4th February 2021

Richard Bourne is Managing Director of Martin’s Properties, a leading property investment and development company based in Central London and operating throughout the South of England. Established as a family business in 1946 the company has grown to become one of the largest property portfolio owners in Kensington and Chelsea and has continued to expand its portfolio across London and the South East.

Richard graduated from the University of Reading with a BSc (Hons) in Land Management and an MSc in Urban Planning and Development. He subsequently qualified as a Chartered Surveyor and gained a Diploma in Leadership and Management from the Institute of Leadership and Management and a Certificate in Company Direction from the Institute of Directors. He has previously worked for John Laing Property and Kier Property undertaking various commercial development projects. He was also Head of Property at RO Real Estate, where he was responsible for doubling the NAV of the investment and development portfolio.

Under his stewardship, Martin’s Properties has significantly diversified its portfolio and now includes all property investment classes across London and the South East. Richard continues to drive growth through a selective and strategic risk-adjusted programme of disposal, acquisition, development, refurbishment and asset management.  He is a team oriented leader who likes to deliver performance through a clear set of values, performance targets and vision.

Leadership during a Pandemic or crisis

The Covid 19 pandemic has created one of the toughest challenges to businesses and leaders in the last 20 years. It has also provided a rapid examination of businesses and accelerated the divide between those businesses with longevity and served further adversity for businesses that were struggling or poorly structured or managed.

The last 12 months for me have been an enormous test of both my leadership and my resilience. The pandemic has brought the importance of teamwork and our ability to be flexible and react as a team into sharp focus. On reflecting back over the last 12 months on how I and our business have performed, there have been some key lessons learnt:

Break things down into manageable phases and tasks

  • Faced with the enormity of the situation and impact, things can become overwhelming. Break the situation down into 3 phases: Emergency, Consolidation and Recovery

Keep things in perspective

  • However tough things seem, there is always a solution and a team to support you

Trust the team and delegate

  • It is not possible to manage all of the issues yourself, nor does it make good business sense. Delegate tasks and give clear responsibility to others to manage tasks or phases. Listen and share thoughts from those around you

Communication is Key

  • Regularly communicate with the team, stakeholders, customers and suppliers. Find a balance to ensure regular communication to maintain business updates without over burdening the team. Don’t forget the soft side of communication that can often be lost with human contact, touch base with colleagues

Be consistent

  • Provide consistent and clear direction and messaging to the team and a roadmap for the short and medium term

Look after your team

  • Introduce a wellness programme to ensure the health, wellbeing and safety of the wider team, both internally and externally

Cash is King

  • Produce a base case and worst case forecast and plan accordingly to ensure the business is solvent and able to meet its obligations. Maintain a sufficient buffer to keep the business afloat in the event of a disaster

Disaster Recovery Planning

  • Set up a disaster recovery planning team and plan ahead for various scenarios which might impact on your business. We were fortunate to have a Disaster Recovery Planning Team in place which enabled us to continue business operations seamlessly despite lockdown

Learn and adapt

  • You learn more in a crisis than in good times. Learn from it and evolve working practices, systems, protocols, communications and understanding of your customers businesses and wider stakeholders

The office is the glue that holds the team together

  • Home working is positive, to a point. However, the office is here to stay. An office is the heart of a business and serves as a place to train, educate, socialise, collaborate and build a team that works together to deliver synergy and best in class delivery.

Remain Positive

  • All bad things come to an end and opportunity comes out of adversity so remain positive! Your team and customers need encouragement, support and a positive leader.

Look after yourself

  • It is a stressful period with many unknowns which requires constant decision making and direction. You need to make good decisions and be able to do so consistently. You need to be well rested and able to have time to think and plan.

Richard is currently embarking on a 12 month leadership course with Global Leadership Coach, Jonathan Bowman-Perks. Richard was invited to speak with Jonathan on his podcast and youtube channels to talk about leadership as a CEO and how to lead and inspire a team, you can listen and watch by clicking here.