How do they do it? TfL's Michèle Dix

Written by: Jez Abbott
Published On: 10 Jun 2014
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Michele Dix

Michèle Dix is the managing director of planning at mayoral agency Transport for London (TfL). She heads up strategic thinking across a broad range of issues such as air quality, health, accessibility and major schemes including the Northern Line extension, Crossrail 2 and integration of HS2 in London.

Dix is also responsible for development planning work, ensuring development and transport are well integrated to support London’s growth. She started her career at the Greater London Council after completing a PhD in transport and land-use planning.

Past jobs include board director of urban transport planning at consultancy Halcrow Fox.

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

A I test and challenge policies and provide clear direction on appropriate transport solutions for the future. We have a score card on issues such as how we manage staff, behaviour across the team and production of an overall business plan. We also have specific targets, for example we have to make sure we respond to planning and referred planning applications within 21 days or issue pre-application advice no later than 10 days after the meeting.

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

A Work hard and be flexible. If you want to succeed you have to work hard, but you must also be flexible and adapt working practices if things change. Don't get wound up by bureaucratic changes – invariably it's not worth the stress and keeping a level head will help you stay sane. 

Appreciate your team and show it. Without a good team you cannot deliver, so let them know how much you value them even if it's as simple as saying 'thank you'. You can also acknowledge what your team has done more broadly among colleagues.

Ensure the work you do is based on robust evidence. Few things beat sound, theoretical evidence when it comes to defending your work.