State of Origin – the battle of the businesses


State of Origin - the battle of the businesses - 2020 - Wattsnext Group

There’s been a long standing rivalry between Queensland and New South Wales. I grew up on a border town and let’s just say you wouldn’t want to cross the bridge at state of origin time (ok, slight exaggeration, but you get what I mean).

There seems to be a big divide in opinion when it comes to working and living in Sydney. In one camp you have the people who love the idea, the other camp the people who hate it. But for me, when the opportunity to move to Sydney to open the wattsnext NSW office came up, I didn’t hesitate.

Having been physically on the ground now for over a month in the heart of Sydney I’ve noticed the differences run deeper than just what colour jersey we wear around June/July.

Frantic busy vs. purposeful activity
A lot of people warned me all I would be doing in Sydney was rushing around, and there is certainly a buzz in Sydney but a lot of the activity is with a purpose. From what I’ve experienced there are less people wearing busy as a badge of honour, and more just getting out there and getting things done! For me, it feels to be more about efficiency than rushing – so prepare for quick and purposeful meetings.

Slow decision making vs. fast decision making
In the theme of “getting things done”, when it comes to making a decision there seems to be a lot less time spent “thinking about it”. What this means from a business point of view is that proposals need to be turned around quicker, and the message you’re delivering needs to be clear and concise – you don’t want to miss the opportunity because you can’t communicate your value!

Your value proposition when networking
There is a big emphasis on valuing and respecting your own time. When it comes to connecting with people there are two key things I’ve learnt so far around building business relationships and networking:

  • You have to make an impact and be memorable. Don’t be superficial or just ask the usual questions. If you can understand what a prospect’s true drivers are (and pain points) you’re more likely to create a deeper connection.
  • Everyone I’ve met and spoken with has been so generous with their time. But, to go from the first date to a flourishing relationship I’ve found if you can offer something of value (beyond just being an excellent company) you’re more likely to get a second and third “date”.

The good old work life balance debate
Maybe it’s because there’s not too much to do in Brisbane during the week (sorry Brisbane!), but flexibility around work hours seems to be embraced a lot more in Sydney. Many businesses care less about the time spent at work, and more about getting the outcomes. We’ve recently advertised for more people to join our team, and the ad highlighted successful candidates propose to us what hours they want to work – I want my team to be working at their peak energy levels. We’re really trying to leverage off this and so far the response has been great!

Of course, these observations are from a small snapshot of time since we’ve open and I’d love to hear your opinions! What do you think some of the key differences are between businesses in Brisbane and Sydney?

I’m loving the energy and vibrancy that I’ve experienced in Sydney and am looking forward to the excitement (and challenges!) this journey is going to bring.



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About the author

Wattsnext Group is a compilation of ideas and expertise from the entire team, past and present with a few added gems from guest authors from time to time. With this collaborative approach, you'll get a broader perspective and high-level of expertise across the HR landscape


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