The things I know

Phil Kirby, Strategic director, Broadland District Council and president, Planning Officers Society

- Where did you study planning?

A five-year sandwich degree in urban and regional planning at Lanchester Polytechnic. I often wonder whether my employers were trying to tell me something when they sent me to Coventry.

- What skills did you have when you graduated?

Apart from a good grounding in planning, I discovered that there was life north of Watford. Most importantly I grasped the skill that if you listen hard enough you will have a chance of understanding what the other person is saying.

- What attracted you to planning?

It considers the past when looking to the future, it involves people and their surroundings and it is a job that gets me out of the office.

- What did you learn in your first job?

To never be satisfied that there is only one way of doing something. To identify what you are trying to achieve and just go for it.

- What skills have you had to learn over your career?

Knowing when to speak up and when and how hard to bite my tongue.

- What or who have been the biggest influences on you career?

A motivation to make things happen and not let bureaucracy get in the way to no good purpose.

- What is you career highlight?

Being elected president of the Planning Officers Society.

- What have you learnt outside work that has influenced you?

Nothing and everything, probably because I have difficulty in separating the inside and outside in this context.

- What further skills do you aim to obtain or develop?

A unique skill in which I can become proficient and involves a need to travel. Suggestions in an email please. On an everyday level, consultancy and facilitation skills and how to switch off.

- How important is it to keep abreast of developments in allied professions?

A better understanding of what is going on around you can make you a better planner in everything you do.

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