As businesses emerge from covid19 shut downs and seek to reenergize their ventures, one asset above all others stands out as the most valuable resource that doesn’t appear on the balance sheet – quality long-standing relationships!
For many businesses, it has been their established relationships that have been the source of sales and life blood that has kept them afloat during the worst days of the pandemic.
It’s relationships that will provide the much-needed momentum to propel these operations forward when restrictions are lifted and normality returns.
It’s in tough times such as those being experienced at present or in past economic downturns that the real value of relationships becomes understood and appreciated.
In fact, I would go so far as to say that the value of a business should not be measured by a numeric figure in the books of account but instead by the strength of the relationships.
These include everyone the owner or enterprise engages with i.e. staff, clients, alliance partners, suppliers, competitors, community groups, industry associations …and the list goes on and on.
Unlike many of a company’s assets, strong relationships are not a diminishing resource that depreciate over time. When carefully nurtured and maintained they grow and the commercial benefit they provide the business multiplies.
The benefit for those businesses with strong relationships is that they are perceived positively. A benefit of this is loyalty is reflected in clients being the firm’s number one brand ambassador readily referring the organisation to friends, family and business associates.
There’s no argument that advances in technology and communication mediums assist and reinforce relationships.
Unfortunately, over time, and for a multitude of reasons, personal connectivity activities begin to wane. Impersonal email broadcasts, video teleconferences, tweets and non-descript newsletters become the ‘go to’ communication mediums and those once valuable connections evaporate.
As humans we are hard-wired to build trust and loyalty to other people, not to objects, processes or gimmicky advertising or technological mediums.
Loyalty and trust come from experiences that are communicated in person with warmth and competence.
Unfortunately, when it comes to relationships – every business is unique and different, so there is no ‘secret sauce’ or off the shelf solution that a business owner can buy and then apply.
For relationships to be effective, it is important to see the world from the client’s perspective.
So, the business owner needs to step outside themselves and see things through the eyes of the client and build the relationship accordingly.
There are however, three essential components that underpin strong relationships – 1) genuineness 2) the personal touch and 3) the need to get out of your comfort zone.
This requires getting out of the office and connecting in person. It is the ultimate MBA i.e. Managing By getting Around.
It’s for this reason that I view relationships as being no different to the foundations of a skyscraper.
They are not seen – are incredibly important – and the deeper / stronger they are – the higher and more structurally sound will be the building constructed on top.
In closing, those businesses that have nurtured those all-important connections and relationships are invariably rewarded with heightened business reputations and brands. They are elevated by the word of mouth and endorsed and promoted by appreciative and passionate clients.
We at CHTNetwork Australia believe in fostering a constructive, respectful and healthy networking platform that serves as an epicentre for “all good things in life to meet”. Having established an impressive profile as a networking platform in Malaysia for 14 years, CHTNetwork Australia is now dedicated to serving as the bridge that connects Australians, Malaysians and ASEAN entrepreneurs to share a symbiotic connection that is built firmly upon strong bonds of multiculturalism, trust and entrepreneurship. One of the tools which CHTNetwork uses to ‘connect’ is EZ Magazine.
No one can attest to the merits of global entrepreneurship more than Dylan Brady, the Conductor at Decibel Architecture, an architecture firm that passionately fuses art with practical, technical knowledge in the field, as their enthusiastically capable team continues to contribute stanzas to the everlasting poem of human cultural organisation and vivacious expression when society designs cities.
Mr Brady’s prestigious career of nearly 3 decades has birthed paragons of intricately detailed building projects across Asia like the Suzhou Science and Cultural Arts Centre* facade in China and Vietnam’s upcoming Ho Chi Minh City Eco Green Hyatt Tower, to name a few. Apart from creating Australian marvels of architecture like Melbourne’s Federation Square façade, dB(A))) is currently working on a series of significant cultural projects across South-east Asian and China to further fulfill Mr Brady’s dream of how his work can enable the citizens of the cities whose buildings dB(A))) designs to, “continue participating in the economic and cultural conversation of their respective countries and the planet”.
EZ Magazine Australia is honoured to be acquainted with Mr Brady and was delighted to interview him:
Who is Dylan Brady?
I was born in Melbourne and have been infused with a deep love of this city and its people. It is a global city with ambition and drive, and the place that I always return to as home.
I describe myself as a Husband, Father and Architect. It’s a reminder – to me mainly – to ensure that what is urgent does not distract from what is important. My purpose has always been bold. Architecture as a profession and passion represents a fusion of art, sculpture, engineering and the fundamental human expression of the City. I have been driven by design excellence all my life – opportunities, creativity and energy can be harnessed to push the boundaries of what might be.
