Looking back on a challenging year, Intelligent Pathways CEO Peter Robertson reflects on the unique challenges and opportunities we’ve faced.
Our ‘top 5’ priority theme for this quarter has been ‘reflect and recharge.’ To ‘reflect’ now on a year of huge changes and unpredictability, how have we done?
I think if you look at the numbers and how we’re performing, we’re performing very well. We’ve navigated the year very successfully and I think that’s firstly a testament to our people. ‘Adaptable’ is one of our core values as a business, and when we look for new people we always look for people who can deal with change. For me I’m really happy that because of that, and being in IT as well, we as a business were able to basically pick up our things and walk out the door and start working from home.
What were the particular challenges facing the leadership team this year?
As a leadership team we’ve always asked ourselves ‘are we prepared’ from a risk management perspective, and ‘what happens if the building burns down’. But to be honest I don’t think any of us ever sat down and said ‘what happens if we have a pandemic.’ So for us it was about trying to support our staff as individuals, being able to say ‘it’s okay, you can do a 6 hour day today due to home schooling and the like – we get it, these are different circumstances.’
There was also the challenge of having staff in Queensland almost back to normal, while our teams down in Melbourne and Sydney weren’t as far along, and figuring out how we help them from afar. Our clients too have obviously been hard hit themselves, and it’s been a case of working with them to understand what their needs are and how we can help them recover as best we can.
What advantages did we have as a business navigating the new operating environment?
I think from a business perspective we had the advantage of really great customers. And we still do have those customers and we’ve had some really great projects going on. We’ve been able to have some really honest conversations with our clients and just try to help them through this time. It really highlights to me that those strong relationships we’ve formed are more important than ever, that they know they can rely on us to deliver and accommodate what’s needed to get the job done. We’re certainly not immune, that’s for sure. But I’m confident we can navigate this, and as companies pivot to keep themselves relevant in the changing times we’ll be there to help them do that.
Moving onto the ‘recharge’ part of our theme. Christmas is our time to recharge this year, with a 2 week shutdown for most of our staff. What were the drivers behind that?
Typically we only close from about Christmas eve to the 2nd of January, so taking about 3 or 4 days of mandatory leave. I’ve always tried not to force anyone to go on leave more than just that small break, because I want people to have that choice of when they have their leave. Leave’s important. However this year the risk of burnout has been a big one. There’s a lot of pressure on our people to deliver especially on some big mission critical projects, and I really wanted to make sure everyone got at least 2 weeks to regroup and clear their heads.
How will you be spending your break?
I’m fortunate enough to be spending my break the same as every year – we usually rent a place down the coast and spend time with my family and my mates’ families together. It’s just fantastic, typically it’s the only time of the year where I’ll turn my emails off. So this year it’ll be a bit more of a break, time with the family which is good, time down at the coast – that’s where I’ll be recharging.