3 leadership learnings from my move to an SME

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To answer the first question: when the time was right for me to leave EY after 15 great years, I spent some time thinking about what I wanted from my next role.  There were two key pieces I wanted to bring together – my expertise as a senior manager in the professional services sector, and my desire to broaden out my areas of responsibility to become a General Manager.

When the role at Chan & Naylor came along, it seemed like a great fit.  In addition, when I met the directors I would be working with, I had a good feeling about the organisation – its values, its sense of mission and purpose – and I felt confident I could bring my skills to bear and make a difference here, which is something that really matters to me.

So – to the second question.  What have I learned?  I’ve got three tips to share from the world of SME leadership so far:

  • Be ready to have every working day different: This role really lives up to its name, and I find myself dealing every day with marketing and sales, IT, finance, risk management, operations, internal comms – you name it, I do it!  To succeed in a role like this, you need to be not just ready for variety, you need to welcome it.
  • Be ready to do things yourself: I’m sure it’s no surprise that one big difference between EY and Chan & Naylor is the lack of support teams to help with things like IT, HR and so on.  I’ve had a steep learning curve getting up to speed with how to get things done in my new organisation, which occasionally involves rolling up my sleeves and doing them myself.
  • Be ready to deal with uncertainty: One of the key challenges I’ve faced is coming to grips with some situations within the organisation which are moving and changing beneath me.  I’ve had to push myself to be more comfortable making the best decisions I can, based on imperfect information, and to accept I will make mistakes from time to time!

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take -Wayne Gretzky

I’ve been in this role for about six months so far, and I am really glad I made the move.  Here’s to my future in the SME sector – I’m looking forward to it.

Sarah Magarey - Chan & Naylor


Disclaimer: This article contains general information; before you make any financial or investment decision you should seek professional advice to take into account your individual objectives, financial situation and individual needs. Click for more detail regarding this disclaimer.

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