Decibel Architecture (“dBA”) is now more than 5 years old and has enjoyed success over these years. What do you think are the 3 most important characteristics of a successful business?
To me the pillars of successful business are People, Purpose and Product. People are the most fundamental part of a successful business – myself and the team, our clients and their teams, and most importantly our common market. Purpose is the heart of our practice – this enables us to distil and enable our clients’ purpose and embody that in the Product we create. These creations must be exceptional and deliver high performance outcomes, ultimately attracting people to the business, as partners and clients in new work.
To what extent has exposure to architecture from across the globe influenced dB(A)))’s design philosophy?
Architecture is Human – it’s Global. I have never seen it any other way. Through our work and experiences over the last 20 years through Australia and South East Asia, I see the challenge and opportunity and common purpose of Architecture as Global. Lessons from one project and place, help enhance and innovate in another – and often the innovation is happening outside developed centres, not just within them. We are interested in culture – in difference and adaption, and in how materials, crafts and processes are enabled by new technologies to deliver solutions in a rapidly changing world.
What is your greatest challenge as founder of studio505 and subsequently dB(A))) and where do you see the company in the next decade?
Igniting and instilling enthusiasm and passion in the vision of the practice and its projects is the foundation of great work. Being open to the challenge of change is paramount – and we do this by ensuring our adaptability and resilience is responding to external and internal drivers. We thrive in our relationships which ensures we continue to offer ethical, ecological and exceptional outcomes to our clients and staff. We focus on how we as a business can act to maximise our impact on changing the world for the better. The world in 2030 is guaranteed to be very different from today- change is the only constant. We plan that in that future, dB(A))) has contributed to the shape of that future, and that our core values, our principles and our purpose remains actively engaged in contributing to the next decade ahead.
Why should clients choose dB(A))) compared to other architecture firms? How does dB(A))) maintain the edge over its competitors?
dB(A))) promises fresh eyes. We propose sophisticated responses that meet economic objectives, but that go beyond simply utilitarian expectation. We are powered by deep strategic thinking – exploring, researching and challenging the brief to ensure the best possible vision and value add. We are ethical, ecological and exceptional and are driven by the idea that expectations can be exceeded, and that aspirations can be realised and delivered in creative, inspirational and innovative ways. As such we are unafraid of large and small challenges and enthusiastically thrive on their solution. When you work with dB(A))), you work directly with us, and share in our vivid thinking.
Architects and clients are like artists and businessmen, how do you balance their demands and at the same time not losing your creativity?
Architecture is not simply decoration, it is not only sculpture, it must deliver beyond an aesthetic impression. At dB(A))) we think of our buildings as instruments – take the violin as an example – it must be finely crafted, balanced, functional and beautiful, but its purpose is not itself. Its purpose is also not that someone can play music on it – that is its function – its purpose is for that music to raise the spirits and souls of the audience. The projects we build have functional needs but must still raise the soul – the design embedded in an object has value in delivering those outcomes – functional, formal, and transformative. We think of the design process in the same way – our clients are not merely businessmen and women, but partners in a shared purpose. Equals who guide each other towards exceptional outcomes. Finding this balance can be challenging – all the best experiences are. But it is also hugely rewarding.
Many of your projects are impressive in terms of its scale. How do you achieve the finer details of a project without compromising its overall vision?
From chandeliers to cities – our rigour and continuous attention to detail, consistency of application of design thinking, and ongoing communication of the outcomes we are all seeking to achieve. That last 3% of project is like the last 3% in the Olympics – it transforms good to great, and great to remarkable. By defining what is fundamental to a project, we create a touchstone that guides every hand that works with us, that aligns our efforts and makes everyone a contributor to a coherent whole.
Which is the project that you are most proud of?
You mean who is my favourite child? I am proud of just about every one of our projects – built and unbuilt. Each is radically different, but I have the deepest connection to those projects founded in Purpose. That have required bold innovation to deliver. A shortlist rather than a singular favourite would include our home the Pixel Building, that continues to inspire environmental efforts globally and in our own current work; the Ng Teng Fong Hospital wards that continue to heal people in a remarkably innovative environment of salutogenic design; the One Victoria project that is founded in science, innovation and technical exceptionalism and will create the perpetual fund for the Royal Society of Victoria to eternally advocate for and grow science competency in all Victorians; and the Wujin Lotus that continues to deliver joy to young and old and make a Place in people’s hearts; I am proud of all these and more, but in the end, the project I am currently most proud of is Decibel Architecture itself – the idea that we can build a culture to design a practice that can deliver and contribute such outcomes is remarkable, and I have a lot of pride in my team.
