Richard Mussell, managing director of consultancy Rund Partnership, on his route into the industry, the challenges he has overcome, his career highs and his cultural recommendations.
How did you join the property industry?
It’s all I’ve ever really known. My grandfather had his own construction business, which he started just after the Second World War. My father went on to work there before starting his own construction development business, which I ended up joining. My mother asked me what I wanted to do for a living and told me that there was nothing better than getting involved in property, as you could leave something tangible in the world that would be there forever.
What does your job entail now?
I’m the managing director for Rund – which means my main focus revolves around new business, staff management and the overall strategy and direction in which the company is heading.
What do you like most about the property industry?
Accountability. The industry is very raw and unforgiving, which means there’s no hiding. It’s a level playing field in that it doesn’t matter what education or background you have coming into the industry. At the end of the day, we’re all judged on whether we can deliver or not – if you can’t, you’re gone!
And what do you dislike most about it?
I don’t think our industry has done enough to change the perception of construction as a viable career path for younger generations. Our industry should be looking to galvanise stronger relationships with local schools to demonstrate what a career in construction is all about.
What would you change about the property industry?
The sector is renowned for being slow on the uptake and somewhat reluctant to the idea of change. Also, we don’t have enough people seeking a career in property. We’re a bit of a dying breed with an ageing workforce, so I would love to get the younger generation involved earlier.
What barriers or challenges do you feel you have overcome?
The early-1990s recession was tough. After graduating, I applied for more than 300 jobs and didn’t get a single interview. It was so tough to get into the industry, I thought I was never going to make it.
More recently, the global pandemic was something no one expected or could ever plan contingencies for. I’m pleased (and relieved) to say that the sector, and Rund, outperformed over the period, but there were so many learnings to take away from it, right down to company culture.
What are you most proud of in your career?
I’d say coming from a little village in Herefordshire to being at the helm of Rund and driving the business forward. We now have more than 80 staff and four different offices across the UK and are continually exceeding the targets we set for ourselves.
What do you value in people?
Integrity, trust and honesty are key. My word is my oath, so if I shake on a deal, I mean it and expect it to be reciprocated.
What advice would you give someone starting in the property industry?
Adopt a mindset of patience and tenacity. Just keep driving forward. You’ll experience loads of knocks along the way but just keep going forward because eventually hard work pays off.
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