Opinion

How to find construction’s future leaders

Innovators from other industries can teach us how to become more sustainable, says Malcolm Clarke

The traditional construction industry business model has been broken for decades and we need to make positive changes that deliver real value for all: clients, designers, contractors, supply chain and end-users. To do this, we require leaders that will take our businesses to new levels that are sustainable.

At Baxall Construction, we are working with the Innovative Future Leaders Programme (IFLP) to develop our managers, with a view to them being able to take senior leadership roles in the running of Baxall. 

IFLP gives our leadership candidates another perspective from both inside and outside the built environment. They learn from expert sessions delivered by some world-leading innovators, from government, technology, retail, sport and beyond, as well as from the construction industry. Candidates take a business challenge to the programme, so Baxall gains valuable, innovative solutions to integrate into our own organisation.

Our first candidate, Andrew Baldwin, a preconstruction manager, has gained insight and knowledge from other candidates, as well as top-class presenters and facilitators, and gained confidence in his own leadership style. 

The carbon neutral agenda is Andrew’s business challenge – the right thing to be taking on from a moral standpoint – and we believe it is increasingly a differentiator. We have taken up the challenge of how we can deliver a better product for our customers, that is also safer and healthier for the users of our buildings, as well as minimising the effect on the environment. Andrew is leading an application to the government’s Innovate UK fund, in partnership with the University of Kent on a Knowledge Transfer Partnership, with the aim of supporting our vision of a sustainable product delivery business model.

The obvious benefit Andrew is gaining has encouraged us to put forward two further candidates for the IFLP. Each will have a different business challenge to address and we believe this will enhance both their personal development but also contribute to the Baxall business.

Malcolm Clarke is managing director of Baxall Construction

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