Pensar’s Patrick Newell shares his thoughts on leadership challenges for future success

The Australian Water Association is the country’s largest water network promoting sustainable water management, Pat Newell (Director – Water), spoke at Queensland’s largest ever QWater Conference about leadership challenges for future success and the importance of following great work if you wish to become a great leader.

This conference had a strong focus on collaboration and the role that knowledge sharing can have for future success with one of the key drivers of the conference being appreciation for the value of water when confronted by economic and environmental challenges. Delegates also confirmed four key attributes of leadership – compassion, inspiration, authenticity and vision.

As a professional in the water industry, Pat’s presentation focused on the need for simplification of everything your business does but particularly in relation to extreme accountability and safety given safety was a key stream of the conference. He detailed a number of key factors that he believes every business needs to adhere to if they wish to remain relevant.

These were as follows:

  • The need for operational excellence – Pat believes that leaders need to be involved in projects at the coal face so that they stay in touch with client work and can cross sectors. Too often leadership becomes engrossed in the business and they don’t learn from others. Pensar’s internal processes deliver cross-pollination of ideas creating value for our clients and all directors actively undertake hands-on tasks, from tender bids to project management.
  • The need for technical expertise – Pensar hires technical experts, not managers as we believe delivery improvement is related to delivery processes and outcomes. Pat confirmed that expertise leads to growth, expertise creates leadership and expertise ensures client engagement and longevity.
  • Flat teams – Flat teams create highly accountable teams. At Pensar, we avoid the koalas which, for us, are the protected species that hide from the business deliverables. Pat mentioned the fact that our teams are nimble and agile, and they run as stand-alone businesses with a high level of individual attention to detail and a strong group focus.
  • Simplification of processes – Far too often infrastructure companies and those working in the water sector, simply layer over what was done before complicating systems, protocols and standards. At Pensar, we believe that there is beauty in simplicity and, if the systems are simple and streamlined, staff will follow these processes. Pat’s comments aligned with many of the comments and discussions from the Everyone Goes Home Safe panel workshop and said that safety documentation, management systems and business strategies all need to be simple and concise to encourage buy-in and adherence.


the infrastructure people Qwater’18

At Pensar, we believe that the art of leadership is getting our driven, focussed individuals to work together and create better infrastructure solutions and outcomes and Pat’s presentation at QWater’18 supported this approach to leadership.

For more from Pat, find him on LinkedIn.

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