The importance of corporate history
We recently held a reunion lunch with past Collier Homes executives who had made a positive impact on the business before my purchase some two years ago. The reunion not only provided a window to the rich history of the brand, but also offered the current day leaders with more profound insights into the nature of the industry as well as a glimpse of the fantastic personalities that have contributed so much to our distinctive and unique culture.
The reunion included Ossie Symonds, a past Chief Executive Officer, Keith Laval a previous Sales Manager, Brian Goodall, a past Chief Financial Officer, and Michael Beck, a former Marketing Manager.
In my experience, honouring corporate history is as important as acknowledging your own ancestry. In an age when an app can help you with just about anything, it cannot give you a corporate history.
A history which connects directly to a set of solid values which relate not to grandiose statements, but to human virtues, is something that not only fortifies and sustains a business through economic cycles, but serves to provide a company with its culture. New generations, instead of aspiring to receive a gold watch after some extended period of service, prefer to work for a company with a culture that is real and not just a set of motherhood statements framed and hung in a reception area.
I believe, that if you respect your past, there is a fair chance that future generations will recognise the present.
When I study the history of successful and enduring businesses, the constant is always a culture that allowed and encouraged individuality. These businesses, by enabling creativity and innovation to flourish also exhibit a unique personality reflective of its employees. This means that you must employ the right people, which is easy when a company’s popular culture automatically attracts the right people.
The culture and company personality attracted me to buy the brand two years ago and it continues to attract clients today. It's for this reason that I have preferred not to become the figurehead or face of the business or use my name as its brand. To do so would only stifle and suppress individuality.
Longstanding and enduring brands such as Collier Homes owe much to people like Ossie, Keith, Brian and Michael for being such valuable contributors. We honour them not only for their immense talents, enduring loyalty, deep integrity, and strong passion but also for instilling a culture that remains as their legacy.
I must also say that their stamina at lunch was up to their legendary best!
Dario Amara FIEAust, CPEng, NER, APEC Engineer, IntPE(Aus) is a second-generation builder, experienced construction, and engineering executive and chartered professional engineer with some 40 years' industry experience. He has also served as Chairman of the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Chairman of the West Australian Opera Company and Chairman of Heritage Perth amongst other positions.