An interview with Harald Oissner

20 questions after 20 years with the company.

After 20 years with the company, we let our Managing Partner, Harald Oissner, review the history of the company in a personal interview.


  1. How do you look back on the last 20 years in your company?

When I started working in this company 20 years ago, the professional world was different: It was not a matter of course that everyone had a PC workstation, fax and e-mail were equal forms of communication, the response time to correspondence was much longer, CAD was not yet a matter of course and BIM was not known. So a lot has changed in the last 20 years. Of course, I have also changed myself in these 20 years. When I joined the company, I was a young man with an architectural education, ideas and goals, and already a few years of professional experience. Today, I am established in this profession and have already developed a great routine on many topics.


  1. Looking back, what are you most proud of?

A little more than ten years ago, my boss left the company from one day to the next due to illness. Of course, I was already doing a lot of things on my own at that time, but it was still a big challenge for me to suddenly and rather unexpectedly be responsible for everything on my own. But I have managed this very well and we have been able to steadily increase the number of employees right from the start. I was and I am really very proud of that.


  1. What do you like about being a Managing Partner?

I really appreciate the responsibility and independence of working, because it suits my personality very well. My goal has always been to be proactive. That is an essential issue in self-employment. For architects, due to the rules of professional conduct and the legal basis, it is not only a question of a management position, but also of ownership. This is a second, very important component.


  1. What is the best and what is the most difficult part of being a Managing Partner?

The best part of the job for me is the autonomous and self-determined work. But at the same time it is also the most difficult part, because you are always forced to make decisions whose accuracy will only become clear in the future.


  1. Do you have any regrets from the last 20 years?

I have no regrets.


  1. How would you describe your leadership style in three words?

assertive, results-oriented, democratic


  1. Have your leadership principles changed over time?



  1. What motivates you in leadership?

I come to the office motivated every day. I see our work as a service and want to provide it as well as possible. I also try to pass this on to our staff.


  1. What career event has had the greatest impact on you?

After so many things have happened in the last 20 years that have shaped me personally as a whole, I cannot name a single event.


  1. What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career?

As already shared, the biggest challenge in my career was the unexpected resignation of my former boss, Prof. Dr. Peter Czernin, from the company.


  1. Have you ever been afraid of failure? Do you have any good advice on this?

I was never afraid to fail because I didn’t have the time to think about failure. In my opinion, if you think too much about what might not work in this profession, it is generally better to not start your own business.


  1. What do you think the company’s mission and vision are?

I have been defining the vision for a few years now and it is very clear: the goal is to be an architecture-led general planning company that provides all the necessary planning services in-house. Of course, this also includes all specialist planning topics such as structural engineering, technical building equipment, building physics, etc. We are working very hard to achieve this goal. We are working very hard towards this goal. However, the last few years have not made the project any easier. The path to this goal is essentially characterised by a lot of necessary coordination and cooperation.


  1. What characteristics would you use to describe your team and the way they work?

As already mentioned, it was and is my goal to achieve the best possible service for our clients. This requires qualities that go beyond those of a good general planner or architect. For each project, we try to fully grasp the task at hand and advise the client in areas that actually have nothing to do with the subject of architecture or general planning. It is also always our aim to use the latest technologies in our working environment. In recent years, we have invested a lot of time and money in BIM and sustainability, because we always want to keep our finger on the pulse.


  1. What do you expect from the company’s employees?

I expect engagement, skill and interest in all areas of architecture. If these qualities are brought along, a lot is already fulfilled.


  1. How do you think one could awaken the entrepreneurial spirit in young people?

I think this is very difficult because it also depends a lot on the personality. There are people and personalities who are entrepreneurial types and others who are not. It also involves a certain willingness to take risks, which cannot be learned. Whether someone is such a personality or not, however, has nothing to do with the general qualification of a person. Furthermore, a high level of commitment and flexibility are also essential qualities.


  1. What are the most important topics in the building industry at the moment?

From a technical point of view, it is certainly the topics of BIM and sustainability that are currently dominating. Otherwise, we have been in a special situation since March 2020, which has not yet come to an end.


  1. If you could, what would you remove/introduce here tomorrow?

Nothing. In the last decade I have removed everything I wanted to remove and introduced everything I wanted to introduce.


  1. From your perspective, what is particularly important in this industry in the next few years?

I believe that the quality of flexibility is particularly in demand in difficult times. You can’t think in fixed ways here, you have to be particularly flexible.


  1. What do you wish for the future of the company? What is important to you personal in this aspect?

Personally, it is important to me that this company continues to exist after my retirement and that other personalities then make the necessary decisions.


  1. Where do you see yourself in the next 20 years?

For me, I cannot look 20 years ahead from a career point of view, because I assume that in 20 years I will already be enjoying my retirement. Having spent a lot of time with and in this profession over the past decades, it is not my goal to work forever.


Thank you very much for your time and your detailed answers.