Now admittedly Stuart Baggs “the brand” (from The Apprentice) was a bit of a wally, and that is putting it mildly, but he was right about one thing. He is a brand. As we all are.
This was one of the talking points brought up during my mentoring session with Andy Routley (Managing Director of Church & Dwight) yesterday. In a shortened hour-long session we managed to cover a lot, but these are the points that really stuck with me:
Aim for the perfect balance
At the Academy we’ve been extremely fortunate to meet and hear from a number of great leaders. All have displayed an unflinching honesty, and Andy was no different. He was extremely open in discussing his career to date and the steps he’d taken to get to where he is now – Managing Director of a £90m (& growing) business.
During the conversation he mentioned that we should all strive for a balance in any professional role. It’s something we discussed in our first bootcamp but I really like the simplicity of the concentric circles. From meeting him & discussing his role he has obviously managed to hit that sweet spot and the benefits for him & the business are abundantly clear.
Refine your own elevator pitch
In business you get great at selling a brand, product or service because you have to do it all of the time. Whether it is during an internal meeting, a pitch or talking directly to a customer you constantly refine it and it gets slicker and slicker.
But when someone asks you about your own elevator pitch what do you say? Does it come as naturally? I put Andy on the spot, after all he brought it up, and he very easily rolled off what he is all about. Without buzz words or business speak it was concise, memorable and clear.
Fortunately for me he didn’t ask me to do the same but he did stress the importance of being able to convey to others what it is I bring to the table. A useful exercise that I will giving some thought to.
Be able to switch it on
During an initial chat I found out that Andy had a full day & evening ahead of him with colleagues from the US over for the day to discuss big plans for Church & Dwight. Then a complete stranger rocks up for a mentoring session.
Despite the time constraints & the pressures ahead Andy showed no signs of rushing. He was calm, easy to talk to and made me feel like I had all the time I needed. That ability to make people feel important, and block out the other things going on around you, is an amazing skill & a mark of being a great leader. Apparently it was one of Bill Clinton’s trademark skills.
In short. Mentoring sessions rock. Bring on the next one.