Chris Griffiths on why it could be time for a smartwatch
Running a business takes determination – and strategy. As managing director of Sirius Resources, Mark Bennett helped drive the discovery of the Nova-Bollinger nickel discovery in Western Australia’s Fraser Range, and built the company into a $1.8 billion heavyweight at the time of its takeover. His new exploration venture, S2 Resources, is due to list on the Australian Securities Exchange this month. He shared his thoughts on running a resources company in a recent speech to the WA mining Club. Some highlights:
Don’t follow everyone else
Sirius eschewed the leafy mining enclave of West Perth and set up an office in Balcatta, an industrial area north of Perth. There were fewer distractions, it was a lot cheaper and we could get to work more easily, but the symbolism was important – we showed we were pursuing our own course rather than following the herd, and people recognised that.
Structure can get in the way of communication
Rather than be like a big company with a hierarchical organisational structure, ours was very, very open. We relied on good communication and if you don’t really know each other you can’t really communicate. You’ve got to have the strength of personality to say what you think and argue with your boss about what you think is right. In many big companies, people have good ideas but don’t have the circumstances or strength of personality to put it on the block and argue the toss.
Wear what you want
We’re pretty relaxed. We don’t have rules and regulations imposed on us by others so we’re about substance rather than style. Suits don’t make you more clever and high-visibility gear doesn’t make you more safe; it’s what’s inside that counts. In exploration you need creativity, and if you take a lot of unusual and creative people and try to hammer them into a square hole, it’s not going to work.
Everyone needs to be incentivised
Sirius employees all held shares in the company. If you own something you go about it differently to how you do it as an employee.
Small is good
No-one worries about what they’re called or how big their desk is or who is going to get the next promotion. Our office is sometimes quite anarchic and a stranger walking in wouldn’t necessarily think there’s a lot of work going on but there certainly is. It’s not about quantity, it’s about quality.
Remember you’re spending other people’s money
Because we’re an exploration company we need to be aware that we’re spending other people’s money, and that we spend it wisely. In all the time at Nova, from before discovery right through to the takeover, my tent was still there even when the mining camp was built. I slept in it whenever I was out there, and as much as anything it was to remind people we weren’t always what we were then.
Plan B is overrated
Sometimes, not having a plan B is a pretty good thing. If you don’t have a plan B, you have to make plan a work.