cradle but don't hog it, know when to pass it on.  

Your senior appointments are crucial. Make sure you get the right people, and don't be afraid if they are better than you: they need to be good enough to eventually make you superfluous because this will keep the business strong and focused firmly on the future.