Meet the MD: Daniel O'Donnell

No two days are the same for Rosconn founder and MD Daniel O'Donnell as he talks to BQ about his journey at the helm of the Warwickshire-based property specialist. Read more about his journey so far...

Describe your role in no more than 100 words.

I founded Rosconn Group ten years ago and I can safely say that no two days are the same.

I am primarily involved with the strategic planning of our projects, which means one day I can be negotiating the legal process and the next I’ll be working with the land and planning team to decide what strategy will unlock the planning permission and value in the land.

It’s a very personal role and, as well as leading my own team and working, inter alia, with landowners, I frequently communicate with the local community and key local stakeholders, ensuring all parties are working in unison to achieve the best possible results.


What is it the company does?

Rosconn Group specialises in the master planning and creation of both niche luxury housing schemes and larger strategic residential developments. Within our strategic land model we work with the landowner to provide advice throughout the planning process, ensuring that we create well thought out and carefully designed developments that are sympathetic to, and benefit, the local area.


What do you believe makes a great leader?

There are many different qualities that make a great leader but, from my own experience, I believe that the most important is to be a constant source of motivation for your team. Empathy, tenacity, understanding, a willingness to listen and having a certain amount of grit will also get you far.


What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?

Three years after founding Rosconn Group, I found myself having to navigate through the financial crisis of 2008. Overcoming the hurdles that this presented was most certainly the biggest challenge I’ve faced as Managing Director. It required a lot of personal financial risk, determination and hard work but knowing that we overcame it and are celebrating our tenth anniversary later this year definitely makes it worthwhile.


How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?

I’m lucky to have a wonderful family at home and I know that, however stressed I am, my wife and children will always take my mind off work. I also aim to go for a run every morning and have meditated.

Thankfully, my team at Rosconn are a great support so I don’t often leave the office with too much stress. In any event, I do believe that a certain degree of stress is healthy as it can focus the mind to the task in hand.


When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Having a father who owned a groundwork and demolition company meant that I was always fascinated with construction and its various component parts. Due to this, I think I always knew that I would have a career of some sort in the property industry.


Any pet hates in the workplace?

The one characteristic that I really dislike is laziness. I believe that hard work gets you the results you want, so I wouldn’t work well with anyone that procrastinates, makes constant excuses or believes they can’t do something.


Where do you see the company in five years’ time?

We’ve come a long way in the past decade and the aim is that Rosconn will continue to grow over the next five years. I predict that we will double both our workforce and multiply or profitability several times over, as well as expanding our geographical reach.


What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?

Staying focussed on your goals would be the best advice I could give. Be prepared to put in a lot of hard work and put more hours in than everyone else. I also think it’s important to treat others as you would want to be treated yourself.  

Understand that the knocks and blows that you are dealt are life lessons and they make you more resilient in the long term.


Where did you start your career?

I started my career at John Shepherd Land and Development where I gained a valuable insight into the industry working for two highly respected surveyors, John Shepherd and Mike Cutler. It was a golden era, of that there is no doubt.


Give us a brief timeline of your career so far.

Following my graduation from university where I studied real estate management, I began my career at John Shepherd Land and Development.  After five years at John Shepherd, I made the decision to set up Rosconn Group; something that has proved hugely successful and enjoyable over the years.