Our associate Richard Egan had the opportunity to attend an event, hosted by Michael Page Recruitment in September. The event had 2 successful Global Procurement Leaders speaking about their career journey and offering sound advice to those seeking to reach high level Leadership roles. We’d love to take credit for the suggestions we are about to outline, but these have happily been stolen from the two guest speakers; Nicolas Bertrand and Edward Gardner and the common tips they shared are as follows….
Know your USP
Both speakers made a reference to USP and in two parts;
Be an expert in a specific topic area, relevant to the nature of your business. This could be marketing, a particular product, big data, trade routes, whatever. But be a real expert and know this topic area like the back of your hand. Let it distinguish you from your counterparts.
The second aspect related to understanding your real strengths and as the old saying goes, playing to your strengths. One thing both speakers mentioned related to being able to articulate how your strengths play out across a range of scenarios. So, if you are great at identifying risks in a manufacturing process, how would you apply this to identifying risks in a shipping process?..
Take a risk
What really stood out about both speakers was the fact that they both took on roles that would appear to be somewhat risky. One moved from a role with a FSTE 100 to an unknown business. This move gave him the opportunity to gain board level experience, before moving back to more Senior positions in larger organisations. The part that really stood out was the reference to taking risks within their current roles. i.e. taking on projects and jobs that others did not want to do.
Understand that it is all about people
What was striking about hearing them speak about people was their reference to knowing and managing their stakeholders, both the people in their teams and those outside their department. They put emphasis on really understanding the priorities of their stakeholders and ensuring that they met these needs.
One important lesson to take from both speakers is the need to develop resilience. Because we all want to maintain our USP when others challenge our approach, take risks which may fail and still considering the needs of others when your own role is tough. One of the speakers mentioned that in order to really develop resilience you need to fail, but be able to pick yourself up, learn from those lessons and move on. Perhaps this is one of the key aspects of developing a leadership career, the ability to accept that failure is a key aspect of this career path and having the resilience to continue moving forward!
More educational blogs on Leadership & Management will be with you over the coming months! Keep a look out on our homepage for our latest or visit LBL Skills Blog Archive for all of our blogs. For more informative Blogs from our ILM associate, please visit Rich Learning Solutions Blogs Archive.