The best way to shine within an organization is to share knowledge with others and become a go-to person.
As Director of Product and Data, Chloe Grutchfield is responsible for the launch and management of the UK and international product at Verve, including partner relationships, roadmap management and internal and external training. This Q&A originally appeared on WeAreTheCity.com.
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
I have never sat down to plan my career. I enjoy seeing where things take me. The only plan really is to continue learning and enjoying what I do. That has always driven my career decisions – I will move very fast if I feel I’m not in love with what I do anymore.
Have you faced any challenges along the way and if so, how did you deal with them?
My biggest challenge was juggling work and a very young baby. I used to work long hours and put work before everything else. When I came back to work after a quick maternity leave, my priorities shifted. I had to learn how to condense work into fewer hours and aim for a better work/life balance. Fast forward two years: I’m a lot more productive and happier than I used to be.
What advice would you give someone who wishes to move into a leadership position for the first time?
Leadership can be tough. It’s best to start a leadership role with confidence and know what your strengths and weaknesses are. Ask your boss for training or mentoring.
When faced with two equally-qualified candidates, how would you decide who should have the role?
I think it’s so much easier to work with people you get on with. So if I had two equally-qualified candidates, I would select whoever gets on with the wider team.
How do you manage your own boss?
I’ve had bosses with different styles and I try to adapt to their styles as much as I can. Some will need detailed updates while others will only want have a high level view on what’s going on. In general though, I never go to my boss with a problem, I go to them with my recommended solution and seek their approval.
On a typical workday, how do you start your day and how does it end?
I wake up early every morning. I like having time to get ready before my little monster wakes up. When I arrive in the office, I need half an hour to plan my day, have a coffee and read industry news. I’ll end almost every day with a one hour work-out. Most of the time it’ll be a run home. It clears my head after a busy day. And actually I find that the harder I work, the more work-out I feel I need. Before a big presentation, I always go for a run and actually practice what I’m going to say while I’m running.
What advice can you give to our members about raising their profiles within their own organizations?
Share what you know. I think the best way to shine within an organization is to share knowledge with others. If you are known in the organization as a person that shares rather than protects knowledge, you will become a go-to person and get involved in interesting conversations and projects. That has helped me so much in every single role I’ve had.
How have you benefited from coaching or mentoring?
Coaching has helped me understand how to manage and make the most of different personalities and work styles. I like to make decisions fast and have worked with a lot of data analysts and developers who need time and a lot of facts before making a decision.
Do you think networking is important and if so, what three tips would you give to a newbie networker?
Networking is so important. The best opportunities (job, partnerships etc.) I’ve had were all thanks to my network! It starts with networking inside the company – get to know your colleagues in different departments. Use LinkedIn to connect with people you meet, whether clients, partners or colleagues. And try to meet people face to face as much as possible – it’s so much better to build a tight network.
What does the future hold for you?
No idea – I have no set plan. I hope I’ll have several lives and reinvent myself.
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