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Happy people are good business

Halcrow has a very clearly defined vision and strategy that identifies how the company wants to work and what its values are.

'With our vision we're planting a flag in the ground and saying this is what we stand for, ' says director of business analysis Yaver Abidi. 'Some people will rally to it and others will not.' The company also has a set of values. 'These are a statement of how we plan to conduct ourselves.' Abidi says that in today's construction industry it is difficult for any company to differentiate itself purely in terms of technical capability or project management skills. 'The big way of being different is by creating a unique experience for anyone that comes into contact with Halcrow.' Halcrow has stated what its stakeholders - clients, employees, consulting or contracting partners, shareholders and the communities in which it works - should experience as it moves towards its vision. It is a code of conduct, says Abidi, 'but we can measure it. We say we'd like you to feel this way, and periodically we'll ask whether we are achieving this'.

That code includes 'act with integrity' and 'respect the dignity of others', making clear that Halcrow believes in the importance of 'soft issues', but according to Abidi this does not conflict with the need to be financially astute as a business.

'Good companies that have motivated people will make money, ' he says. 'Profit is a byproduct of good business.' This is best achieved by establishing long term relationships with clients that enable Halcrow staff to gain a genuine understanding of their specific business needs.

Business strategy also involves developing entrepreneurship, and staff are encouraged to think for themselves, understand business and identify and manage risk. It involves 'bringing imagination to everything we do'. 'Imagination is very important, ' says Abidi, 'because it doesn't have the technical bias that 'innovation' might have.

'Clients see our technical skills as a given. Now they're looking for other things - the ability to partner, understand their business challenges and issues, and break out of traditional ways of doing things and find other solutions to their problems.'

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