Arrow Construction Australia case study

Arrow Construction Australia is not your average construction company. When earthquakes devastated Christchurch, Arrow was on the ground rebuilding. Braving harsh conditions and limited months of daylight, Arrow refurbished Scott Base in Antarctica. And when New Zealand scored the winning goal in the 2011 Rugby World Cup, it was in Forsyth Barr Stadium – delivered by Arrow.

CEO Lale Ieremia knows better than anyone that managing complex construction projects takes more than just coordinating concrete and steel.

The challenge

Bridging the gap between the construction site and the boardroom is central to Lale’s role and key to Arrow’s success. ‘There are millions of things to be done when putting massive projects together,’ he says. ‘From your theoretical business analysts to your structural steel fabricators, there’s such a diverse mix of people to manage across the project spectrum. It’s my job as a leader to manage this effectively – and I have to get it right.’

Ensuring strong management is part of an ongoing development process that is important to Lale. ‘I started thinking about a development program a while ago,’ he says. ‘We looked at Harvard and MBS-Mt Eliza. In the end, MBS-Mt Eliza looked more appealing because most of our business will continue to be here in Australasia.’

The solution

At the recommendation of other directors at Arrow who had previously undertaken the program, Lale enrolled in the Advanced Management Program at MBS-Mt Eliza Executive Education. Designed specifically for experienced executives, such as Lale, who manage complex domains on a daily basis, the program incorporates a variety of methods to unlock the full potential of senior managers.  

What unfolded over the next 12 days was a journey that Lale describes as ‘profound’.  Reflecting on his learnings through the program, he says, ‘I can’t possibly do them all justice’, and emphasises fundamental nature of the ‘life-changing’ experience – on both professional and personal levels.

For Lale, the first of his key learnings was turning the spotlight on himself as a manager. ‘Before being able to help others and impact a team, you really need to understand yourself in some detail,’ Lale says. ‘And I thought I did… before I got there.’

The outcome

Through detailed feedback and personal analysis, Lale gained valuable insights into his personal management style. ‘It was good to have experts there to be able to understand what was coming out of that feedback,’ he says. ‘I realised how I could actually make changes to benefit both the team and myself, and gain results for the organisation moving forward.’

Another fundamental shift has been more fully understanding the importance of managing individuals’ behaviour to achieve a successful team dynamic. ‘When behaviour isn’t right, it doesn’t matter how technically strong you are. The team will move forward a lot slower than it should.’

Lale says the program has better equipped him as a leader to make the right decisions that improve team dynamic. He is already implementing changes that will have long-term impact for the company. ‘In the short time since I’ve finished the program, I’ve taken the time to make some immediate changes around behaviour. And as quickly as I have done that, I’m getting an immediate response back from the team.’

As Arrow continues to thrive across a range of diverse projects, Lale is ready for the challenge of leading his team and bridging the boardroom and the building site. ‘When I undertook the Advanced Management Program, I was more suited to the harder end of construction than the boardroom table,’ he says. ‘But through MBS-Mt Eliza, I was able to understand the synergies between these two environments and lead the business across both spheres.’

Find out more about the Advanced Management Program