Managing Director, Colliers International Newcastle
Chris is the Managing Director of the Colliers International Newcastle business, and is passionate about the City of Newcastle and its people. Chris has over 35 years of extensive property experience spanning all sectors of the market.
Since becoming Managing Director of the Newcastle office in 2013, he has been instrumental in the development and growth of the business, leading a team of over 35 dedicated staff in maintaining the leading market share position in Newcastle. Chris brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Colliers International in client management and sophisticated negotiation solutions, whilst delivering a high level of customer service.
He has an in-depth understanding of property development and has been involved in the sale, construction and development of over $2 billion worth of residential, commercial, retail and industrial property. His extensive knowledge of all sectors of real estate allows him to provide prudent advice to clients.
- What makes a good leader?
I think that from a personal perspective tremendous amount of self belief. Also I think a lot of life experience; I think leadership comes with life experience and age. That’s from a personal perspective. From the way that you lead a team I think a good leader hires really good people, hires smart people, and empowers them to work stuff out.
And I think following on from that a good leader doesn’t get in the way of their people’s growth, and a good leader has to be prepared to let people leave them when they’ve reached a point in their careers or lives that they want a new experience. The art of leadership to me is making sure that you hang on to your best people for as long as possible, and create that framework and environment for them to do their best work for your business, for themselves, and for me as a CEO.
- What do you believe has shaped your leadership style?
I guess I’ve been really fortunate to have worked in a number of different businesses within the properties sector over sort of 35 to 40 years. But I think one of the businesses I look back on was eight years I spent at the Delaney Hotel back in a really pivotal time of the late 80’s, early 90’s, it was one of the first hotels down at the Newcastle. I spent much of my time talking to people from their backgrounds and different walks of life, people without much money and without much opportunity, and all the way through to business people. And we catered for every demographic.
And I think mixing with eight years literally tens of thousands of people really shaped me, because I learnt to understand people from all backgrounds. And I think from the age of my mid 20’s through my early 30’s, to have that life experience really set me up later in life. So from a background perspective the shape for me, nothing became too hard after that, if you’ve ran a pub of 50 staff and thousands of people coming through every week and sorting out … not everyone happens to behave all the time. If you can deal with that, you can pretty much deal with most things in life from a leadership or management perspective.
So after that obviously getting into property development and commercial property sales and then transitioning into the MD role at Colliers, I haven’t found any of that difficult over years when I put that down to my experiences much earlier in life.
- What motivates and drives you?
Look, I’m probably going to steal a line from Mark Taylor, the Australian Cricket captain, who has a simple philosophy on leadership that, “Trying to leave a better place for your presence than when you got there.” And to me that just makes the ultimate sense. Every time I’ve headed up something or done something, I’ve tried to improve the place, improve the business, improve the environment, and leave it a better place. So I think my experiences which I talked about earlier with the Delaney, we left that a pretty damn good placing compared to when we took it over. A lot of the development work that I’ve been involved within the City of Newcastle we’ve left an imprint, we’ve left behind buildings in town that I think have improved the streetscape.
With my current business, Colliers, transitioning that into the real corporate world and being at the forefront of Newcastle’s transition over the last seven years from a large regional town into what we’ve now seen as an emerging global agency of some significance, and being a really part of that to me that’s the most exciting part of what I do, and to leave a legacy behind of the business and the people that you work with and what you’ve done in a town or a city, to leave it a better place I think is the key thing for me.
- What is one action or task you ensure you incorporate into your diary each week?
Yes, so this is good one. This is sort of like the exercise thing, it’s easy to make an excuse not to do this, but for me the most important thing and much of my life is dealing with people day and night I found in my role really stops and either does the email. So for about three to four hours a week, generally in one block, I try and turn everything off. Sometimes it’s a Sunday afternoon, it might weed up 2:00 till 5:00. Sometimes it’s got a glass of red. But for me it’s that planning, it’s looking what I didn’t get done in the previous week that I need to. It’s prioritising that for the next week. And then it’s thinking about the new things, these are the people I need to engage with. Often that can be for me it’s once a week definitely, and to me that’s pretty cool. I mean, most good business people, most leaders run fairly strict diets, and I get that, but for me this is the add-on where I extricate myself from everyone in my world, and I simply sit down and make sure that I did that planning time that helps me stay really focused on the business and where we need to be coming.
- What local businessperson do you find inspiring?
I’m going to say three people, and really quickly. Jeff McCord. Jeff has done more for heritage preservation, restoration, in this city than anyone I know, in the buildings that he’s acquired and done up. And just his sense of civic and community and the amount of money and time and effort he’s devoted to great charities.
Keith Strike for the wonderful legacies left on our construction and development landscape. There’s so many buildings around the city that Keith’s construction development group have been involved in.
I think Peter, the founding CEO of Colliers 20 years ago, I think really important that Peter is a self-made person, come from very humble beginnings, founded a business on the kitchen table in Dudley that is now their preeminent real estate business in the region and gives that global point connectivity for the city through outreach nationally and internationally.
So they’re my inspiration and they’re the people that I look up to.
Partnering with Colliers International for Residential Project Marketing not only guarantees you the best results, it ensures that they are achieved with your brand and integrity front of mind at every interaction.
Our experience and expertise in setting, launching and selling out residential projects from the largest multi-staged mixed use developments right down to boutique developments, is unparalleled. Our ability to foresee additional opportunities at the earliest possible stage adds enormous value to a project’s outcome, whilst our global resources and extensive Australian residential market intelligence are fully utilised by the specialist team dedicated to our clients' project. We are also the only residential real estate specialists with dedicated Australian property desks offshore, actively seeking overseas investors.
The value we bring to our partnerships extends well beyond our expertise in marketing and selling. Colliers International works alongside our developer partners to ensure the best mix, design, and pricing is set, and the project is brought to market efficiently to deliver record returns for our clients from both a financial and a brand perspective.