Born, raised and educated in Newcastle Stephen Lambourne is a Senior Partner of Lambourne Partners, an eight-partner practice based in Hamilton.
He is a conscientious businessman who strives to always do the right thing in business and in life and mentors his team to do the same.
Stephen believes the best leaders are those that are involved in the process and easily accessible.
- Could you tell us a little about your career path?
On completing my HSC I obtained a traineeship in Hunter Street. After doing my traineeship and getting my professional qualifications I went into practice with a fellow by the name of Tim Wardle at The Junction. After some years Tim relocated out of the area and Scott Lucas joined our practice and that was the humble beginnings of Lambourne Partners as it now exists.
- What do you believe has shaped your leadership style?
Having been born, raised and educated in Newcastle it’s obvious Newcastle is a large country town. Most professionals know each other, most business people know each other, so I learnt early on in my career that if you ever do the wrong thing in Newcastle, one everyone knows about it, and two, you very rarely get a second chance. I made a conscious decision over my career never to do wrong by anyone in my business and personal dealings. I believe that has very much shaped my leadership style and it is something that I mentor my younger partners on as they develop their own careers.
- What tricks do you have to manage your priorities and your time?
Priorities and time management in a busy, professional practice are always an issue. I believe professional pressures and business pressures have increased greatly over the years. The advent of email has put additional pressures, where clients expect instantaneous responses to emails. I think this, from a professional point of view, is extremely dangerous, especially when giving advice on complex and detailed commercial matters. I purposely set aside complex decisions and not respond and bounce straight back, think about them, research them, build my advice and go back with something structured. As far as time goes, chartered accounting is a very somewhat seasonal area where work just floods into the office and you think, wow, I am never going to get all this done. But after doing as many years that I have done you come to realise that the work all gets done especially if you don’t spend time worrying about it.
- How do you define the difference between a Manager and a Leader?
I think a manager controls people by giving directions, but a leader not only gives directions but becomes involved in the process and it is important that they always have an open door. At Lambourne Partners we have an open door policy where my door is always open any time of the day for anyone at any level, from a first year trainee, to any of my administration staff, to my most senior partners. I think that is an important aspect of leadership, being involved and being accessible.
- What local businessperson do you find inspiring?
Early in my career I was really lucky to be involved with some Chartered Accountants of great experience. The late Colin Forsythe, the late Cary McNabb and Tim Wardle. I drew a lot of inspiration from these gentlemen through the early part of my career. The other aspect of my development was from working with a lot of senior clients throughout my career; in some instances we have both grown together. One that comes to mind is a pharmacist, a long-standing client of mine, Paul Wilson. A more astute businessman you would not find. Yet on the other hand he is the most generous and socially responsible person that I think I have met. What Paul taught me is that you can actually combine a strong business base and the ability to make money without compromising your personal, family and social morals.