Back yourself to succeed in your plan. That's a key lesson Dale Kennedy's learnt in his seven years as Managing Director at family-owned construction group Harris HMC. Managed by Dale's father since 1983, Harris HMC started as a small maintenance company, but now has four divisions - interior fit out, maintenance, electrical and construction.
Plan for the future, now
This growth has been a cause for celebration, but also one of the biggest challenges that Dale has had to face in his business journey. Only by backing himself to win and putting plans in place that take into account projected growth has Dale managed to make his business the success it is today.
'Sometimes we've grown 50 per cent year-on-year, and this puts a huge strain on your people, your processes and your structures. Keeping up with all that, while ensuring your culture remains strong and you continue to deliver your projects to the high standard that's expected has been a real challenge,' explains Dale.
How do you deal with such fast-paced growth? Dale says it's essential to take the leap of faith to hire people before you need them. 'If you're successful in your plan you're going to need a bigger team, so you may as well put the team in place beforehand. Doing this will make the journey along the way a whole lot smoother.'
Finding ways to support employees through sustained growth is at the top of Dale's priorities. After seeing 230 per cent growth in three years, Dale decided to take his best site managers and put them into a support function for other site managers. 'It takes faith to do that, but I'm confident that, entering into our next three year plan, we'll see the dividends.' Dale believes that having this additional support ensures Harris HMC will continue to deliver its projects to the high standard the company is known for.
Cutting out the white noise
TEC has been there supporting Harris HMC through its growth journey for years. Dale's father was a member previously, and Dale later got involved in 2010, four years after becoming a group manager at Harris HMC. He explained how TEC helps him get to the heart of an issue - 'You can cut out all the white noise. My role has evolved since joining TEC - running a business with 50 people is completely different to running a business with 200 people, and TEC has helped me to keep pace with this growth,' says Dale. 'You're always surrounded by people that genuinely care for you and have an interest in each others' development. Being around people like that helps you improve your own skills.'
Dale enjoys the one-to-one sessions with his TEC mentor because you can get into specifics, and finds the group sessions round table set-up a great forum for ideas. 'You realise that people, no matter the industry, have exactly the same issues you're having. You're not unique, others have gone through all this before, and you can learn from everyone else's experiences.'
It's not all been plain sailing, but with TEC's help, Dale has gotten Harris HMC to the place it's at today - a successful business with a great culture that's taking the property and construction world by storm.
Established in: 1983
Industry: Construction and fit out
Size: Harris HMC has built over 1000 apartments, and works on around 300 projects a year. Maintenance and Electrical divisions take around 4,000 service calls. The Group employs over 180 people.
Product range: Harris HMC works on building projects from start to finish, including interiors construction, maintenance, electrical and developments.