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"A truly collaborative, high performance team."
Nicole Bradley - Board Director and Partner
“Creating a truly collaborative, high-performance team environment. That’s what I’ve always strived for as a leader in the business.”
What drew you to working at Grant Thornton?
It was a great opportunity, obviously one I wanted to look at. It was an international firm; the people I worked with were fantastic, and from the beginning my interactions with the partners were really good, really positive. So it was an easy decision for me to come back as a graduate, after graduating and working casually initially.
What makes Grant Thornton different: when you began your career and now?
From the beginning until now, what differentiates Grant Thornton is its worldwide operations. Through that, you get to deal with a diverse range of interesting clients and businesses. You get to make a difference, and build really deep relationships. I meet many people who are really inspirational, and I try and take something from all of them.
What is the most valuable, enriching or exciting experience you’ve had working with Grant Thornton?
The opportunity to work internationally has been influential, professionally and personally. I certainly didn’t see it as a permanent move when I first came here! It was a hard decision to make. But taking yourself completely out of your comfort zone – what you know, where you’ve always operated – and propelling yourself into in a new place where no one knows you, the growth that can happen is incredible. We see it as a valuable growth opportunity, and we certainly encourage it of our people. We would have 15 people overseas at the moment on secondment, in various places and for different periods.
How have you helped shape the culture of Grant Thornton?
Since I’ve been in a leadership position, the thing I get the most satisfaction from is giving people the opportunity to grow significantly beyond where even they thought they could go. I take a lot of pride in that.
I think it’s important, also, to create a very collaborative, high-performance team environment. I try to ensure we’re all working together as a team, but continually improving on what we are doing for our clients and the service we are providing.
As Board Director, what are you top priorities for the next five years?
Rapid and disruptive change is going to continue to be a feature. The shape of accounting firms now and in five years’ time is also going to be significantly different: what services are provided, how work is delivered and where people work. So as a Director I’m looking at how Grant Thornton structures itself to make sure we’re ahead of that curve!
Keeping costs down is another priority. How firms meet the challenge of clients needing good, low-cost service provision, but also making sure you have the quality and training of your people right, is an ongoing issue.
What does diversity mean at Grant Thornton, and how is it best expressed?
Diversity for us revolves around the business case of having diversity of thought when developing solutions for clients. Matching our clients’ needs and their culture with our own. And having diversity of thought in leadership generally, to ensure that we’re getting a diverse point of view whenever we make key decisions within the firm.
What are your top priorities as National Head of Diversity?
There are four big issues. Identifying the diverse talent within the business and trying to progress those people as quickly as possible to ensure they’re in a pool to be selected for leadership. And having the best people means having diversity. Making sure the current leadership is well equipped to deal with recognising the value of diversity; that they’re aware of the natural bias that happens within organisations, and are able to counteract it is also important. Flexibility is something that’s gone significantly up the radar, too. It’s the demand of the generation coming up – we find it’s not just about women working flexibly, but all people wanting to get the balance right between their work life and their personal life. The last thing really is about creating that inclusive environment that allows diversity to shine within the organisation and be appreciated.
What excites you about Grant Thornton’s future?
I think we’re in a really unique position, focused on the mid-market in Australia; and the clear leader in that space. We’re able to service clients in the mid-market in Australia in a very different way to some of our competitors.