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What is your superpower?

Constructing Excellence By Andrew Parkin, Partner, Acoustics – 24 March 2022

Children standing on running track in super hero costumes


Andy Parkin with acoustics feature background

Andrew Parkin

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Black Panther has enhanced senses, strength, speed, healing and reflexes; Captain Marvel has enhanced strength, can fly and can see the future; Spiderman can shoot webs from his wrist and can perform acrobatic feats; Daisy ‘Quake’ Johnson can produce massive vibrations that cause earthquake-like effects (an acoustic superpower!).

Some of these powers are active and available all the time, others are triggered by environmental events. Bruce Banner needs to get angry before turning into Hulk, Popeye eats a can of spinach etc.

But what is your superpower? We don’t have the super-human abilities of Marvel and DC characters, but everyone excels at something, that sets them apart from their colleagues and peers, making them invaluable allies in particular circumstances. Some may have not realised what theirs is yet, or may not be using it to their full potential. Some may only work to full effect when performing under pressure or with certain other people.

Some people have particular skills that are constantly in use, such as being good at talking to clients and new people, a keen eye for spotting solutions to technical challenges or the ability to take a macro view on a situation and use this to navigate the best course. Others really come into their own when put under pressure, or working alongside others with particular complimentary, or even contrasting, traits.

In a recent bid document, when listing who the key resources would be for the project, I listed out what their superpowers were too. Whilst the ability to instantly create buildings, or lift 10 tonne steel beams would have been particularly useful, instead we listed factors such as technical excellence, local market experience, multi-disciplinary thinking, eagerness, knowledge of legislation etc. We won the bid.

As a business of 1000 people we have an awesome collective of superpowers available to us. Some of these are used on projects, others are what makes Cundall run smoothly. Some are technical, some are people skills. All are vitally important. We really are more than the sum of our parts. As a consulting business we don’t make things, we don’t manufacture, it’s our ideas and advice that are our collateral. We also don’t have physical assets, we don’t own buildings or pension funds: our people are our only, and greatest, asset.

So, what will you do that is great today? What is your superpower?