Maintaining and projecting a clear vision
This time of year is often associated with post summer reflections, career considerations at the start of a new academic year and businesses moving into the last throes of the calendar year when budget and staffing decisions need to be made. It’s a good time to take stock and think about your own career, to see if you’re happy with where you’re at, and if not, what your future plan is. Of course, that path may change from time to time as you cannot prepare for unforeseen events such as personal circumstances, global events or economic uncertainty, but your ultuimate outcomes can still develop as you tackle new challenges. Having a clear vision of where you are heading helps keep you focused, but more importantly it enables you to deal with difficulties more positively. Keeping an eye on future long term aims puts things in perspective, aids good judgement and builds motivation to succeed. A vision may not necessarily be a specific role, but understanding your skills and ambitions is critical. However, a vision when kept to yourself is far harder to realise. Throughout my career I have shared my aspirations with managers and mentors, and this has meant they have been able to provide opportunities for exposure/challenges. Therefore it is crucially important to get an employer that acknowledges your ambitions and an unbiased mentor, out of your management line can aid this.
The Importance of transferable skills
My own career has transitioned a number of different sectors, from energy with BP, Pharmaceutical at IMS, and Property/FM at Cushman & Wakefield and Morphose. I have also managed to broaden my experience to a range of disciplines within these sectors, ranging from Procurement & Commercial, to Operations and Mergers & Aquisitions. Whilst it can be difficult to change industry, you soon come to realise that what sets you apart and facilitates diversity are the transferable skills and knowledge you accrue. Industry knowledge is undoubtedly important, and is something which you must have, or rapidly acquire, in order to succeed in a new role. The ability to work with and understand people, to lead teams, use commercial acumen and think strategically, are far more difficult to develop and execute successfully. However, when honed they allow you to build credibility in a new role or sector – knowing how to act and optimise with the information to hand is really what gives you an edge.
What is critical in navigating career changes is the ability to develop and optimise a professional network. This takes time but has been invaluable to me in terms of advice and opportunity.
Different types of intelligence
We are often led to believe there is only one type of intelligence, but ‘Intelligence’ solely regarded as academic achievement is archaic and outdated. Furthermore, on its own it does not necessarily mean success in business. In a professional environment, it is often the ability to listen, to engage people, whilst understanding their emotions, motivations and background that counts for more than any traditional understanding of ‘intelligence’. Adapting your personal style according to others needs and emotions is essential.When moving up through an organisation your ability to understand your strengths and weaknesses and of those around you – and leveraging that – will help you to build credibility quickly. Those around you will not expect you to know everything from day one, so asking for help is not only essential but will build bridges with new teams.
Obstacles and expectations
Making any kind of career move is inherently unsettling and unfamiliarity can be difficult for you and your colleagues. After all, they will be attempting to understand you as a person, just as you are with them. Moving roles and sectors requires self belief, and at times a thick skin. Despite this, I have found it motivating to be in environments where people might not expect you to succeed. It makes you push yourself and challenge your abilities and when perceptions around you shift it can be very rewarding.
Strategy and intuition
Strategy is everything. Having a visionof where you want to be will give your plans structure and improve ability to cope with issues. Importantly, be conscious of your intuition, listen to your own voice and trust yourself. If a move feels right, then it likely is. Make enquiries with others about possibility for progression and think logically about the pros and cons of any transition. As mentioned, I always recommend seeking out a mentor, usually externally, with whom you can have an open and honest discussion. But while it is important to seek advice, you know better than anyone else if something is right or not. Create strategy, maintain vision, and believe in your abilities. Operate with these three things in mind and you will find success in any industry.
About Claire Huffman
Claire joined Morphose as a Director in May 2016. Claire has over 10 years of experience within Real Estate, Property and Facilities Management and Professional Services Facilities. She has worked for both service delivery, client and managing agent business with UK, European and Global responsibility. Claire’s experience in the sector includes Commercial, Procurement and Operational Management. During this time she has been involved in significant M&A large scale integration activities particularly at Cushman & Wakefield as well as deep exposure to IPO processes and private equity ownership.
Claire has a passion and unique skill for building successful and sustainable relationships with clients and will be utilising these skills and her previous experience to help grow the M&A division at Morphose.