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Leadership Lowdown

Leadership Lowdown: QLD GM Graham Cummins

Leadership Lowdown

Leadership Lowdown is a blog series where we catch up with members of the KJR team to explore what it means to be a leader in the new decade. Today we chat to GM of KJR Queensland, Graham Cummins.

Years in the Industry: 21 years

Started at KJR: In June 2019

Based in: Brisbane

Graham Cummins commenced his career with KJR three years ago, stepping into the role of General Manager for the Queensland region. Prior to KJR he had built a professional background in ERP software working for large organisations globally, “so joining a small-medium Australian business [like KJR] with an inclusive and supportive culture was very appealing.”

Over the years in his role as GM, Graham has uncovered his leadership style as well as his duty as a leader to “unlock the potential of my team by ensuring we have the right projects and structure in place, then get out of the way and let them shine.” This mantra is reflective of the primary value Graham lives out daily and believes every leader should possess- trust. “If a team cannot trust their leader to have their back, to deliver what they need to do their job then the company won’t reach its goals.” Within this belief lays the secret to his success, supporting his team and encouraging support within the team to deliver excellence.

On tackling the biggest challenge facing tech leaders today

Though the Covid 19 pandemic may not have imposed as many work from home mandates in the sunshine state, QLD- much like the rest of Australia- hasn’t been immune to the impeding pandemic affecting employee retention rates. “Obviously, employee retention is a huge issue across the IT Sector”. Graham’s response is to acknowledge the why, head on, to understand the how and what (is the most effective way of combatting the global rise in resignations).

Admitting he doesn’t shy away from the harsh reality that “if employees don’t feel they are doing important work, are learning, can enjoy what they do and are paid well to the job, then there are always other places to work”, has in turn helped Graham to provide his team what they need to maintain a healthy culture. Which is an open and supportive environment for his team to work in, where their talents and expertise can shine through but most importantly their concerns and desires are heard. 

Seeing double

Despite a global techie shortage, Graham so much doubled his employee base in a year. 2021 saw the welcome of two dozen new consultants to help meet growing client demands. His ability to establish trust with new employees while maintaining trusted relationships with his standing team members is attested to “open and consistent communication with all the team”. Graham reiterates that making the team feel supported and setup for success is key in a role like his, and urges fellow leaders to priorities these efforts especially amidst these remote working, and physically disconnected times.

His success in growing the QLD collective can be attributed to his personification of the KJR culture so heavily engrained within the company’s DNA. An embodiment of the KJR values Human, Champion, Truth-Teller and Explorer, Graham has cultivated an encouraging environment that empowers his team to display the same attributes, as predominantly and drives a warm and welcoming work environment poised for long-term retention

What’s next for the KJR QLD Collective?

It might not be surprising that the current focus for QLD is “growth, growth and growth!”. However the overall goal is to maintain and grow upon an interesting list of projects that the team can keep working on across our multiple service offerings; Software Quality Assurance, DevSecOps and Data Quality & AI Assurance.

So with that we continue to hire. If you’re looking for a great company, with excellent culture please contact Graham Cummins at graham.cummins@kjr.com.au or through his LinkedIn page here 

Graham’s final word of advice 

Remember that best thing you can do is to run a business that empowers your people, so you can get out of their way and allow them to be successful. The worst thing you can do is think you need to be “the boss” who controls every aspect of their work day, which invariably becomes the bottleneck to success.