Hardik Devani - CEO Devani Architecture
Hardik Devani, CEO
Construction, Lower Hutt
Kim: Hardik has a great go-getting entrepreneurial spirit and his real work-on was to lead, and how to work smarter not harder, which is common for start-up leaders. We built Hardik’s capability to make that transition possible.
Part of that process involved quickly identifying his goals around, ‘Why are you in business?’, ‘Why did you set up your business?’, ‘What is your purpose?’ and understanding how to grow with a solid business analysis on what is and isn’t working.
I also unpacked a high-level strategic analysis of the business’s organisational structure to ensure that there's engagement around key personnel and getting their buy-in around where any pain points lie, and how the team can all start taking some responsibility for their growth.
Dovetailed into that I continued that work with Hardik to reaffirm how to lead effectively; set meeting objectives and initiate core business practices, how to measure jobs to drive revenue and profit and more.
Leaders need to understand the importance of building capability underneath you and empowering people to then do it. Hardik has taken all the advice on board.
Hardik: The first and the biggest outcome from working with Kim was around having a bit more clarity in what we do. That’s because I’d only been in business for about four months before the first Covid lockdown hit in 2020 and I knew I really needed help.
I started my business quickly, together with a couple of friends, because I couldn’t tolerate losing my job again, and I wanted to be my own boss – that also meant I never want anyone else working with me losing their job without a high level of justification.
I’m a young business owner, and what happens when you’re just starting out is that you tend to fumble around planning to do this and that, but you need to prioritise certain components to make real progress.
Kim and I had a get-to-know each other session and straightaway she worked out where I needed that help the most – particularly in the areas of accountability and business systems processes. We’d meet up on a fortnightly basis and I’d have tasks to fulfill to keep me accountable. I took all the feedback I could from Kim every day – getting a better understanding of what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, and what it means to be a director and how that impacts on the wellbeing of the business.
We also did a lot of work around team training and recognising how we work, how to have a good attitude, how to work through certain types of situations, and what values will help take the business to a whole new level.
The message was, ‘the only way you can get this happening is if everybody in the team learns to be a leader’ and the team really bought into it; taking advice, implementing it and saying ‘Let’s add some extra tools to our skill sets and experience and see where it takes us’.
Putting that structure in place has helped the business move in the right direction – we know how important weekly meetings are, how important it is to clearly communicate tasks and goals, and how important it is for me to sit down with the team to really get things moving.
Kim helped me understand that it’s my job as a leader to get out there, improve myself, become a specialist at what I do, sell our services and then create a team environment that exactly understands my role while I understand my team’s roles – so that we can all come together and do some cool work.
When you work with Kim everything you touch is about development and improvement and I’m doing things that I wouldn’t have ever done without Kim.
We also worked on some important external outcomes, like putting together a website and wrapping more effective marketing around what we do.
We had a team of three, now we have eight and the business is doing well – it took six months of work before I got a holiday and I get to have weekends off now, which is a massive achievement! Kim takes the credit for that, and things would look so different if it wasn’t for her because we have proper systems in place to move us forward.
I’d love to carry on working with Kim. Kim has great empathy. She's patient, but at the same time, she knows how to deliver a message that works. Trust the process and just be your best version of yourself. It may take time, but be patient and it will be better.