Terence O'Rourke managing director Tim Hancock gained a masters degree in town planning from University College London and spent the first years of his career in local government, at Avon County Council, North Avon District Council and East Dorset District Council. He joined Terence O'Rourke in its infancy in 1988, became a director in 1992 and a managing director in 2003, overseeing a management buy-out eight years ago. Career highlights include the McLaren Centre, Warner Bros' studios and the Kings Hill masterplan in Kent.
Q. What are your objectives in your current role and how are you measured against them?
A key objective is to recruit the best people to work for us, but I'm also proactive in the marketplace, trying to set up opportunities with potential clients to work with to ensure we are big players in each sector we operate in. We have a board of directors who set challenging performance measures while monthly staff meetings and project reviews ensure team feedback. We are our own biggest critic: if we think we are best it may prompt arrogance; we like to think we are second or third best and are always looking at ways to improve.
Q. What key lessons have you learned during your career that help you to fulfil those objectives?
A. You can never learn enough. Be open minded and listen all the time: it's a key role of mine as leader of a team but also when I'm dealing with clients.
Constant innovation is crucial. Planners should be solution rather than problem driven: it's sad planning is criticised as negative when it should be seen as having a positive, facilitating role in the development process.
Our people are our biggest asset. So make sure you look after and inspire your staff.