Mike Mortlock co-founded MCG Quantity Surveyors and is the resident tax depreciation guru. He has made a name for himself through his work with companies such as McDonalds, CMC Markets and Hilton Hotels.
He has completed thousands of depreciation schedules for commercial and residential property and is in demand as a public speaker and property commentator. He has featured in Australian Property Investor, Smart Property Investor, Property Observer, Sky Business and more.
In the office, he’s considered an irreverent, jocular, messy desked chap. Outside of work, Mike is an elite amateur triathlete, having represented Australia.
- Could you tell us a little about your career path?
It’s a bit of a funny one. When I was a teenager I thought I was going to be a fighter pilot and now I’m a quantities surveyor, so the similarities – I was going to say they’re endless – but there are no similarities, right?
Once I realised that path wasn’t going to work because I had medical issues that precluded me, I became interested in property. I took an extra year to do the HSC, so I ended up doing a real estate certificate. I realised that, as an introvert, I picked the wrong career. I was interested in property and the economic side of things, so I moved over to valuation.
Then, I guess I got to the point where I needed a job, got a job with a quantity surveying firm and thought I would move over my credits into a construction management degree. And that’s where I got into quantity surveying and, all these years later, to starting my own business in around 2011. Not exactly a direct path, but here I am.
- What motivates and drives you?
At the moment, as a business, we’re trying to get on the BRW Fast 100 list. I guess on top of that, personally, it was important to me when we started the business that we provide a rewarding place for employees. It’s important to us that we have an organisation with a great culture that rewards people that buy into our vision and our dream.
It’s important to us to understand that their life begins when they leave at 5:00pm or 8:00pm if there’s overtime because of a project or something like that. It’s really important to me that that’s the sort of culture that we’re building. I guess at the end of the day, a nice place for people to work and come together with our common vision.
- What do you believe has shaped your leadership style?
It’s a combination of my parents, I think to some degree. I had a salesman and a psychologist, so I’ve got a good mix there. A bit of imitation – we’ve all had people, whether they be family members or business bosses, that we look at and think, here’s something that I might take from them or something that could work for me.
I’ve always been interested in Greek philosophy, so I like the Socratic idea of teasing something apart. I guess it’s also a bit of trial and error as well. I think it’s important that it works for your personality, rather than say, I’m going to take this approach because it is what gets the results. It takes a mixture of all those things.
- What is one action or task you ensure you incorporate into your diary each week?
At the moment it’s Run Club. On a Friday morning I go for a run with our business development guy. It’s open to the whole team; he’s the only one that’s interested at the moment. I think there’s a really big correlation between health and fitness and business performance.
Outside of that, it’s really a business health check. I like to see how our survey responses are so I’ve got my finger on the pulse if there’s any issues there, and conduct a financial health check as well. We’re very open with our company’s goals with turnover and profitability and that sort of thing and we share that with the team. So, if we are all looking at that on a weekly basis, it keeps us pointed in the right direction and makes sure we all know where we’re heading. And it highlights any alarm bells of what we need to do to make sure we’re on track.
- Which local businessperson do you find inspiring?
Steph Hinds from Growth Wise has been a mentor of mine for a number of years. There’s probably a number of people. Marie from Camera Plus, who happens to be a sister of mine. She has that crazy entrepreneurial spirit.
Anna from Doughheads as well. We were kind of peers with a mentoring program and got to the point where we were saying, “Anna, you can do this. Go Anna, do it.” She’s built a huge business and a great following. I’m really inspired by people who just chuck in that cushy job; or they have an idea and they throw everything at it to see if it sticks. I think that’s fantastic and something that I really admire.