What are some of the new and exciting projects dB(A))) is currently working on?
We have just completed the new interior fit-out for John Holland – a 7500m2 workplace that we are very excited to see come to life. We have some permits in hand for new wineries and functions centres and are working on some very interesting masterplans in Japan and Tasmania. We have the new ‘Worlds Greenest Building’ underway in Shanghai, as well as the super slender One Victoria project for the Royal Society of Victoria. At the same time, we are delivering a 275m Hyatt Hotel tower in Ho Chi Minh City, three exciting pavilions in the Dubai Expo 2020 and some multi-residential and boutique hotel projects in Melbourne.
What do you think is the fine balance dB(A))) achieves when it comes to integrating its architecture, urban planning and interior architecture divisions?
We see no rigid demarcation in design. Design is free from scale and division. We approach a project holistically – be it a chandelier or a city – from yield, through to innovation, we continuously look to understand what the purpose of the project is. We seek to refine and enhance that throughout the ‘disciplines’ in our network. We love to work with specialists in their fields, and to weave them into the story of the projects – a landscape approach to urban design, and interior perspective on facades- this way of seeing with fresh eyes brings intriguing propositions previously unexplored to the fore.
Are the new generation architects as passionate and as hardworking as senior architects like you?
Absolutely. Possibly (and thankfully) even more so! Our team is a diverse and capable tapestry of generations and cultures- all experienced and enthusiastic professionals. We thrive both on our differences and in our common passion for the exceptional.
Any advice for those wanting to pursue a career in architecture?
You have to love it – it has to call you. It will be clear to you already if that is true, so then try to discover what your own personal purpose is- and follow that with architecture as your instrument.
Considering how CHTNetwork Australia seamlessly comple-ments its “networks” to project the “net worth” of their patrons;
I believe that dB(A)))’s partnership with one of the most influential networking platforms in the region will be ridden with success, mutual respect and newfound friendship. In a way, we’re both storytellers. Whilst my friends at CHTNetwork Australia help illustrate businesses and the profoundly professional, colourful people who bring them to life; we at dB(A))) take pride in delivering exceptional outcomes by envisaging a world that has yet to exist whilst crafting that tale to our clients in an idealistic but practical manner. We as architects are charged with the rewarding and challenging task of convincing the world to believe in things that don’t yet exist, and the tools we employ in our craft helps us tell these stories more clearly, emotionally and effectively. I am most excited to see our mutually beneficial friendship with CHTNetwork Australia spread dB(A)))’s vision to challenge the status quo and create the opportunity for us to explore, create and deliver on designs for projects that not only beautify, but also improves our world.
Senator David Van Victorian senator of the Australian Parliament 澳大利亚维多利亚州参议员
Senator David Van was born and raised in Melbourne’s bayside suburbs. Van was elected as a Victorian senator for a six-year term in the Australian Parliament in 2019 representing the centre-right Liberal Party.
Prior to his election, Senator Van ran his own business specialising in crisis management. His unique approach to solving reputational problems meant his skills were in demand in Australia and internationally, including Malaysia.
“Australians and Malaysians share many values and this leads to better outcomes when working together. I would like to work closely with Malaysia on areas of mutual interest and, where possible, bring Malaysian innovation and investment to Victoria.”
Senator Van has been a long-time supporter of Victoria’s diverse and multi-cultural demography. Since his election to the Senate, this experienced and well-liked politician used his position to try and bring the many communities together in Melbourne by regularly hosting consular round tables, ensuring all voices are heard.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Senator Van called out on the racism facing international students in Australia. In a letter to The Star he wrote, “It is unacceptable that anyone should have to put up with such cowardly and reprehensible racist behaviour. It is utterly un-Australian and is condemned by all Australians. Every person in Australia – whether they arrived here recently, or their families have walked these lands since time immemorial – should never face aggressive acts based on their heritage.”
Senator Van also believes strongly that the best way to improve people’s lives is to give them the ‘dignity of work’ in secure, well-paid and safe jobs. A champion for small businesses, this dapper individual has a passion for helping them overcome many hurdles. “Small businesses are the engine room of the Australian economy and enabling them to thrive with lower taxes, less red tape and more opportunity is the best way to give more Australians a secure future.”
He enjoys a wide range of outdoor activities, especially diving and has dived in some of Malaysia’s best dive spots.