Grow through what you go through – how hard times made Woods what they are now
From originally not knowing what a surveyor was in my pre-uni days, to joining the company in 1992 when there was just three of us, I never expected to go on the journey we’ve been on and to still be here with the company today. Now, Woods has 167 staff members, is the leading consultancy in Auckland, and is the 11th largest engineering company in New Zealand. As we’re nearing the end of 2020, a year that’s been challenging for many people and businesses, I thought sharing a little bit about Woods’ history and values might show how we got to this point and might also serve as a reminder that tough times don’t last, but good people do.
While Woods appears a pretty strong consultancy today, it hasn’t always been the case. Overall, it’s been a bit of a grind – we’ve gone through 3 recessions, we’ve unfortunately made people redundant in those early years which was one of the hardest things we’ve ever had to do, we’ve dipped into our own pockets to keep the company going and our staff paid, we’ve worked from dusk til dawn for weeks and months on end, and we’ve been through the hysteria of Y2K (this one’s actually a bit of a laugh looking back). So, the 90’s and 2000’s were definitely dark days not only for us, but everyone in New Zealand and around the world. For Woods and the few team members we had, I think the key things that held us together – only just – back then, were our strong family values and our support in one another. These aspects continue to be the foundation of the company and are what will lead us into the future too.
When faced with those challenges, we never had a blame culture, and this is how it continues to be. We stand up and deal with issues when they come up, we learn from our mistakes, and we help each other when things do go wrong. We simply don’t throw others under the bus, which I think is important. These experiences have also made us more resilient, more organised, and better equipped to withstand some of the unpredictability that has faced us since – this year’s prime example being COVID-19 (sorry to drop the C word, I know we’re all sick of it).
I believe that all of these things, along with our flat, hierarchical structure, have assisted in our success in the field, in nurturing a strong culture, an excellent reputation, and the reason behind why we have so many long-standing team members today. Our commitment to new people and graduates is also part of our growth and resilience over time when different things have happened. As a strong training organisation, we provide them the opportunities and freedom to explore the areas they’re interested in, and we love seeing them achieve and deliver results.
For the future of Woods, I know that our values and work ethic that have been ingrained from the start will only strengthen. I love the company, I love the people, I love the exciting range of projects the team works on, I love the end result for communities, and I love the growth we see in people. We’re at the start of an interesting period of change, and there’ll be lots of opportunities for those younger people coming through to take Woods to another level. Armed with a strong character and the learnings from testing times, I know that Woods will keep growing, adapting, and delivering, just like we always have.