Alex Mitchell is a Director of Nulex Construction, a commercial and residential building company based in Bennetts Green. He is also the driving force behind Backyard Grannys, a passion project of Alex’s, which is a quirky and engaging brand that has seen incredible success.
In 2014 Alex was awarded the Excellence in Young Entrepreneurship Award in the Lake Macquarie Business Excellence Awards.
Alex believes a leader is someone who is a visionary and doesn’t let the little things distract them. His own leadership approach is inclusive and he is proud of the team that work with him in his businesses.
- How do you juggle separately branded organisations and still implement effective leadership?
Obviously we have the Nulex Construction brand and the Backyard Grannys brand ‚Äì whilst they’re both in the construction sector, they are very different businesses in the way that they’re managed.
Backyard Grannys business is one that has a process that is repeated time and time again. Whilst each job might be slightly different in its design, the process remains the same with each granny flat completed in a 12-week build cycle.
Whereas with Nulex Construction, every job is very individual. One week we could be doing an office fitout, the next week a Club refurbishment, the following week building a house. They are all different and they all have to be treated differently.
- What is one action or task you ensure you incorporate into your diary each week?
I have a big focus on taking some time aside to undertake personal development. I really believe in personal development, continuous improvement for myself is a very big thing and it’s something that translates into the business itself.
Within the business itself we’re constantly trying to improve the systems and the processes that we use. I believe that starts with me as a leader in the business, I must continuously improve and if I’m not doing that, then how can the business improvement.
- How do you define the difference between a Manager and a Leader?
A leader is someone who a visionary, someone that creates the vision for the business and for the team around them. They don’t let the little things get to them and they don’t let their team around them see the little things get to them. It’s very much about bigger picture.
Management is different, it’s very much about the general day-to-day running fo the business and making sure that the objectives are met and that everyone is doing what they need to be doing in the business.
- What leadership style do you use?
I lead by example in the business. I’m really passionate about being in business, and about this business. I like that to translate through to the staff, that they can see my passion and can see my commitment.
It’s not an ‘all or nothing’ approach. I’m very much family-oriented and I want my staff to be that way as well. So I try to show them that is a time that everyone needs to go home at night and that family should come first. We’re all here in business to do a good job but family needs to come first.
I would also say I look to be a team oriented leader and inclusive. I have a focus on letting people do what they do best. I have some great people working here, so I let them do their job. I let them have a bit of free reign where they need to, to do the best they can.
- What local businessperson do you find inspiring?
Paul Siderovski (Sidcor) is definitely someone I find inspirational. For me, as a business owner and someone who is a big believer in continuous improvement ‚Äì which is something I know he has a big focus on in his business ‚Äì it’s easy to find him inspiring.
I want this business to be somewhere that everyone wants to work, I’d like it to one day to be somewhere that is rated one of the best places in Australia to work!
His ability to go out, and not just stick within his pocket of what he knows in accountancy world, but to also go out into franchises and have a run at that because he sees an opportunity, is something that I really believe in. I think it’s something that we’ve done by going down the path of the granny flats, because it was stepping outside of the boundaries of what we had done before. Same field but something that is a bit of a slant off to the side, taking a chance.