Hi Simon. We know that you’re very busy so thank you for taking the time to do our ‘get to know the team’ interview.
How long have you been working for Treework Environmental Practice?
I joined the team in early 2014 and just coming up for my seventh year. I began in the capacity of Operations Manager but as time has gone on, the shape of the business has changed, and demand has increased. So, my role has changed and now I am the Business Development Manager for the company.
What does your role entail?
Wow! The role is very large and varied. I am responsible for executing our sales and marketing strategy and lead our sales and marketing team through the management of inbound enquiries and the delivery of our fee proposal to new and existing clients. This means I need to make sure that we allocate the correct arboricultural services to support their project or tree management objectives. A level of arboricultural knowledge is very helpful to achieve this, and quite often I am mistaken for a consultant! ;)
I’m often the first point of contact for people when they contact Treework for the first time and so naturally being very curious helps me to be more helpful here! Some of the requests that we get can be very interesting and complex and getting really engaged in problem solving is vital, as is the support of our amazing consultant team in providing the best service that we can.
Day to day management of our Sales systems is particularly important too. I spend a lot of time on this and there are a whole host of procedures and reporting systems that I have established to meet the growing demand that the business has experienced. These continue to grow and develop. As the business evolves our ability to report and understand the data that we collect has increased significantly. I also work with the Managing Director and our Consultant Team to research, investigate and develop new innovations and services that we can deploy and use to help solve problems for our clients.
What do you enjoy most about the role and your work at Treework Environmental Practice?
I am really lucky! I’ve got one of the best jobs Because I practice one of my favourite pastimes – talking to people! The range of people I get to speak to is huge. One minute I can be speaking with project managers, planners, and members of design teams from large multinational companies who are compiling a bid for large infrastructure projects to the next; discussing, tree risk management or the long-term management of an ancient and veteran tree resource, with a local Authority Tree Officer or estate manager at a Housing Association. Sometimes it could simply be a homeowner with a tree related issue that is causing them a great deal stress in their life. The common thread I that I just love being able to help.
We know that you are very busy as Business Development Manager. Are there any tips you can share with others, on how you remain focused and productive during these unprecedented times?
I hardly feel as if I have the definitive solution, however during the course of the last nine or ten months, I’ve learned a tremendous amount about the way I work and how I can tweak things to get the most from myself given the change in conditions and strains that we’re all under. This started with understanding, accepting, and lowering many of the expectations that I had of myself, to something that was more realistic and achievable. ‘Normal’ productivity was thrown out the window early on given the working-from-home with children environment that I, like many others, was thrust into. I found that redefining my priorities and concentrating my time and energy onto the most important tasks that would provide the biggest benefit(s), was helpful. Being upfront with clients and colleagues about what you can or cannot achieve – quite simply you cannot do everything you would want to do, so even now, I continuously ask myself the question “what are the most important one or two things that I need to be concentrating on?”
On a personal level, understanding what motivates and makes me happy has been a very important part of maintaining a productive and happy workspace. I felt very down, early on through lockdown 1.0. I attribute most of this to the feeling of lack of control over things. I realise now that exercise (cycling in particular) has formed a critical part of my health and well-being. For me, being able to blow off steam and exert myself has been good and avoided my mind spiraling into sad state of mental wellbeing. Peloton really has saved me! ;0 It is also something that I have direct control over.
Personally, I think that it is absolutely critical to have some away time especially if working from home. A change of environment, a breath of fresh air, is in my view, really, important to avoid that ‘Groundhog Day’ feeling that most people have felt. I have also found the use of technology quite helpful during this time. I have started using new apps, to help focus energy – I can close off email and work through another channel and this separation between tasks and activities has been effective. I also continue to use many of my favourite apps, like Evernote, even more than ever, as I can capture lots of ideas and musings very easily, as they occur to me, often out of hours.
What are your (personal and professional) objectives for 2021?
It will be great to maintain the trajectory of growth that the company has experienced over the last 2 years. We are in an excellent position – one of strength and resilience, despite the uncertainty that surrounds us all. It would therefore be nice to continue to ‘thrive, not just survive’. To support this, I have a number of objectives that I would like to achieve next year.
Some of these focus on the service that a client receives at the front end of the business and there are some targets that concentrate on the way the Sales team works: developing our use of systems and electronic aids to automate certain repetitive tasks and increase autonomy. With still so many uncertainties we will need to be dynamic, responsive and concentrate on ‘the experience’ for each and every client.
On a personal level, I want to cycle even more in 2021! I am looking forward to completing the South Downs Century next summer! This is a 100 mile, 12,000 feet of elevation, off road cycle ride from Winchester to Beachy Head – in a single day. It is considered a rite of passage for many mountain bikers in the UK, so it would be great to tick this off the bucket list!