Graduating in planning from Bristol Polytechnic, Stephen Brooker joined Dacorum District Council in 1977 before practising in Hertfordshire. A decade later Brooker joined Cliff Walsingham & Co where he has been ever since, rising to company director. Around five years ago he and fellow director Mark Krassowski purchased the company and renamed the practice Walsingham Planning.
Q. What are your objectives in your current role and how are you measured against them?
I have a professional caseload and recently helped Premier Inn Hotels gain planning permission in Chipping Norton and Southampton. But as director and chairman I have to manage company progress and help staff at all levels from junior staff up to fellow directors. I don't really have measures, other than driving the business forward.
What key lessons have you learned during your career that help you to fulfil those objectives?
A. It's always better to underpromise and overperform. It's easy to to overpromise on what you can achieve and tell people what they want to hear, but cautious, pragmatic advice is good and true.
Even the smallest projects are important. Not everything we deal with is going will be a major project, but even the smallest projects are really important to someone.
Persuade rather to bludgeon. Remember, planning and property are small worlds and you never know when you will meet someone again, or which side of the table they will be sitting on.