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John Holman, director of housing, Milton Keynes Council ...
John Holman, director of housing, Milton Keynes Council

Who or what has been your greatest inspiration?

There is no one individual but more a group of people. I enjoy reading autobiographies of individuals who have been single minded enough to achieve great things, such as explorers, the military and politicians.

What's the best thing about your job?

I have previously worked for housing associations and districts - this is the first time I have worked for a unitary authority operating a cabinet system. The scope to get things done and the speed with which decisions can be made is phenomenal.

What gets you through the day?

Days are long in Milton Keynes and we have a commitment to sorting the work/life balance, when we get time. It is the variety of issues you become involved in and the ability to make a difference.

What's the biggest mistake you've ever made?

Many and varied and I am sure there are more to come. At work it is not being clinical enough - I should give up on issues earlier, rather than trying to salvage something that is lost. Outside of work? It's not keeping in touch with old friends.

Where and when were you happiest?

Almost anywhere where there is the right combination of family, friends, sun, windsurfing and red wine.

Describe your management style in three words

Plan, trust and monitor.

If you weren't in local government what would you be doing?

I have already had a taster in Kosovo in 1999. I think I would be working for the United Nations or government organisation in post-conflict regeneration, Iraq for example.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I had an unsuccessful trial for Northampton Town FC, so it wasn't as a footballer. I am still not sure what I want to do.

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