Recently Jason Hinton and I were in London co-hosting a series of events where leading Accounting and Financial professionals shared stories from their careers.
Their successes, challenges, achievements and the obstacles they overcome along the way made for fantastic, though-provoking conversations.
From each of the speakers at the three events, I took away something that I can apply to my own career and guidance that can be shared with candidates. I know too that for those in the audience, there was so much value in the insights they heard, whether it was something new or a timely reminder.
For me, some of the top takeaways were:
Focus on what is business critical and don’t sweat the small stuff
Getting bogged down in the day-to-day tasks is a trap many of us fall into during busy times but it can stop you focusing on priorities. Make a point of recognising if you’re in this space, take a step back and consider what will add the most value and what to let go of. If something can wait until tomorrow, then leave it. What’s the worst that can happen?
This was reinforced by many of the panel speakers, who attribute much of their success to having self-belief and not dwelling on the negative when things go wrong. After all, our mistakes are opportunities to learn! A lot of us experience doubt and it can be particularly challenging to turn this around in times of adversity or to take the first step when we’re trying something new. Believing in ourselves is key – especially when we’re aiming for promotion.
It’s okay to change direction
Don’t be afraid to chart a different course, even if it’s later in your career journey. This could be a different type of role in the same company, a new industry or an entirely new path. If you’re thinking of a change, it’s important to examine your transferable skills and determine whether you’ll need to undertake study or upskill in new areas. If you’ve researched your options and you’re confident in the opportunities ahead, go for it!
Never stop learning
The pace of change in today’s world can be overwhelming. Never has it been so difficult to keep up with technology and developments in the workplace. But the best way to face it is to be prepared – keep your skills relevant, be open to development and learning opportunities and embrace change.
Several of our panel speakers commented that they wished they’d been themselves more earlier in their career. It takes a lot of time and energy to be someone you’re not and it’s easier to be authentically you.
Focus on the future
Remain focused on your next steps and gaining the skills and experience to get you where you want to go. Push yourself, get out of your comfort zone, network and make time to learn from those with different views and skills.
All of these things will help you grow, help you take the next step and help you to be a valued employee.
Know when to go home!
Work hard when you need to but go home when you can. We all know how important work life balance is but how many of us have missed an event, catch up, date or simply an opportunity to spend time out of the office due to work? I know I’ve been guilty of this! Making sure we switch off from work when we need to focus on what’s important in our lives really is one of the best things we can do for ourselves.
On behalf of Hunter Campbell, Jason Hinton and I would like to thank the following people for taking the time to share their views and stories in London:
- Andrew Thompson, Chief Financial and Business Officer at Sail GP
- Adèle McLay, Investor, Entrepreneur and Speaker
- Elizabeth Stone, UK Asset and Wealth Management Leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers
- Jessica Leyland, Head of Commercial Finance, BBC Studios
- Richard Eaddy, CEO, Hedgebook
- Genevieve Steele, ICG Markets, CITI (Consultant)
- Francine Stevens, Head of Innovation, Hiscox
- Remy Morgan, Credit Analyst, DBS Bank